There are certain things a man does for no other reason than to win the approval of women.
This can include gifts, certainly. But it can be as simple as lawn-mowing, or putting the seat down, or getting one’s fucking feet off the table.
Little else, though, has quite the innocent payoff of pleasing adolescent girls.
Hence, I accompanied my nine year old daughter Ruby to “Disney’s High School Musical on Ice” at what was once called the Oakland Coliseum (though it now seems to be named after some over-monied high-tech database giant).
It was a bit odd being in that building again. It’s been a while. I’ve lost count of how many concerts I saw there through the seventies and eighties. They seem to have re-modeled the place heavily, or the drugs I was on back in those days did worse to my memory than I was aware.
But that night, it wasn’t stoner boys in down coats and waffle-stomper boots, sporting Yes and Genesis and Pink Floyd t-shirts. Tonight, the smell of shampoo and lip-glass and adolescent excitement was in the air.
There’s a sound – unlike any other sound, anywhere. This is what Beatlemania must have sounded like in person. This is the sound five thousand adolescent girls screaming as one, at the top of every tiny set of lungs, when an skater dressed and made up and wigged to vaguely resmble Zac Efron takes of his shirt and does a bit of fancy footwork across the ice.
I have to admit, such excitement is infectious.
Now, if you have adolescent girls at home, or know someone who does, you are all too aware of the whole High School Musical phenomenon. I won’t bother to describe, or try to explain, why this low-budget Disney Channel made-for-television movie has become such a massive hit. What I’ll say, though, is that it’s cute, silly, has pretty good songs, and likable stars (and as we know from the gossip pages, Vanessa Anne Hudgens is pretty tasty indeed in her birthday suit.)
But one has to be at least a bit afraid at the idea of – well, anything on ice that isn’t either olympic, or a comestible.
Ok, maybe it was just the screaming girls. Maybe it was the fantastic seats I had (I could reach the ice from my seats, which means I was close enough to see the skaters sweat, and see the expressions on their faces when they would occasionally drop character). Or maybe it’s that I genuinely love figure skating. But I admit it – I liked it. It was, possibly, the most soulless piece of live performance I’ve ever seen, and yet I enjoyed it.
Yeah, I’m blaming the little girls. It’s hard to be jaded and cynical when you’re sitting behind a ten year old who looks like she’s seeing god every time a favorite character skates by
Ruby was absolutely paralyzed with excitement. I thought she was unhappy halfway through the first act, and then realized, she was utterly overwhelmed into a fugue state. She wasn’t even able to applaud at first. I’m not entirely sure she was even breathing. When we got home, she had a sobbing breakdown, a combination of exaustion (WAY past her bedtime) and thrill over-load.
I can’t say I want to go back and see HSMonI again right away. But I also don’t at all mind the time and money. Well, well worth it. And damn, are those good Dad Points.
Saturday, Ruby goes with me to her first hockey game; thus, she gets to see what ice should look like, ie, with blood on it.
Update: I just read a review of this show by SFGate’s Peter Hartlaub. He captures it perfectly.