By Rita Ballou
(LSM Sept/Oct 2011/vol. 4 – Issue 5)
If there’s one subject subject that has gotten me into more trouble than anything else since I started my blog at rawhideandvelvet.com, it has to be my running commentary about groupies. Of course, groupies are certainly nothing new and they are in no way exclusive to just our “scene.” They’ve been around since the dawn of celebrity culture, and there are not only music groupies, but athlete groupies, Hollywood groupies and even politician groupies. But it’s the music groupies who are by far the most plentiful. Hell, everyone knows that the invention of the guitar was really just God’s secret gift to all those guys that were gawky band nerds in junior high school: Give him a six-string, and the geek shall inherit the skanks of the earth. So it is written — if not in the Bible, at lease on Wikipedia, more or less: A groupie is a person that seeks emotional and sexual intimacy with a musician or other celebrity.
Yup, I think that definition pretty much sums it up. These chicks aren’t there to listen to the music, they aren’t there to support the band, and they aren’t there to have a good time out with their friends. They are there to try to screw someone in the band. Or at the very least, someone that’s part of the band’s crew. Or maybe the drummer.
“Groupie” is the common term for these broads, but personally, I prefer to call them “Diesel Sniffers,” because at the end of the show, instead of getting their picture made with the band at the merchandise table, buying a T-shirt to have autographed and getting into their car to go the hell home, they can always be found out by the band’s bus “sniffing” around like a poodle in heat. On our scene, sometimes that bus is actually just a 16-passenger Econoline van, but most Diesel Sniffers take unleaded, too.
The majority of the time the hate email I receive comes from angry readers that call me a bitter old jealous hag. Well, duh. But sometimes I think I am just misunderstood. I do realize that my blogs can come across a bit bitchy, but that really isn’t the intent. In the words of my homegirl Miranda Lambert, “I don’t have to be hateful, I can just say ‘bless your heart.’” Anyway, I am a firm believer in the theory that if you are going to do something, do it right! Rita is here to help! And so, whereas in my last column I outlined the finer points of proper gherm etiquette for super fans, this one’s for those very special ladies on “Panty Row” who might not even know one band from the other or even the difference between a guitar and a bass, but they do know damn well what they want: A golden ticket to the back of the bus.
RITA BALLOU’S DIESEL SNIFFING 101
1) Dress the part
If you are expecting to get some action you are going to have to look your best. It is very important to dress to impress. You don’t want to just look cute, you want stand out in a crowd of other would-be Diesel Sniffers all after the same thing you are. To that end, nothing works better than showing some skin — lots and lots of skin. Oh, and don’t worry about it if someone could play Chinese Checkers on the hail damage on the back of your thighs — that doesn’t really matter to the guys anyway. Just squeeze your ass into your shortest, tightest denim skirt or your favorite see-through Forever 21 sundress and work it. Wearing the least amount of clothing as possible is key and it really doesn’t matter if it is 37 degrees in January, I promise.
Now, you not only have to strap on your sluttiest, most revealing outfit and let all your tattoos and pierced body parts show, but you MUST have your boobs hanging out. Get a Wonderbra, push them up, squish them together with duct tape and maybe even coat ’em with enough sparkly glitter to bread a chicken-fried steak — whatever it takes. Consider those girls your very own laminated backstage pass, so keep ’em on display and flaunt ’em with confidence. If you don’t, you’re likely to end up being “that girl,” trolling the dance floor at 1:45 a.m. looking for the drunkest Man Fan left at the bar to take you to Whataburger and buy you a Taquito. And who wants to be in line at Whataburger with a Man Fan when you totally deserve to be smoking out in the back of the bus with the band?
2) Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize
Think bling, lots and lots of bling! This is a surefire way to get the band’s attention because the reflection off of a fake B.B. Simon belt has been known to suddenly cause blindness when the light hits it, and that can cause the guitar player to suddenly look down straight at you. Once you have eye contact, everything is pretty much downhill from there — you are in. And don’t forget your bracelets — no less than six on each arm, and the bigger the better. Also, you can’t go wrong with a gigantic cross necklaces full of plastic rhinestones. Haven’t you heard the Wade Bowen song “Trouble?” He wrote that about you, so you have to have a cross on a chain swinging above your heart, and it should be as big the one on the Vatican wall. Only cuter and shinier. When in doubt, remember that there is no such thing as too much bling — except for engagement or wedding rings. Leave that shit at home!
3) Bump. It. Up.
