Rivers Cuomo Messes You Up Forever

RIVERS OF CUOMO

Before we begin, let us be clear: We speak not of the Rivers Cuomo that was, nor of the Rivers Cuomo that is, nor yet of the Rivers that shall be. We speak, now, of the Platonic ideal of a Rivers Cuomo: The Rivers Cuomo you have never met, nor ever can meet, nor can ever be sued by (subsequent to writing a blog post that uses his name quite a lot), but who lives, nevertheless, within your brain. Specifically, if you happen to have grown up in the 1990s, and are heterosexual, and also a girl.

Because you totally have one. I mean, come on.

1. SEDUCTION

He was cute; he was vulnerable; he had glasses. Really cool glasses. His hair was unfortunate; his features were delicate; in his videos, he could never quite hold eye contact with the camera. He wore sweaters a lot, and he sang about wearing the sweaters; he was a sweater-wearing dude, that Rivers Cuomo. He sang at you on the radio. He loved you, more desperately than anyone ever had, or would.

If you happened to be of a certain age when “The Blue Album” came out-let’s say, for the purposes of total non-specificity and universal relatability, “exactly twelve years old”-the highly sweater-centric single from that album, and the revelation that its singer was in fact good-looking, opened up a whole new landscape of sexual possibility. It made you think that sex might not, as you had previously supposed, be scary or harsh or done with any of the dudes at your school who smelled like pot and cheap beer and unwashed laundry and were sporting, with greater or lesser success, floppy Kurt Cobain haircuts. Instead, sex could be something you did with someone as soft-spoken and gentle and enthused about sweater-wearing as Mr. Rogers. Girls before you had learned about the power of male vulnerability-from Lloyd Dobler and his tear-stained boom box of rejection, or from Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, he with the body of a weightlifter and the soul of a tender wood nymph-but for you, it was Rivers. He made sex seem simultaneously safer and more intense. He gave you the power, the power to accept or reject him; he proclaimed, constantly, his own weakness before you.

In the song, he gave you detailed instructions for removing the sweater. Slowly. Piece by piece. A whine that was a striptease. Watch him unravel. He’ll soon be naked. Lying on the floor, he comes, undooooooooooooooooone.

You should have paid more attention, maybe, to all the whining. But it was too late: You had the album. On the album, he sang about being scared to dance with girls; he sang about Dungeons and Dragons; he sang about comic books. He mentioned Kitty Pryde. Not even any of the hot lady X-Men; not Rogue, or Emma Frost, or even Jean Grey, the ones that were busty and assertive and all terrifyingly developed in ways you could never be. Rivers Cuomo liked Kitty Pryde: The everygirl, the (relatively) flat-chested one, the awkward teen. The one that was… you know. You. In the age of Pamela Anderson’s ascendance, Rivers Cuomo thought it was hot that you looked like Mary Tyler Moore. And he didn’t care what they said about you, anyway. He didn’t care about that.

Perhaps no adult rock star has more enthusiastically appropriated the iconography and reference points of childhood than Rivers Cuomo. (Well. There is Kimya Dawson! But that is a different thing.) When Weezer finally did a video with the Muppets, it was not a surprise; the surprise was that Weezer hadn’t done it already, and that they didn’t also get Spike Jonze to insert them into an episode of He-Man. The result of Rivers Cuomo’s exceptionally prolonged adolescence-which only came into the public eye, mind you, when he was already twenty-four years old-was that he was a grown man who remained approachable and sympathetic to tween girls; simultaneously more powerful than you and less so, older than you and also your age. Rivers Cuomo was Justin Bieber, if it were possible to imagine Justin Bieber ever having grown a chest hair. Oh, but no, there is a better comparison: Rivers Cuomo was the Michael Cera of his generation.

But he was a Michael Cera who played guitar, loud guitar, and he sang. Imagine Michael Cera in a stadium, screaming about how girls don’t like him back and it makes him sad sometimes, a guitar strapped to his hips. The power unleashed was nuclear.

“I, like, imprinted on this shit. I suspect an entire generation of girls did,” wrote Emily Gould once, in a long-ago and far-away blog post about Rivers Cuomo. I can confirm that suspicion! And demonstrate that at least one of the generation is willing to write 5,379-word essays about it, which are not pleased about that fact!

