Korean karaoke is only fun if you go with your college buddies you are most comfortable with. Wait, let’s backtrack for a sec. In Baltimore there’s a karaoke place that my college buddies called the “rainbow room” (I’m not sure what the real name is) where we frequented and one of them told me it’s Korean karaoke style because you go to get a private room for a group of people and only sing in front of your friends. This means I’ve never done real karaoke where it’s like a bar setting I would guess and you sing in front of a room full of strangers plus the people you came with of course.
So anyway, I had the chance to do Korean karaoke again a couple months ago. Here is my lil’ ditty on this adventure, unedited, as promised:
She cut making new friends short and headed out on the road, in the direction of obligatory social time. Ironic, really, when the last time she had gone out clubbing/karaoking/frat partying ended with the end of her university studies and she didn’t think she’d be visiting this side of her personality ever again, especially not because of a work function. Desperate times called for desperate measures, but she already felt herself reverting back to her old high school mousy ways, except with the women she had come to know through lunch conversations. She was hoping she could stick to them mostly and not have to interact with the men very much.
When she finally arrived at the right room, after almost ending up at some 21-year-old birthday girl celebration room (the girls didn’t recognize her, but they didn’t look like they would have minded if she joined them) because it was too loud for enunciations, they were excited to see her and welcomed her with water and burger bites immediately. She flocked to the lunch women right away and glanced around to see if he had showed up yet. Some girl was singing along to Rihanna and Jay Z’s “Umbrella,” though she couldn’t recognize the tune until the song was nearly over.
The execs were all there and she felt a wave of nervous excitement as one ordered a Corona with lime for her and another showed her the menu, saying he didn’t know any of the songs listed. She laughed and relaxed a bit. Must have been the Corona. This wasn’t so bad. The execs were witty and fun to be around and smiled at her. It felt kind of nice being adored by older men. So much for hope. But she found she didn’t mind as much as she thought she would. Must also have been the Corona. Suddenly she could understand why some girls preferred to date men twice their age—there’s a reason why these men made it to the exec level.
But she was not interested in dating. She just wanted to make it through the night without offending anyone. Then she noticed him walking over to her side of the room, and her old college extroverted self inhabited her body. They started talking about the music, which sounded like song choices dictated by the walls covered in likenesses of Eminem, Elvis Presley, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Johnny Cash.
Taylor Swift’s “Style” came on and she was dragged away like a magnet to sing along. After that it was back to Eminem and she wondered what other secrets these people held. A few more sips of the Corona and then it was time for the ladies’ room with one of the lunch women. It wasn’t easy to find and as they walked by another rainbow room, they noticed that the difference between this one and theirs was a pole. She wondered what everyone would think of her if they knew the urge to go dancing around the pole had crossed her mind. Then she tucked the thought away inside a hatbox under her bed. The hatbox was a safer place for the thought than anywhere else in her world.
When they got back to their room, someone was doing Eminem and as she drove home that night, she found herself smiling as she said, “my name is,” over and over again until she killed the motor.