Big hair is a must! If you don’t know how to backcomb, spray and pin your hair up with 17 bobby pins, then you simply have to invest in one of the greatest inventions in the 21st century — a Bump It. A ridiculous looking, ginormous hair poof is important because it’ll keep the band onstage from seeing any other attractive girls behind you — while also blocking the view of those girls and keeping them from making their own goo-goo eyes at the musicians. Oh, and if you have the funds and really want to bring your A-game, skeedaddle on down to the Sally’s Hair Supply and invest in some hair extensions. And don’t you worry if you think they look unbelievably fake at home — ain’t nobody gonna be able to tell in the bar. Would Rita lie to you?
4) Arriving at the venue
Once you are all decked out in your hoochie-wear, head to the bar. It’s best to arrive fashionably late, and as soon as you get there, proceed immediately to the bathroom. I know you don’t actually need to potty, but you do have to check yourself out in the mirror again to make sure you look hot. It took you three hours to get ready and you just reapplied your lip gloss in the car 48 seconds earlier, but things could have changed in the time you walked from the car to the door. While you’re inspecting yourself, take casual but careful stock of all the other ladies doing the same. Memorize the faces of the most dangerous (hot) looking ones and analyze their weaknesses. But don’t let them see you sweat.
5) Making your move
Whatever you do, do not head to the front until the band takes the stage. Take stock of the crowd from the back of the bar, wait until the band is about halfway through their second song, and then push, fight, and claw your way all the way to the front of the stage, because you know damn well that spot is reserved for you. Forget about all those people that have been standing there for hours, because who are they anyway? Nobodies, that’s who! Just shove ’em all out of the way, even the ones in wheelchairs and especially all the obnoxious Man Fans, because Panty Row is all about YOU.
Now, just because it’s your right to claim your spot, don’t expect it to always be easy. Sometimes, you might run into a mean bitch like Rita that pushes back. That’s when you have to use the Man Fans to your advantage. As a means to an end, flirt shamelessly and relentlessly: Make those guys think they stand a chance with you, even they know as well as you do that the mere idea of you going home with one if them is just preposterous, because anything less than a rock-star simply won’t do. Nevertheless, these hopeless mortals will inevitably let you stand in front of them. Keep up the act and they’ll keep you from ever having to go to the bar to buy your own drinks, and they’ll even hold your spot safe in the event you need to run to the ladies room mid-set, but remember this: At no point can you make it look to the band that you are on a date or with your husband.
6) Remember: There are no friends on Panty Row
Now that you’ve made it up front, don’t worry your pretty, bump-it’ed head about being friendly and polite to the other gals around you, because every real Diesel Sniffer knows that are no friends on Panty Row, only competition! You are clearly more attractive than any other girl in the bar, and if they try to make chit-chat with you, It’s because they are just trying to ride your coat tails and use you to get backstage too. Spray your area down like a horny Tom cat. Back those bitches up off your prey and stay focused. At this point, you have to make direct eye contact with a band member because once that happens, you are golden. That singer/guitarist/bassist/fiddle player will be hopelessly mesmerized by your beauty and totally willing to leave his wife and children for you. I know this might be hard to believe, given that it hasn’t happened yet the last 42 times you saw the band, but never give up hope. Tonight will be the night!
7) Steal that spotlight
Once you are front and center it’s time to put on your own show. Don’t worry about the fact that you don’t know the music; this is really all about making goo-goo eyes with the musicians and drawing as much attention to yourself as possible. Besides, you can always pretend to sing along. You only really need to know the words to “Kiss Me in the Dark,” “Everclear” or “Resurrection,” and they don’t usually play those until the end of the set so you have plenty of time. What is really important is your dancing. Yes, it is time to embrace your inner (or outer) stripper and do the faux lesbian hump dance with your friends. This works every time.
Now here’s the tricky part: At the same time that you’re doing your best/worst to get the band’s attention, you also have to play hard-to-get and not look too interested. So while you’re up there bumping and grinding in the front of hundreds of people that actually came to hear the music, feel free to talk on your cell phone, re-adjust your Bump It, fix your makeup, text, Twitter, play Words with Friends or update your Facebook status.
Lastly, remember that there must be photo evidence of you in the front row, because you have to post the picture for the world to see that you are indeed “friends with the band.” What good is being in panty row if everyone you know isn’t jealous of you? Have one of the Man Fans take your picture, look at it, delete it, and pose again. Repeat this processes no less than six times in a row just to make sure you get it right. Don’t worry, Aaron Watson will stop playing guitar and stick his head in the photo at least 14 times, too. You might think this appears to be annoying to people but don’t worry. Randy Rogers actually loves it when you do this right in front of him while he’s singing a song that he wrote, especially at an acoustic show. Can’t you just tell by the look on his face how much he really enjoys it?
8) Closing the deal
Come on ladies, you didn’t think I would actually go there did you? There are just some things a girl has to discover on her own! I’ve tried my best to get you this far, but the rest is all up to you.