Because he got inside your head, Rivers Cuomo. He fucked you up. You still give dudes a closer look if they wear cool glasses.

2. CONSUMMATION

Then, “Pinkerton” came out. “Pinkerton” is the Weezer album that dudes like; or, in our current discourse, “the best Weezer album.” On “Pinkerton,” Rivers Cuomo is not being coy, any more, about the fact that he likes fucking. It’s what every song is about. The guitar solo in “Only In Dreams” is crafted to fit the structure of sex (or, really, masturbation) and orgasm, a slow rhythmic build-up that gets louder and faster and more ecstatic as it goes. But, on “Pinkerton,” Cuomo just tells a girl that he’d like to see her jerk off.

And yet, the album opens with a song called “Tired of Sex.” About, yes, Rivers Cuomo being tired of having sex; tired of having sex, that is, that does not lead to his having a girlfriend. But he is having quite a bit of sex, in this song! He is having lots of sex, with lots of girls, who have lots of names. He is telling you the names of the girls with whom he’s had sex recently: Jen, Lynn, Jasmine, Denise, Cherise or Sharice or something like that, and the anachronistically named Louise. I mean, that’s just this week; no wonder the man is tired. But it does seem to be a spiritual malaise, rather than a case of sore thigh muscles or chafing or what have you: None of these girls were good enough to keep him from having sex with the next one in the sequence.

So, why can’t he be making love come true, is the question? Why can’t he be making and/or falling in love with a girl, better than all those girls, a girl he will not get tired of, but with whom he will nevertheless have sex? Hey, little lady: Maybe that girl is you!

No. It’s not. Sorry! “Pinkerton” was one of Weezer’s worst-selling albums, but it’s sold 850,000 copies in the U.S. alone; a song like “Tired of Sex,” which advertises sexual availability by regretting it aloud, is the musical equivalent of a text message with 850,000 BCC’d recipients, reading “hey sweetie lonely night 4 me what r u doin?” He puts you on the list, he puts everyone else on the list, and he waits for at least one of the responses to come back-as it inevitably will-“why, I’m doing you, handsome.” The pity fuck is a sad and lonely fuck, but you can get fucked that way, if you try; it helps to package it as an aspirational fuck, a level-up fuck, the fuck that can solve all your fucking problems. “Tonight, I’m down on my knees! Tonight, I’m begging you, please,” Rivers Cuomo yelps. Me and everyone else on your contact list, buddy.

And yet, somehow? For whatever reason? Whether it was the buzzing synth line, or the (as always, on this album) fucking excellent bass, or the authentic desperation in his voice, the shrieks after the first chorus that sound vaguely orgasmic and exactly like someone losing his arm in a table saw accident, well… it worked. It was really fucking sexy.

But it should come as no surprise, after an opener like that one, that the final song on this record peaks with Rivers Cuomo earnestly, broken-voicedly crooning “you’re a bitch,” and explaining why he cheated on you.

3. DISILLUSIONMENT

The song is “Butterfly.” The line is, “I’m sorry for what I did; I did what my body told me to; I didn’t mean to do you harm.” Now: As apologies or explanations go, “I did what my body told me to” is “the heart wants what it wants” for people without feelings. Wanting and doing are two very different things; I may very well have a problem with what you wanted (cheating, marrying your girlfriend’s daughter), but I definitely have a problem with what you did (the cheating; the marriage). I mean: Either Rivers Cuomo has an implant in his brain which allows his body to be controlled by outside forces-in which case we should all be very afraid, and not just for Rivers Cuomo-or he decided to cheat on someone. But here is the conversation Rivers Cuomo wants you to imagine taking place between him and his body, on the occasion of said cheating:

THE BODY OF RIVERS CUOMO: Rivers Cuomo, I have some bad news. You are now going to cheat on your special lady.

RIVERS CUOMO: What?! But I couldn’t possibly! I love her! Nothing must harm our sacred bond!

THE BODY OF RIVERS CUOMO: It’s too late, Rivers. I’m in control now.

RIVERS CUOMO: Noooooooooooooooooooo! DAMN YOU, BODY OF RIVERS CUOMO!

Whereas here, as anyone who has ever cheated is well aware, is the conversation that actually took place:

RIVERS CUOMO: Dude.

