Recently I’ve started to notice a trend. All of my strongest female friendships have been forged at or solidified through gigs. Rise Against, Sonata Arctica, Die Antwoord, Hello Operator et al. All these bands I have been to see with a female friend and with all those friends I share a very close connection with, or at the very least have had an instant friendship. The sort of ‘just-add-water’ friendship which bubbles and clicks without any effort.
I’m not saying that it’s science but I think I’ve worked out the basic reason why.
It will come as no big surprise to hear that the world puts a lot of stock in looking good. Everybody knows this. This issue is not unique to us but it reaches a whole other level with women (yes, all women) than it does with men. If we have plans we tend to put on our make-up, dress up a little, wear some killer shoes… Whatever it takes to make us feel good. There’s a lot of effort that goes into going out for us, whether it’s to a bar or club, and it’s the exact same thing for a live music event. Along with the look though, there is also a certain amount of reservation. You need to hold back. Don’t come on too strong, but be interesting enough to leave the other person wanting more. In all honestly, meeting friends is probably just as difficult as dating… if not more so!
I know, I know, this all sounds like stating the obvious but that’s not the point. The bonding comes when you manage to sweat all that pretence off. It’s a fact that gigs, music venues, festivals etc. are usually disgusting sweaty affairs where you clamour to get to the front to see your fave babes tear the house down. You want to have an amazing time and you don’t care what you look like while you’re doing it, and soon you start to realise that, hey! Neither does the person you’re with.
So you’re with a gal you don’t know too well and you’re loving the music. You’re both singing along and at each other. You’re ogling the good-looking people on stage, maybe you want to be them or maybe you want to be under them. Maybe both, whatever. You’re having an amazing time. You snap a couple of photos but you don’t check them because who cares right now? This is your jam! You might not be drinking but thank god she suggested water earlier on because you aren’t getting anywhere now you’re jammed between two groups of blokes and a wailing pack of fan girls. The circle pit opens up behind you. You’re not sure if you’re actually that red or if it’s the stage lights. Later on you’re on the night bus and you check the photos.
“Oh my god, we did not look like that.”
“I know, so sweaty!”
“Natural highlighter, you mean.”
Your mascara looks like you’ve been crying and your eyebrows are on your cheeks. Your hair is managing to look both slick and knotted at the same time. You both agree that the photos are ridiculous and deserve pride of place on all social media.
And a friendship is born.
The same obviously goes for people you’re already friends with. If you find someone who you can scream and jump around with like a tween at a Busted concert, getting drippingly sweaty and laugh about it later, you’ve found a good’un. The truth of the matter is that sometimes you have to get sweaty to really 'get' a person, you know? After all, if you haven't been caught under some drunk guys' hellish arm pit with a person, can you really be certain that they're your friend?