Tonight I am going to see the Protomen. Sure, I Fight Dragons and Br1ght Pr1mate are also playing, but let’s be honest, I’m going to see the Protomen. I once started writing a post about seeing them at PAX East 2011, but I could never bring myself to finish it. Mere words could not express how much I loved the show.
Mere words cannot express the unnatural, unfamiliar, bordering-on-mad lust I have for music of the Protomen. I don’t know why, but they make me shake and weak in the knees. They make me want to scream and shout and melt and grab the person nearest to me to hold me up. They make me feel like I did when I was in high school and wanted to be cool.
When I was younger, I tried to look cool. In fact, when I was younger I think I looked pretty cool. Sure, I spent part of my teenage years decked out in cutoffs and t-shirts. I also spent part of my teenage years like some cross-breed between a lazy person uncomfortable with their body, someone trying to look like a punk, and an unmitigated nerd.
I looked cool in my combat boots and fluffy skirts, my suit jackets and tight army-navy pants. My plaid shirts and clashing plaid skirts. I wore my dad’s leather police jacket. I had large, square black plastic glasses. I had great, uneven haircuts, brightly dyed, and often faded, hair, chipped nail polish, bracelets, rings, and necklaces. I had braces with the brightest pink bands the dentist could find.
Then I gained a lot of weight, stopped caring, and retreated into a sad little self-punishing world of wearing oversized t-shirts, size-twenty jeans, and unflattering short hair styles I didn’t need to comb.
Those were dark days. No one makes affordable, cool plus sized clothing. When you have no money, you can’t afford the nicer things, but even those weren’t my style. I looked awful in anything I tried on. I’d been chubby all my life, but at a size ten it was manageable. I could still be cool. After I got puffy, when nothing fit anymore, the mere mention of clothes shopping would send me to near tears. I refused to go with anyone else, for the most part, because I wanted to hide my shame.
I got older, and lost some of that weight. I’m still pretty puffy, but less puffy than I had been. I’ve reattempted “looking cool” at different times. At parties or, most notably, concerts I’d wear one of my three or four shirts that aren’t totally lame and try to convince myself that I was as stylish as I remember being. I know I’m not, or at least I think I’m not. I think I look awkward and funny. I think things don’t fit. I still get upset when I go clothes shopping, but it’s not as bad as it used to be.
The last time I saw the Protomen, I wore a purple sweater and purple leggings, a blue shirt with penguins on it, a short green skirt, and blue chucks. A little nerdy, a little cute. It wasn’t ideal, but it was enough to convince myself I was trying. I don’t know why I was trying, who I was trying to impress or show I was cool, but I was doing it anyway.
This morning, I thought about my day. Work, class, and then the show. Regardless of what I do, I will be sweaty and smell a little off by the time I get to the Middle East. I didn’t want to haul with me, on top of my gym clothes, another outfit. My bag is already not small and pretty full. I have no clue what I’ll do with it tonight. More things inside of it would be even worse.
Still half-asleep, I looked at my clean clothes, quickly assessed that it is still the case that none of my pants fit, that I still look funny in the shirts I have, and that none of the even remotely unlame ones are clean or appropriate for my somewhat respectable office job. I pulled on one pair of ill fitting jeans, a soft shirt, and my sweater. I looked at myself in the mirror and acknowledged that I wasn’t cool at all.
Then I realized that was okay.
Just like that I let go of wanting to look cool. At least for tonight, I am okay being the dork at the show. No one is going to care what I look like, and I’m going to be too tired (and too sore) to give a damn anyway. My hair will be a mess. I will step on the bottoms of my pants. I will have an obnoxiously bright yellow jacket tied around my waist. I won’t look cool and I won’t care.
(Although, I still hold out hope that Raul will meet me after the show, fall madly in love with me, and talk to me every night in his wonderful, wonderful voice.)