Mellowing effectThere's no crying in slam dancing
So I was bartending the upstairs bar at 4th and B for a Bad Religion show not too long ago. It wasn't very busy and I had ample opportunity to observe the mosh pit below, which, to my dismay, seemed quite tame.
Of course, a 21st-century Bad Religion mosh is not exactly comparable to, say, those oldies but goodies of the Germs or Black Flag-where every pit was the brutal jaw of a shark and every mosher in it a razor sharp incisor. Still, even for Bad Religion standards, this jaw was yawning. It was just a bunch of guys goose-stepping the perimeter with nobody knocking anybody on anybody's ass and giving the occasional polite elbow, making the whole thing seem no more unruly than a bunch of kids hopping around in one of those inflatable jumpy-bouncy thingies.
So I'm wondering just what the hell is the deal with the pit, and then I see what is the deal: There's a goddam female in there.
Now, I am no chauvinist. I'm all for letting women, you know, like, vote and all that. But there are some things a female should never be permitted to be anywhere near, such as a credit card, or the remote control, and especially no-god-damn-where near a fricking mosh pit. Not because it's too dangerous. Fact is, for women, it's not dangerous. No man in his right mind-I don't care how punk he is-is going to knock a woman on her ass. She's gonna get groped long before she gets slammed.
Think about it.
Moshers are usually these totally unattractive turds, like the pale-faced anarchist who is too jacked up to realize anarchy is just another regime; or that psycho, violent, Nazi, berserker scumbag who-for all his psychotic-violent-Nazi-berserker-scumbag-osity-is just another unremarkable dork seeking attention. Neither of these guys has been laid since Glen Danzig left the Misfits.
Of course, she's gonna get groped in there. Or worse, romanced. Put a woman in the mosh pit and no longer are they moshers marching for the Army of Anarchy (an oxymoron to be sure). Now they're just strutting peacocks fanning their colorless tails-and, oh man, is there anything more pitiable than a jackbooted Oi! boy with orange hair and a fishhook nose-piercing going all lovey-googey-gaga-eyed for some chick in the middle of a Pantera mosh?
As sure as she will do your friends and steal your Cure albums when you break up, a woman will suck the life right out of your mosh pit.
The first pit I ever joined was at a Stooges show at the old Iguanas down in Tijuana. It was a sweltering summer night and the crowd was surging in anticipation of the band. I was only three deep from the stage. The throng behind me was growing impatient, pushing and shoving, making it exceedingly difficult to breathe. But just as I was about to give up and evacuate to the back of the room, all balls broke out: The stage exploded with light, Dave Alexander kicked into a throbbing bass intro, Iggy began grunting, "Now I wanna be your dog," and the place went wild.
This was my first close-up view of punk tectonics: the earth opened before me, and a mosh crevasse formed instantly, in full upheaval, as if it had always been there. I was on the outskirts-the bumper position, where you're not technically in the pit, but you are more than just an observer. As a bumper, it is your job to shove errant thrashers back into the pit; they then shove someone else back out, and you shove them back in (the viscous cycle personified).
It was such a cruel punk paradox. There I was with this fabulous, unobstructed, super-close view of the stage and its legendary occupants, but totally unable to focus on it for fear of getting clobbered unawares. Every mosher who careened into me made me madder and madder, and I kept shoving them harder and harder, until my blood pressure got higher and higher, and at the height of my frustration, without even thinking, I leapt into the circle and commenced high-stepping, and elbowing, and knocking people on their asses, and getting myself knocked on my ass, and to my astonishment, I felt immediately better.
Marching around that circle, knocking people on their asses, getting myself knocked on my ass, perfectly and instantly cured my disease of rage. I understood then. Slam dancing peels away the layers of all the trivial bullshit we accumulate in our day-to-days, a sort of molting dance that sheds us down to our lowest common denominators: chillingly primordial, deeply euphoric and very most totally absolutely disgustingly male. It's a testosterone thing, in its crudest, basest form. That's what it is and that's how it should remain. Estrogen can only dilute it.
So if you ladies absolutely must slam, then please do it in a mosh pit of your own. A Sadie Hawkins slam dance, if you will, where you can drink Scooby Snacks, and hold hands, and skip around the ovum-shaped pit singing, "Tra-la-la." There can even be a timeout bench off to the side, so if somebody elbows somebody too hard, they can sit down and talk it over, and a plastic-lined wrestling ring in the center where they can have hot-oil catfights when the talking doesn't work.
Oh, to dream the impossible dream.
Scooby Snack: one part melon liqueur, one part Malibu rum, one part regular or whipped cream-shaken or blended. Alcohol content: -21 percent
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