Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mucho Macho

Paris is a cultural capital for many, many reasons. An abundance of karaoke parlors is not one of them. And so it is with great anxiety that I announce the following:

I may no longer be welcome at L'Echanteur.

The city's best (only?) karaoke is in the basement of a dive bar in the Marais. Its management and clientele are "hetero friendly," but it helps to be accompanied by one of the Stars of Gayraoke.

One such Star was supposed to meet us at the bar last Saturday night. I arrived just after midnight with two boys and my new travel editor at the Wall Street Journal.

(Was that vulgar?)

Anyway, this distinguished visiting editor needed little encouragement, putting her Snoop Dogg slip in straight away. My inspiration came more slowly, but when it did I scribbled my song choice and found myself on the stage only moments later.

And that's when things began to turn ugly.

A "normal" karaoke night would find me taking to a stage much later, after several watery beers and having already witnessed other people's shame. On this particular night there was no posse to shield me from the unknown members of the audience. There was no former session singer at my side to do the backup. I was nearly - gasp! - sober.

But none of that would have mattered had I chosen the right song -

...had I NOT chosen to sing Macho Man a gay bar

...without really knowing the words.

Who knew there were words? Besides the chorus, I mean. They're actually (don't laugh), kind of hard. Which is why I found myself staring out at the horrified audience and mumbling "body... body... body? It's so hot my body? body... body.. check it out."

The editor, in an ill-considered moment of great compassion, rushed to the stage and began to gyrate in circles around me and, I think, to pantomime the macho man's chest hair.

"...check it out, my body."

That went on for far too long, the opening verse, but I was just SURE that when the chorus came we would all throw our heads back and our arms in the air and unite as macho men together.

It was dead quiet as Nikki and I, the two white girls in the gay bar, threw our heads back and began to scream the chorus.


And then the song went on another three or four minutes.


The DJ, who has seen me perform many challenging numbers in the past, actually said, "Goodbye Meg" instead of "thank you" at the end of the song.

And that's when I dropped and shattered my glass.


Nikki never got a chance to perform that night, her name seemingly blacklisted by association.

A shame, really, because I would have killed to watch her Drop It Like It's Hot. I had a clear image in mind of my employer rapping "I'm a bad boy, with a lotta hos," as I booty danced behind her. "SnooooooooOOOOOOP!"

Because I have no video of my disasterous performance, I offer instead this treasure from Brazil - two 22 year-old boys dancing Macho in their living room. The long-hair is my new summer crush and the spiritual twin of this guy. Where was HE when I needed him at L'Echanteur?


Starman said...

At least you didn't faint even before you got to sing.

Anonymous said...

Wall Street Journal, vulgar indeed

Anonymous said...

Karaoke animateurs are notoriously fickle in Paris; luckily, they can easily be re-won over with a stellar new performance. Best of luck! Just in case you're looking for a new karaoke bar, Le Bon Aloi in the first is always a good time, despite their cheesy website. And there is often a hen night going on, so it's probably just as likely that you'll see a stripping pompier as it is in the Marais!

rhino75 said...

I wish I'd seen it, I really do. But Roland's not a man to bear a grudge - you'll always be welcome at gay karaok!!

Boz said...

Oh noooooooooo.. Don't worry though. There are more unforgiveable crimes to commit. If you didn't know the words to Kylie or Madge then you'd be ban-ish-shed forever. ;-)

Katia said...

OH doll, I do feel your pain. I had a similar situation there a few weeks ago when I tried to sing (with the aforementioned star of GK), "especially for you", a hit song of my childhood. However I had neglected to realise that neither of us had heard the song in its entirety for 20 years and therefore had completely forgotten the way it went and so we caterwauled for a good 5 minutes, only coming up for air (in relief) with the famous three words "especially for you". it was extremely painful.

they've seen better, but they've always seen worse.

TorontoVet said...

The only thing more difficult would have been singing the french version...
Thanks to for introducing me to you and your blog. C'est super!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Hey Meg,

Congratulations on your CNN fame! Just saw the article.


Anonymous said...

hahaha... Don't worry. I've chewed the Spice Girls up into indigestible gurgles and still come back for more. I'm sure you'll always have a place there. Maybe you sing a Celine Dion song next time, for golden humiliation points.

Unknown said...

great blog by the way! I too have shamed myself trying to perform what i considered a gay classic in front of what i thought would be an appreciative audience, alas K.D. langs constant craving did not achieve my being accepted by the sisters! My later attempt at whitney also failed to impress!

I have since then invested in my own karaoke player and can do my crooning in private! you can get customised CD's to put your favourite songs on. I'm planning a themed party at home too so will get one made up for the night. Might do a disco evening! any suggestions for CD?