THE BODY OF RIVERS CUOMO: DUDE.

RIVERS CUOMO: I don’t know, though.

THE BODY OF RIVERS CUOMO: Dude.

And now it is time to tell you about it, and this is the route he takes. “I’m sorry for what I did.” Wow. Okay. That was really up-front, and I respect it. “I did what my body told me to.” Uh. “I didn’t mean to do you harm.” What? Sorry, can’t hear you; I’m calling another dude to ask him out already.

“Pinkerton,” basically, is the album where Weezer got creepy. And there is a lot of creepiness to be dealt with. There is “Pink Triangle,” in which Rivers Cuomo Chases an Amy, laments, “she’s a lesbian! I thought I had found the one,” and presents the highly persuasive argument, “everyone’s a little queer, can’t she be a little straight?” There is “El Scorcho,” in which Rivers Cuomo serenades a lady who turns down his invitation to a concert, declines to “come up to [Rivers Cuomo] and say hello,” and basically “won’t talk, won’t look, won’t think of” Rivers Cuomo, with the line, “so I went to your room and read your diary.” It is not specified that the lady is with him, during this reading! (Yeah, dude: I’m a lot like you, if we’re both filing a restraining order against you right now.) There is “Why Bother,” on which Cuomo hilariously declares that he has had two entire girlfriends, and he is never going to have one again, because we are all terrible. (Again, so that we’re keeping track of the emotion-to-age timeline: The man was twenty-six.) And then, there is “Across the Sea,” wherein… oh, God. Oh, GOD.

“You are eighteen-year old girl who live in small city of Japan,” it starts. This is, by Cuomo’s own admission, a song about an actual letter-an actual girl. Pay attention to the age, because it’s going to be important later. Anyway, this girl likes Rivers Cuomo’s music, and she wants to know what his favorite foods and hobbies are. Which, of course, Rivers Cuomo takes to mean that she wants to know what it is like to ride the Rivers Cuomo Train to Pleasure-Town, Population: Rivers Cuomo.

Now: “Pinkerton” is liberally decorated with what was, once upon a time, called “Japonisme,” and which is known to current generations as “that thing that white American anime fans do that creeps you out,” or “Gwen Stefani’s whole deal.” That is: A somewhat weird, othering fascination with Japan and Japanese people, from the “half-Japanese girls” who do it to Cuomo every time on “El Scorcho,” to the Hiroshige cover, to the album’s fucking name, which is taken from the archetypal Asian Ladies Are So Exotic and Submissive In Such Exciting Ways For Me story, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, whose titular character Cio-Cio San is mentioned on “El Scorcho” and whose libretto is quoted on the actual, physical CD (“everywhere in the world, the roving Yankee takes his pleasure”) and copped on, duh, “Butterfly,” and also the cover for the “El Scorcho” single has a geisha on it, did I mention. But this girl in “Across the Sea?” Boy howdy, does she ever get the worst of it.

Cuomo takes great care to approximate the girl’s English-as-a-second-language English. He fetishizes her stationery in like the most Japonismey manner possible (“so fragile, so refined”) and subsequently admits to sniffing and licking it like a straight-up serial killer. And that, all of that, happens before things get really uncomfortable.

“I wonder what clothes you wear to school,” Rivers Cuomo sings. “I wonder how you decorate your room,” he continues. And, oh, shit, here it comes: “I wonder how you touch yourself.” I wonder how many of the dudes featured on To Catch a Predator have this song on their iPods!

Because, seriously: What she wears to school. Not work; work is for grown-ups. School. How she decorates her room-not her apartment, but her room, her bedroom, the one place you could feasibly decorate if you still lived with your parents. She wants to know his birthday, his hobbies, what he likes to eat. These might just be questions that you can easily ask, if you are taking an English class and learning the interrogative-I took Spanish for about four years, as I recall, and now I can ask you where the disco and the bathroom are, so I sympathize-but they’re also the sorts of questions you would expect from a child. The question of how much of this is a twenty-six year old man slobbering over a teenager, and how much of it is some weird white dude wanting to bone a Japanese chick (so fragile, and cute, and childlike! Like a little doll) so he can Get In Touch With Her Culture is tricky; it’s probably both. But remember how she’s eighteen, in the song’s first line? Just sort of Barely Legal, as they say? Well: Apparently, in the mind of Rivers Cuomo, she was (at least some of the time) a lot younger than that.

