I was born ‘the good girl’.
I got really good grades. Some may have even called me ‘teacher’s pet’. I was terribly shy and never got in trouble. I blushed frequently.
I had promising talent as a ballerina- the ultimate good girl activity…I asked to dance to hip hop, and the teachers laughed and told me that I was born with a ballerina’s body and that I should stick to that.
When I tried to play basketball in middle school, my mother laughed because whenever I’d go for a layup it looked more like a dance move than anything sporty.
I was born graceful…and graceful means innocent…and innocent means good girl.
I’d always been infatuated with the idea of the bad girl. When I was 13, I moved from the city to a small town, and this was the prime time to change my image. It’s not as easy as it sounds, to break the curse of the good girl.
I was Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks personified; I started hanging out with the bad kids while still sneaking in the honors classes. They were so much more interesting! I dressed a little differently…I became bad by association.
But I was still just the good girl hanging with the wrong crowd.
I’ve always had a lot of guy friends, who treat me like one of the guys…and I learned at a very early age ‘what boys want’. I became fascinated with the concept of the Madonna/Whore Complex; how every guy wants both…but not from the same girl. Being the overthinker that I am, I figured that there has to be a way to be both.
So I started dating the ultimate bad boy of small town Texas to try to learn about this. Seven years later, and I was done with that. I didn’t want to be the bad girl anymore.
I embraced the good girl again. I was getting my Master’s degree, I owned a home, my hair was blond. I started dating Mr. Nice Guy: the software engineer Ivy Leaguer that you’re supposed to marry.
Five years later, I ran away from that.
Somewhere during that five years, when I started writing, that bad girl started leaking out again. The tantalizing dark side of the music I loved, fostered by the fact that San Francisco celebrates everyone’s inner freak…and out she came again. I’d be at a metal show, and people would come up to me and say, “what are you doing here?”, “you look so out of place!”, “are you one of the musician’s wives?”. No…I’m just here for the music.
Once I was single for the first time in my life, I really tried to figure out who I was. Am I the good girl? The bad girl? Is it possible to be both? I just fell into this grind of working my corporate entertainment job and going to shows every night, hoping the music would help me figure out who I am.
And then my mom died.
My mom, like every mom, wanted me to be the good girl, who married a cowboy, took over the family business, popped out some babies, and lived happily ever after. And me, being the daughter who’s innately the good girl, wanted to do that for her. So perhaps when she passed away, the notion that I had to be the good girl evaporated.
So I got a facial piercing- a giant sign to everyone that looks at my face that I am not a good girl. Then I got a tattoo, not as taboo as it used to be, but on someone who looks like me, it seems bad.
And I guess that’s when I really became the bad girl.
People look at me differently now. They don’t get it. It doesn’t add up. “I can’t figure you out” is a remark I often receive. Perhaps I have a bad girl exterior, and my music taste’s a bit extreme…but on the inside I’m still the girl who can’t stand to get in trouble and wants everyone to be happy.
All of this came to me when I was sitting at Cheetah’s on a Sunday night watching strippers dance to a couple of metal bands.
Bad girl confession: I am no stranger to strip clubs. I’ve been to quite a few, mostly with friends, mostly to pick girls out for my guy friends. I find it fascinating; my psychology degree goes into overdrive as I study this example of male and female sexuality.
Cheetah’s is actually ‘just’ a bikini bar; it’s garrishly decorated and feels like the antithesis of the Hollywood that outsiders imagine. I don’t think I saw a set of silicone in there.
I was there because once a month metal bands grace the stage while strippers dance. I had heard about this, and wanted to make this part of my Hollywood experience before I left town. This month featured Intronaut’s Sacha Dunable on bass in GIMME UM, and Holy Grail’s James Luna as DJ/Emcee.
It took a while for the place to fill up; but when it did, it became like a twisted, porno version of a high school dance. You had the girls on stage, several women at the tables around the stage, and then all the metal guys dressed in black pressed up against the bar unsure of where to look. Cheetah’s has an odd mix of dancers; only one tattooed, mohawked one looked like she could handle the music.
GIMME UM has a party rock vibe, and it seemed to provide a challenge for the dancers on stage. Most of them seemed to be listening to a song in their head as the band played on. However, I found the novelty of this situation hysterical. The two events taking place on stage remained very separate, however…it was just a band that happened to be playing a stage where down the catwalk a stripper was gyrating on a pole.
Between sets, there was a headbanging contest (why not?). Right before this contest, a miraculous small world moment that had my girlfriends and I in stitches occurred. We frequent The Rainbow, and have nicknames for some of the regulars we always see there. Well, one of our favorite regulars, who we call ET, sauntered into Cheetah’s after the first set. To top that, he was dragged on stage for the headbanging contest, along with Holy Grail bassist Blake. I’m proud to report that- ET love aside- Blake took home the prize.
The second band, who I now know is called Rapewhistle, ended up giving me a live music moment that I will never forget. This grindcore three-piece erupted on stage; and I studied the dancers’ reactions to see how they were going to handle this. One walked up there and started doing her thing….and towards the end of the first song the band’s screamer runs down the catwalk and starts growling at her back. Part of me who’s intervened when guy friends have tried to touch the girls before went “NOOOoooo…”, but she handled it well. Mohawk girl ate it up, even joining the band at one point. But the best moment came towards the end of the set, when the vocalist ran down the catwalk, again, and started screaming close to a girl’s ass, again. She promptly turned around, got on her knees, and started tugging his pants down and lifting his shirt up. I think he may have lost track of what he was doing, just for a second.
I’ve written over 450 live show reviews for this site, and it takes a lot to say that something is memorable anymore. Amidst the quintessential bad girls (strippers), and the quintessential bad boys (metalheads), this night was.
Bad girl or good girl, one thing has remained the same with me. I still blush frequently.