Friday, September 28, 2012

love and kisses and music

Do you ever get a mild crush on your boyfriend or husband's bestie? There's always that zone of common territory; there are always things all three people respond to in each other. And yet, there's that fascinating otherness. The bestie is somewhat like your partner but also exotically different. I wouldn't say it's something that always happens to me, but it has and does happen. In one case, I was dating a guy and he and his friend and I hung out a lot - these were AA days in the late 80s, when you often hung out with a friend or a few after a meeting. Anyway, the guy I was dating turned out to be a shithead as far as his relations with women, and kind of unceremoniously dumped me (he later claimed that we hadn't actually had a relationship). Meanwhile, I was still talking to his friend, and realized that I had totally picked the wrong guy.

And it actually had been a binary choice: I met both of them one night at the same meeting, both offered me a ride home, and I accepted the ride from the younger, more handsome guy. Actually, when I think about it, I didn't find myself attracted to Joe (older guy) because of some ways that he was like Larry; in this case, it was pretty much only the differences.

But that guy who's sorta like the guy you I said, it's happened, and still does. It's just that little what-if head-scratch, and fortunately, very out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I actually chat with him quite often when he phones here, but when we see each other, there's a little click.

As I may have mentioned, I'm from a generation that hugs and kisses a lot. We're just like that. And like my earlier musings on changing from signing a letter (well, an email) "best regards" to signing "love," there is that certain point with an opposite-sex friend where you move from kissing on the cheek to kissing on the lips. I'm not talking about making out, here, just about kissing hello and goodbye. It's small but also significant. (I actually tried to go the opposite way, at one point, with V., trying to move from kissing on the lips to kissing on the cheek. He would have none of it. It was all non-verbal, but he still made it pretty clear.)

So the last time I saw Bestie, a couple of months back, I decided it was high time to kiss him on the lips. At "hello," he seemed a little surprised, but by "goodbye," he was there. In between, we had a very interesting conversation where it came out that we had both read the Richard Rhodes book on the development of the atomic bomb. Since we rarely talk anything but music, it was a nice surprise for the both of us. (Barry is not at all a reader, so it was kind of extra-nice.)

All of this, of course, happens in plain sight, except what happens in my head and maybe his. And it's coming up now because I saw him tonight. He and Barry had met up to hang out for a bit, and Barry called me just before five to ask if I wanted to meet up with them. I really hadn't thought about the whole thing much, but Bestie planted a good one on me, and a better one when we said goodbye. It's just a little, warm thing.

I haven't really hung out with men friends too much since I stopped hanging out with V. Don't get kissed much outside of the home...which is not to say that I haven't encountered some men a little too willing to kiss me. (One of the perils of reconnecting with old bfs on Facebook is that sometimes they get a little too wishful. It hasn't yet proven tempting.)

Although...there is Chuck. It's really hard to describe Chuck; he's very nutty and silly and hyper, and also incredibly sweet and thoughtful. When he stops mugging, he's quite handsome. He also has some emotional issues and some bad chemicals - he's way too much of a handful to get involved with, though I gave it a try in the early 80s. But we've always retained a lot of affection for each other, and he's a really affectionate guy.

When Barry started going to some blues jams, about a year and a half ago, he started to meet a lot of my friends from the old days (my blues-bar days in the early-mid 80s and then again in the mid-90s), including Chuckie. He found Chuck wacky but lovable, which is how most people see him, except when they all too often start to find him wacky and annoying. Chuck took to Barry, as did my other old friends; Barry is immensely likeable, but I think got some extra points for being married to me.

This is what I figured out about Chuck some years ago: if you're with him one-on-one, he can be quiet, deep, intense, someone you can talk to for hours. But bringing one other person on the scene turns it into Chuck and an audience, and he automatically gets goofy.

So after Chuckie and a couple of other friends asked Barry numerous times to have me come to the jam, I did. It was really nice to see everyone but especially Chuck. I have such a warm spot for him, and he's so open and sweet with me. Now, he behaves very affectionately toward everyone - I mean he hugs and kisses and holds hands with pretty much everyone, including Barry. But with me...we kinda mean it. And in plain sight.

I found a video of him...but it barely relates to any of this. For one thing, he dresses in a lot of black leather and studs, which bears just about zero relationship to his personality. Also, on stage, he projects a lot of sex appeal. He usually acts so wacky that it's hard to notice just how handsome and sexy he is, but in recent years he's less wacky and more sexy on stage.

I also hesitate to post this clip because he's mainly a sax player, but he's singing here. He has a lot of charisma, but not much of a voice.

Having said that...

I don't know who the guitarists or drummer are, but the bass player is Margey Peters and the keyboard player is the extremely talented David Bennett Cohen.

What always kills me about David Bennett Cohen is that he quit Country Joe & the Fish before Woodstock.

For all of you younger and non-American folk...Woodstock was a hugely famous rock festival in 1969, one of the first enormous outdoor rock shows. (No, I wasn't old enough to be there, but I knew about it. And the movie and album, both called Woodstock, are a mainstay of serious rock fans.) Woodstock is a holy-grail sort of thing, and there is something very godly about having played there. (Which David Bennett Cohen didn't.) Country Joe became famous for an anti-Vietnam-War song he performed there. Which is this:

I may have mentioned recently that I ran into Richie Havens near my office. I interviewed Richie in the 90s and he remembered me. Richie not only played Woodstock, he opened the festival. He was the first performer at Woodstock. That's triple godly.Here's what that looked like:

Richie is an amazingly sweet human being.

I had other stuff on my mind, but music stuff leads to other music stuff. (Bestie is a music guy, too, so the ramble really does sort of connect.)

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