“When I got the letter, I fell in love with her. It was such a great letter,” Rivers Cuomo is on Wikipedia’d record as saying. But, also: “Even if I did see her, she was probably some fourteen-year-old girl, who didn’t speak English.”

The question of how you can find someone’s letter “great,” and also question their ability to use the language in which the letter is written, can maybe be put aside. (NO IT CAN’T! HE LIKES HER BECAUSE HE THINKS SHE CAN’T TALK BACK! AIIEEE!) The fact is, we are all reasonable adults here, and we are all comfortable and non-judgmental with regard to each others’ adult sexualities, and we are all able to separate the artist from his work. We are all able to separate the artist from his work, even when the artist is on record as not separating himself from this specific song or album at all, and basing it on his very own thoughts, feelings, and experiences more or less directly. And, as reasonable, sophisticated adults who are beyond parochial moral judgments, we all know that there is a perfectly reasonable, appropriate, adult response to a dude admitting in public that he is so sexually preoccupied with a strange lady that he licks things she’s touched and visualizes her masturbating, while also seriously entertaining the possibility that she is a tween. And that response is:

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.

GOD.

EEEEEEEEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUWWWWW.

4. COUPLES COUNSELING

It seems unfair to pour your cooler of Haterade out on, of all things, “Pinkerton”-not least because it is probably impossible to judge “Pinkerton” more harshly than Weezer did. It got awful reviews; the bassist left the band afterward; Weezer fans still complain that they rarely play the songs in concert; Cuomo famously disavowed the entire record, and viewed it as a personal and professional embarrassment, for years. It’s not that I don’t sympathize.

And, while we’re talking about sympathy, we should note that it actually seems fairly impossible to judge Rivers Cuomo-who is, again, always only your Cuomo, an imaginary Cuomo, the Cuomo built out of a handful of lyrics and video appearances and the one time that you ever saw him play a show, plus how very much you loved him, long ago-more harshly than he judges himself. “Pinkerton” is one sustained utterance of lust, self-pity, and profound self-loathing. (“I could never touch you, I think it would be wrong,” Cuomo sings repeatedly on “Across the Sea”; it may be one of the creepier songs you’ll ever hear, but its creepiness doesn’t go unacknowledged.) If “Pinkerton” were a blog post, you’d write the author an e-mail to see if he was okay; if it were something your friend said to you at a party, you’d give him the number of your therapist. Dude is in it DEEP.

If it were something your boyfriend said to you, however-if it were something said to you by any man you’d slept with, or were sleeping with, or were entertaining the possibility of sleeping with-you would just want to smack the glasses right off his stupid face. (Ladies, don’t smack anyone! This message brought to you by Feminism.) And six of the ten songs on “Pinkerton” are sung to a “you,” a female “you,” who would appear to be in just such a situation. As for the others, “Pink Triangle” is about a girl he wants to sleep with; “No Other One” is about a girl he’s sleeping with; “Tired of Sex,” when he’s not down on his knees and begging “you,” is about girls he’s already slept with. Only “The Good Life” is not about a specific woman or women. As a woman, hearing the word “you” repeated so many times over the course of an album primarily about how terrible and hurtful and disastrous it is to interact with any woman, anywhere, ever, induces a deep and primal irritation.

But maybe you have to be a girl to notice it. Because the vast majority of the men I have spoken to, about the album, are under the impression that it is about them. One man I spoke to about it pointed out that, for men, Rivers Cuomo is both Liz Phair and Liz Lemon. He’s the pathetic dork in the glasses who can’t get laid and has gone at least slightly bonkers over it, the one you hate to be like, but love to identify with, because it means you’re not alone in being such a reject. And he’s also written one of the most relatable and Livejournalistic accounts of exactly how you feel when you do get laid, and how dissatisfying that can be.

He’s singing from his pain, men remind me; he’s singing from a place that men aren’t allowed to admit they inhabit. He is telling us how guys feel. I must admit: After all the complaining done, by women, about the emotional unavailability of men, harshing on “Pinkerton” is a bit like getting a plate of cupcakes from someone and smashing each one, individually, back into his face.

