The Standard, Darlinghurst, Sydney
January 17, 2013
I consider myself to be totally, one hundred per cent heterosexual.
In January 2013 I had a one night stand with another man.
It happened because I went to a gig – JEFF The Brotherhood – alone, something I had not done before. This experience taught me that when you attend a social event alone, there is a part of your brain that thinks “This is awesome. Being independent is badass.” Those thoughts are inspiring and wonderful but are quickly drowned out by a much larger part of your brain that thinks “Why don’t my friends like me?”
Being alone was never a concern. As a proud and perpetual latecomer, I was counting on a classic less-than-punctual arrival to mask being on my lonesome. As the audience swelled I would lose myself in the music and lose myself in the crowd. Easy, I thought. I had done it before.
But for some reason, at this gig I arrived early. Not just early though. I arrived first. First and alone.
I walked into the bar to find I was the only person not being paid to be at the bar. The support band were unpacking gear, bartenders were still counting their tills and there I was. Pretending to text. For forty minutes.
Others eventually arrived and soon after The Gooch Palms, a punk duo from Newcastle, opened the show. Like many punk bands The Gooch Palms have built a reputation for their unique image. The Ramones had black leather jackets and skinny jeans and The Gooch Palms, well… they don’t really wear clothes.
I get it. That’s punk. You’re in a packed room with loud music, full of adrenaline. You want to do something rebellious so you rip your clothes off. I get it. But this wasn’t a packed room. It was a dozen punters mingling at eight o’clock on a Thursday night, and one was brown-eyeing the rest.
The silver lining of seeing a stranger’s genitals is that it makes a great ice breaker. Everyone in attendance had just been gifted a very special conversation starter. As I stood by the bar and let the naked abandon wash over me, the guy who was second to arrive – also alone – approached. We chatted, realised that we had similar tastes in music and spent the rest of the show recommending each other bands. Bleeding Knees Club, Dune Rats, Fidlar, Bass Drum of Death…
At this point I should clarify that this was an entirely platonic one night stand. Sometimes we need these. We find ourselves in certain social situations and just need to cling to another person to survive. Save the sexy parts, all the markings of a casual fling were there though. It ended the way all one night stands do. I just went to the bathroom and hoped he would leave.
In the days following I was overcome with an unusual sense of guilt. How could I end such a great night so awkwardly? I dismissed the whole thing as if it meant nothing. I mean come on… I didn’t even know his name.
To clear my conscience I needed to make amends and I had to do it the only way a 19-year-old searching for an anonymous stranger knows how. On Facebook.
I searched JEFF The Brotherhood – Sydney, NSW @ The Standard and began to scroll, looking for a profile picture I recognised. This is a very sad thing to do and I do not recommend it. Having said that, it does work. Sad, but effective.
There he was.
William J Song.
Hey man. First of all I promise you I’m not a stalker. We met at JEFF The Brotherhood, and I really should’ve grabbed your name or number off you then because we had such similar tastes in music. Anyways, I recognised your display picture in the Facebook event for The Standard (still not a stalker, I swear dude!). I wanted to track you down though because when we were talking about bands, you mentioned Fidlar and Bass Drum of Death, and I’ve just started giving them a listen. They are so goddamn sick! I’ve gotta go out and grab their albums.
I’m Ethan too, by the way man. I don’t know why I didn’t tell you that at the gig.
After my opening it’s the case of a textbook random add; a little back and forth, sustaining a flicker of friendship, before an inevitable death.