Wednesday, August 11, 2004
The Bahamas, Part III: Love, Lust and Karaoke
[Note: I split what was supposed to be Part II into Parts II & III, because they got kinda long. You can find Part II below.]
I love karaoke. There's a lot to be said for getting wasted, standing in front of a bunch of people, and pretending your Madonna, Meatloaf, or Prince. And I don't care if you think this makes me gay - just because I like karaoke and once I accidentally downloaded a gay porn clip and accidentally masturbated to it three times doesn't mean I'm gay.
But, much like falling in love or beating off hungover, you can't force karaoke. Either you're feeling it, and can properly give forth to your feelings and give the performance of a lifetime, or you're not, and you're left standing up there, timidly holding the microphone, singing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" barely above a whisper, while your friends shake their heads in disapproval and shame.
Usually, "feeling it" is directly related to how many alcoholic drinks you've consumed or pills you took in the bathroom an hour before. The more drinks or pills, the more rousing your performance is going to be.
This past weekend in The Bahamas, I gave the greatest karaoke performance of my life, and possibly the greatest karaoke performance anyone has ever given. Since I had been drinking non-stop for, oh, three days, my performance ranks up there with the invention the 16 ounce can of Budweiser and the time I saw those two hot hippy chicks making out at that Phish concert on the list of Greatest Things To Have Ever Happened.
My plan was simple: I was going to sing Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful To Me." But I was going to change the words around and sing "I Am So Beautiful To You." I also wanted to dedicate this to a member of the wedding party, a guest without a date.
I quickly found the perfect girl to dedicate the song to: an adorable lil' butter pecan Puerto Rican named Gloria who worked with my cousin Lindsay. Dedicating the song to her was especially perfect, since I had only spoken to her once before, when I met her and my mom tried to set me up with her (I think):
Mom: "Jas, this is Gloria. She works with Lindsay."
Me: "Hi, how are you?"
Mom: [leaning in, as if to offer a hint, but still plainly speaking in front of Gloria] "Jas, Gloria speaks Spanish."
Me: [to Gloria]: "Really? How's that working out for you?"
Gloria: [slightly confused] "Good."
[5 seconds of silence]
Me: "Well, I'm going to go get a drink. Nice meeting you!"
At the time I decided to do this, the bar, which was situated in the hotel lobby area, was packed. Additionally, there were stairs going up to other bars and restaurants stemming from the lobby, and these areas were packed too. Some people had gone up and done karaoke already, but, to be honest, they sucked. I knew that this was my moment, and I was going to bring the house down.
So I built up my alcohol-fueled courage, and marched up to the DJ, and said, "My name is Charles, and I am going to light this place on fire with that microphone." A gentle Bahamian man, so thus presumably super high, he laughed and put my request down, and told me there were seven people in front of me.
Seven? This certainly was a wrinkle in my plans. I was ready to go now - seven people meant at least a half-hour to think about how the song would come off, if Gloria would even be around, if I would still be able to stand, etc.
I got over this pretty quickly, time passed, and before I knew it, they were asking for Charles to come to the dance floor. By the third calling of Charles, I'd realized that I had given a fake name, and that I was Charles, so I marched up to grab the mic. When I took the mic from the DJ, I whispered to him not to start the song, until I said so, and stepped into the middle of the dance floor and said, "I'd like to dedicate this song to a very special lady: Gloria."
At this point, all the girls in the wedding party started freaking out, and I continued: "Gloria has got to be one of the top 25 most beautiful women on the island, so I thought this song was appropriate."
I then signaled the DJ to start the song, and as the piano intro was going, I added: "Well, maybe not 25, but definitely top 50."
The whole joint was rolling, and it continued when I broke into singing "I am so beautiful...to you."
I've mentioned before that though god didn't bless me with athleticism, good-looks, pride, normal-sized genitalia, or solid bowel movements, he did give me the voice of an angel.
As I continued the song, people kept cracking up, and Gloria was pushed out to the dance floor so I could sing directly to her. I continued singing, and got really into it ("I'm everything you hoped for"), and closed it with the highest pitched "to you" I could muster up.
When it was over, Gloria gave me a hug, and I got a standing ovation from every person in the bar. I thought there were about 300 or so people there, but by the next day the number had swelled to 800. I came off the floor and for the rest of the night and weekend, people kept coming up to me, saying that it was incredible, that it was the smoothest thing they'd ever seen, that, hell, they'd sleep with me after the song (unfortunately, only guys said this).
What did Gloria think of this? Not sure, since she didn't talk to me again for the rest of the weekend. Actually, that's not true - on the shuttle back to the airport, we sat next to each other, and had this conversation:
Me: "Um, I don't know if Lindsay told you this, but I have this website and I'm kinda a big deal. So I'm going to write about this. Do you want me to use your real name or a fake name?"
Gloria: [smiling nervously] "I heard about your website. I don't mind what name you use. Just be nice."
Me: "Thank you."
I didn't mind that Gloria didn't speak to me for the rest of the weekend; I didn't think that after bringing the house down for her, she'd immediately fall madly in love and we'd have three children before we even left the island three days later. After all, she's a sexy lil' Latina that probably likes salsa and hip-hop, whereas I'm a doughy white guy who prefers classic rock and '80's Brit-Pop.
What did make me feel bad/weird/awkward is that everyone that we were on the trip with did think that she would fall madly in love with me after the performance, and when they saw us in the following days, standing near each other but not interacting, they must have thought, "Jesus - how much of a shit dude can this guy be? He sings to her in front of 500 people, gets them on their feet, and now he can't even talk to her?"
And they're right - what the hell is wrong with me? I can sing to a girl, dedicate a song to her about how beautiful I am, getting a standing ovation, but then not get any attention after that? Holy shit balls! What more do I have to do? Maybe the next time I sing, I'll give the girl a check for $1000 as soon as I'm done. Will that help? Anyone? Bueller?
I'm going to see if my e*Harmony profile has been approved, so I can start cyber-dating. If for some reason it gets rejected, I'm donating my genitals to science. Because really, I don't need them. At this point, they're like a figurehead monarch - there for show, and comforting at times, but when it comes down to it, completely and totally useless.