Empathy is hard-especially, sad to say, when you are fucking someone and it’s not going quite so well as you’d planned. If you add in the whole gender thing, it gets even harder. Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together. They do. And then they call each other bitches and cunts and dumb motherfuckers, assholes and alcoholics and overprivileged Ivy League elitist shits, failed writers, failed people, people with daddy issues and mommy issues and control issues and abandonment issues, just Issues, horrible Issues, Issues that cannot be forgiven; they accuse each other of crimes against God and nature and political engagement; they accuse each other of being just like their mothers (never satisfied) and their fathers (2 bold). And some of them have recording careers, so they take it public. Is that so wrong?

5. DIVORCE

Sometimes, I think it is. It may very well be that I, the blogger and listener and owner of both these albums, have more sympathy for women’s anger at men than I do for men’s anger at women; PJ Harvey wrote a song about cutting a dude’s legs off, and I listen to it all the damn time. And women can be terrible! I can be terrible, undoubtedly! That’s just true! But “Pinkerton” just seems too self-absorbed-and invites too much self-absorption, apparently, from its male listeners-to notice who its real targets are. Of course, it reads as a profoundly unhappy statement from a profoundly unhappy man. But lots of unhappy people are dead set on taking their unhappiness out on someone-on finding someone to blame. Lots of unhappy people are jerks. And if you are a boy, a boy like Rivers Cuomo, who apparently cited as influences on this album both Howard Stern and Camille freaking Paglia, well: A girl is a safe target. Any girl, all girls, girls in general.

To go back to “Across the Sea,” for the moment: Aside from its pervier moments, it is also memorable as the song in which Rivers Cuomo goes full-on Norman Bates. The music gets all soft for a second, and Rivers Cuomo starts Sharing About His Childhood, and it all culminates in these immortal lines:

You see mom, I’m a good little boy.
It’s all your fault, momma.
It’s all your faaaaaaaauUUUUUULLLLLLLLTT, it’s all your FAAAULT!!!!

Yeesh. Or, for another example, take these lines on “The Good Life”: Everything I need is denied me, and everything I want is taken away from me. This may very well feel true for you, young man, when you listen to this album! You may sing along! You may feel that Rivers Cuomo Gets Your Pain! But at the time this song was released, Rivers Cuomo was a massively successful pop star, with an Ivy League education, receiving all the not inconsiderable social benefits of being young, white, straight, and male. I mean, what was he missing? A date with a teenage superfan? Klonopin? A pony?

Yeah, yeah: Love. I get it. Everyone wants to be loved; everyone suffers from love’s absence. Which is why I have taken until now, in fact, to introduce my least favorite song on the album: The song that leaves the territory of harmless, self-pitying narcissism, and just starts to sound like you’re trapped in a conversation with an asshole.

“No Other One” is one of the more impressive Bad Boyfriend Anthems out there. “My girl’s a liar,” is what Cuomo chooses to lead with, and it just gets worse from there. She commits the mortal sin of talking to people other than Cuomo at social gatherings; she gets high a lot; she has a tattoo. A tattoo! And he doesn’t like her pets! She is so awful! And yet, despite the fact that he does not like or respect or care for this girl, they are dating: “No, there is no other other one,” Cuomo doth protest too much, “I can’t have any other one.” Additionally, he “would, never ever could with one.” Learn from my sexual misadventures, reader: The man who takes the occasion to proclaim that he has not left you, nor cheated on you, because he can’t, is without a doubt going to leave you, and to enjoy the company of other vaginas, just exactly as soon as he perceives the opportunity.

I always wonder about the girl in “No Other One.” Like: What went on, at that party? What went on right before the party? Why weren’t they talking? Maybe being at a party, with other people, is the only thing that makes her feel good about the two of them any more; the only chance she has to be with her boyfriend, to be perceived and treated as a couple, without actually having to interact with him and to encounter the troubles of this couple. Maybe she talks to everyone else because she can’t talk to him. Maybe she gets high all the time because every time she hopes that this time it will make them fight less, not more: That it will numb her out, take her far enough out of herself that she won’t be the girl he hates any more. Maybe she lies to him because she doesn’t trust him with the truth; maybe he just dislikes too much about her already for her to give him any more ammunition. Maybe he said something about her tattoo. Like, the one part of herself she actually can’t get rid of, no matter how objectionable it is or how much she regrets it: Maybe that’s what he chose to criticize. She could cover it up, maybe, with something else. But she can’t make it go away, not without even more money and even more pain and maybe then a scar. And should you really cover up a part of yourself for a boy? What do you do then, once you’ve chosen that path? Cover that up with something else for the next boy? And then the boy after that, and the boy after that: Do you just keep adding layers? Maybe it occurs to her that she’s started assuming there will be a “next boy,” at some point. Maybe she didn’t always think so.

