A Feminist Dude

I was a sophomore in college far from home when I saw Bikini Kill with local band XXY at Le Cafe Shakes in Lincoln, Nebraska, October of 1994. Both bands were great, and I remember Kathleen stepping off the stage during a song, parting the crowd, and doing a cartwheel/walkover thing on the floor right in front of where I was standing. After the show, my buddy and I were outside the place, and Kathleen was sitting there and had what looked like a “receiving line” of fans waiting to talk to her. I was (and still am) a big fan, so I got on the line. I figured I’d say hi, great show, etc., like everyone else. I forced my friend to wait while I stood on the line. By the time the woman in front of me reached Kathleen, I realized I was the only person left on line. I also realized that this woman must have actually known Kathleen. So now I’m standing there like a weirdo, awkwardly loitering near two friends having a long conversation, all the while my buddy asking, Can we go now? Finally, Kathleen notices me there, and politely asks, “were you waiting for something?” I mumbled something about how I read she was working with Joan Jett, and she said she was, but now I was pretty much frightened, and could think of nothing else to say but “is she still with the Blackhearts?” and Kathleen gave a confident “of course.” I finally slinked away, wondering what she could have possibly thought of me, especially since I looked pretty scary back then with my long hair and aversion to “shaving” (picture Jesus in a flannel and a baseball cap). She was very nice to me, though, despite my possible creepiness, and she and the band gave a great performance that night. As a feminist dude and punk rocker, it was one of my favorite moments that I’ll never forget. Thank you, Kathleen.
-Jere Smith

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