This never happens. So I’m going to explain it. I was standing by the merch table after the show. And this guy I went with (new friend…that’s all) was checking out the T-shirts. So I stood maybe two feet from the singer of the band as he met his fans.
His fans were a cadre of escapees from the island of misfit toys. Boys who had poured over his albums on nights and weekends when everyone else was out partying. Male Janis Ian’s. Incels.
One after one, these kids told Patrick how much he meant to them. They tried to play cool while also fanning out. It was very earnest. I ease-dropped for what have must been maybe five minutes.
Patrick, for his part, was genuine and sweet. He would suggest other bands for these boys (it was exclusively younger men) to follow. He was completely generous with time. At ease but a little nerdy and awkward himself. On stage he was almost…suave.
I just stood there watching. I never knew who he was until last night. I only went to the show because I knew one song. And I only knew that because the 22-year old math grad (who is now 25) told me about it in the first place. It is now in the hallowed company of songs that make up my most loved playlist. The playlist I used to woo The Israeli.
That’s how my purse got stolen. I ran from a booth at the back of the balcony when I heard him shred and I had to witness it, unsatisfied just to hear the magic. I left the purse unattended for 14 minutes while they played the epic “Battle of Hampton Road.”
But as I watched him after the show and drifted back between then and now, and earlier then and now, and all the time that had passed, and all the people I’ve been…I kept locking eyes with the singer. Not intentionally, my mind was elsewhere in time and space.
At first he looked a little unnerved when he saw me. I didn’t stare but I also didn’t flinch. I just kept watching him out of curiosity. And then he kept looking over at me. Over and over again. He never broke out of conversation or wavered. And then he was *just* looking at me. And I had to walk away. I knew that look. Let’s just say it was penetrative. Let’s just say it was hot.
The whole thing was, as New Yorkers say, intense. But after the way he sang and shredded, he earned some mild flirting. If my companion had been 40% my type…the night would have turned out completely different. All that crazy energy had to go somewhere. As it stood, I went home to Crown Heights, to Maddie and Erica. And talked through the night about all. the. boys. giving us troubles and how much we do love trouble.