Several years ago, my friend and I went to see Built to Spill in St. Louis at a small club called Mississippi Nights. There were only a couple hundred people, maybe, and we found a table in the back—it felt like an intimate gathering that Built to Spill had invited us to attend.
The problem began to arise—or should I say “rise,” like the moon—after the first couple of songs.
Because we were sitting, Susan and I had our view of the stage partially blocked by people standing in front of us, but it was late on a Sunday night and we were in our 30s. We were okay with the trade-off of missing some of the view in order to sit down to enjoy the show.
A little while after we’d sat down, a guy joined the group in front of us, squeezing himself into an open space and leaning against the railing directly in front of our table. We shifted around a bit to be able to see past him.
The show started and was going along beautifully, when all of a sudden I noticed something strange out of the corner of my eye. I nudged my friend, and we looked at each other quizzically, then gaped. We’d found ourselves facing two almost-entirely-exposed butt cheeks. And because we were sitting, they were right at eye level.
The bearer of said buttcheeks was a young guy, college-aged, who, strangely, was doing nothing else to draw attention to himself. He wore bluejeans and a T-shirt and everything about his body language—from the way he leaned over intermittently to comment to his group of buddies, to the way he sipped his beer and looked around the room as if he were surveying his fishing line or a sunset—was lackadaisical. And yet, this wasn’t the gangsta-wannabe, baggy-jeans-exposing-waistband-of-boxers-or- whitey-tighties look. There was no hint of underwear to be seen here. Rather, it seemed as if he’d purposefully pushed his somewhat-snug jeans down past the mid-point of his butt, then hoisted his cheeks up and out.
And he stood that way the entire night.
Throughout the show, Susan and I snickered and rolled our eyes. I leaned over and whisper/yelled, “Surely he’s got to notice this by now?”
“I know!” she said. “You’d think he’d be feeling a breeze?”
Eventually I lost the ability to concentrate on the music, and could only focus on the guy’s butt—or, more specifically, how and why it was so bare.
Could he possibly not know his pants were down? Or, worse, did he seriously think there was something studly about his physique—and that we were getting off on looking at some long, lanky college kid’s cheeks?
It’s not fair to the band, but the fact is, I can’t think of that show in St. Louis, or even Built to Spill in general, without thinking of some guy’s bare butt.