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The Groupie Bandwagon

Here’s a question to consider: Sleeping with a bartender doesn’t make you an alcoholic, so why does sleeping with a musician make you a groupie? 

I shudder to use the title rock star, but I will to prove a point… which is that musicians, rock stars, whatever they are, these people hold power. Political power, no. Superhuman strength, hardly. But they are magnetic, drawing our admiration and intrigue. They hold some type of power over us. They seem more beautiful than the average Joe, more talented, more important.  

God knows why exactly we do it, but we revere those involved in music’s creation. I’ve seen and been a part of this firsthand, both in my involvement in rock journalism and my past stints in two bands. It is our instinct. So maybe it is out of jealousy that we throw out the groupie nametag so carelessly. We want to be near these esteemed and gifted beings. So when we hear of those who have attained the highest possible level of intimacy with them, we must have something to bring them down to our level again. A name. A pigeonhole. No excuses, explanations, or exceptions. You’re a groupie. 

Speaking from more personal experience, this is not so. Without naming the bands or the men (what a groupie-esque thing to do!), I’d like to show you another side of the situation at hand: 

In late 2004, I was approached by a guitarist from a well known post-punk band at a large tour. This man, in his young twenties, absolutely gorgeous, undeniably talented and charming to boot, asked if I would like to hang out with him, go back to his tour bus, and…

…and flattered, I politely declined. 

The few people who I disclosed this happening to, long before writing this column, all expressed one collective thought (especially once I revealed who it was): “Why didn’t you do it?!” 

Why? Because I was not attracted to this man in the way that is required for me. Meeting new people on a regular basis, I have become rather familiar with “the click,” the immediate connection between two people, even from a first meeting. I didn’t have that with this man, and plainly enough, I didn’t want to have sex with him. His status didn’t matter to me. 

On the flip side, I recently went to a concert where I had the pleasure of meeting the opening band’s friendly lead singer after the show. After some good conversation, a drink or two on my part, and some flirting, we ended up having sex backstage. 

I’m well aware that I don’t need to justify my actions or myself, but I will because it makes a point. We ended up together that night because we took an immediate liking to each other, as two strangers with a connection. And although it is impossible to pretend as though I ignored the special treatment- the ability to be publicly physical without any authority’s clampdown, not being questioned as an underage girl with beer, going backstage and into a VIP area, getting to stay in the club long after everyone else was kicked out- it didn’t mean anything compared to the only thing I wanted at the time; to be intimate and have a good time with this extremely attractive, intelligent, engaging man who I shared a “click” moment with. Again, status didn’t matter. I stand by the fact that the same situation would have ensued if he was just a man I met at the bar. 

Now, the inspiration for writing this column spawned from the second situation, where I heard from the people that knew what happened that I was, in fact, a “groupie.” Some of these people are the same ones who chastised me for not jumping on the 2004 Groupie Bandwagon, ironically enough.

Whether you believe it or not, my actions that night mirrored the actions of many others- people who, for one night, end up sexually connected to a well-known musician, and as a result, are automatically pegged as groupies. 

So here it is for you, as simple as it truly is. We are not the mindless sex kittens who parade around after concerts in push-up bras, praying to get picked up in time for the after party. We are not groupies. We are ordinary people who have had a one-night-stand with other ordinary people we were drawn to, who just happen to have extraordinary musical talent. 

So now that you’ve read this, the real question would be not a question at all, but rather a statement. Action is nothing. Intent is everything. Sleeping with a bartender to get free drinks may actually mean you’re an alcoholic, and sleeping with a musician because of their status may mean you are a groupie. 

But leave those of us who are content buying our own drinks alone. Chances are, you’re just envious because we were offered a free one from a stranger you had been eyeing all night.

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