I was at the concert for my wife’s sake. She had been talking about Keith Urban for months and saw him as some sort of twisted musical messiah. She had gone to plenty of concerts with me that she hated, like the Grateful Dead, and now it was my turn to return the favor.
“Urban plays a mean guitar,” I said to my wife, lying through my teeth.
I wished he hadn’t sung or talked in that exaggerated Australian accent. When he sang those cliche-ridden songs, it felt like I was on the dentist chair getting a root canal, and every chord hit a nerve that made my head jerk backward.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued. Not by his music, but by his uncanny ability to hypnotize the women in the audience into believing how wonderful he was. Not only was he married to a beautiful actress, Nicole Kidman, but he had figured out the secret to unlocking the door of female sexuality and capitalizing on it. Perhaps, it was the way he wore his dirty-blonde hair off his shoulder or those biceps that made women swoon. Whatever it was, he had his fans eating out of his hands no matter what song he sang or what chord he plucked. Even the silly banter between songs made his groupies orgasmic.
Women were jumping in the aisles, chanting Urban’s lyrics, howling like wolves, flailing their bare arms in a frenzy as if they were contestants on the Price is Right.
What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I see what they’re seeing? And why is my butt glued to the seat like an old codger?
And then it dawned on me—I wasn’t a woman.
I didn’t know how women experience a heartthrob in tight pants that choked his privates. I was clueless, stuck in a man’s mind, a lonely and cold place, deprived of passion and sensuality.
My wife turned to me. “Are you okay, Harry?”
“Babe, I’m just dealing with some gender and sexuality stuff. You enjoy the show. Don’t worry about me.”
“But, I can’t,” she said. “You look pale and sickly—about to die or something.”
I closed my eyes and thought, What if I can let go of my male rigidity and morph into a carefree, fun-loving Keith Urban fan?
A woman next to me sensed my strange vibe and moved down a couple of rows. A brunette with a cowgirl hat and a pair of Dingo Willies gave me an evil eye, and muttered, “He must be from the sixties.”
I ignored their looks. I was going to prove one way or another that I could get in touch with my femininity. When the next song came up, I was determined to act like an Urban diehard. I stood up, cheered insanely, and twirled my head around as if I had hair. I sang along with the rest of the fans, mumbling words that I had absolutely no connection with. I made a heroic attempt at losing my narrow-mindedness. I hooted and whistled every time Keith Urban swung his hips or showed off his muscular forearms.
“Keith! I love you!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I tried unsuccessfully to dislodge my boxer shorts from my waist to toss them onstage with the rest of the panties.
Despite odd looks from my wife, I was beginning to feel good about myself, suddenly discovering why women went bonkers over Urban.
Then a couple of bulky cowgirls wearing Tony Lamas that looked like they wanted to rope a calf, began to mock me while spilling Budweiser down my back. “Look at the dork!” they said. “What’s he trying to prove.”
Not wanting to cause any more trouble or dampen my wife’s evening, I quickly sat down, buttoned my shirt, pulled my Grateful Dead cap over my head, and withdrew into a tightly wound ball for the remainder of the concert.
I had to face facts. Despite how much I wanted to experience my Keith Urban side in public, it was never going to happen. No matter how liberated I was, I was still trapped in a man’s body with a masculine brain who couldn’t slip on a pair of tight jeans if his life depended on it.
Mark Tulin is a recovering therapist living in Ventura, CA. He has authored Magical Yogis, Awkward Grace, and The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories, and appeared in Vita Brevis, Amethyst Review, Ariel Chart, Fiction on the Web, The Opiate, Active Muse, and podcasts. He can be found at https://www.crowonthewire.com and Twitter: @Crow_writer.