Maybe, maybe, maybe: We don’t know. Because, at no point throughout the song, is she assigned anything resembling an inner life. At no point, over the course of this song about The Very Important Relationship Feelings of Rivers Cuomo, does he ever acknowledge that the girl he is having Relationship Feelings about, and is in a Relationship with, might have… well, feelings. Feelings outside his own, feelings that don’t perfectly mirror his. His girlfriend is not a person, in this song: She’s a gratification dispenser. And she’s broken, faulty. It’s all your fault, momma, it’s all your fault. She’s just another girl, another girl like momma who’s supposed to make him happy all the time and doesn’t. Another vending machine that makes him angry, because it won’t spit out what he wants.

If I had to guess at least one of her feelings, though? I’d guess she would say she loved him. Which makes his pining after love, over the course of the album, all the more grating. Love is transactional. Love is both a job and the paycheck for the job. No one should have to do full-time work without pay. And no one, Rivers Cuomo included, should get paid just for showing up.

6. NOSTALGIA

I am not the world’s leading expert on emotional maturity. I find that PJ Harvey song about mutilating dudes to be emotionally useful, on a more or less continual basis. But I will tell you this: The moment you, the female listener, break up with your internal Rivers Cuomo, the moment you renounce this particular mode of male expression and declare it no longer desirable or cute, the moment you no longer confuse the feeling of wanting to take a boy home and make him soup and somehow fix all his problems via blow job with love, is the moment that you’re free. Because, at that point, you no longer care so much about his feelings. You still care, of course, about those. But never more than you care about your own.

So it’s over, and you move on. Weezer starts to release terrible albums-more and more terrible albums, and then a Snuggie, and then a song entitled “I’m Your Daddy,” featuring lead vocals by a thirty-nine-year-old man who is in fact an actual father, and it is about hitting on a girl at a party using this phrase like he’s twenty-two and was raised without human contact in a basement, and he doesn’t get that he’s embarrassing himself. And at this point, no one, including you, understands what you saw in Weezer.

And then you write an essay about the whole deal, and you actually listen to both “Pinkerton” and the “Blue Album” many times, and at some point you realize that “In the Garage” actually prefigured every awful Apatovian man-child film you have ever hated the sauce out of, and at some point you remember that “No One Else” exists, and you listen to the lyrics to that one for the first time in over a decade, and oh my God it is AWFUL. It is worse than ANYTHING on “Pinkerton.” I want a girl who will laugh for no one else, when I’m away she puts her makeup on the shelf, when I’m away she never leaves the house: I mean, that’s not some deep hidden misogyny you uncovered because you’re so paranoid/clever. Those are just the words. It’s like a musical installment of Twilight. If a friend were dating a dude who talked like this, you’d start leaving checklists of Signs That You Are In An Abusive Relationship all over her apartment. Which is where you would have to be, because that would be the only way you could see her, because when he was away she would never! Leave! The house!!! And at that point, you will know that the end was in the beginning; it was never going to work between you and Rivers Cuomo. I knew it, anyway. There is some grace in the recognition.

Because here are a few more things I know: I was in the front row when Weezer played “El Scorcho.” July 18, 2002 at the Polaris Amphitheater in Columbus, OH, and it was the encore, and fans (including me) had been screaming and chanting for it all night, and the band came back out and they banged their way through the song, and Cuomo looked massively pissed off the whole time, as I recall, and as I also recall he then yelled something like, “Are you satisfied? ARE YOU SATISFIED?” and stomped right off the stage and didn’t come back. I remember this, all of this, so clearly; it’s one of those things that stays with you, for years and years. And I remember that I was already in the pit, pretty close, but when that riff started, I elbowed my way up to the barricade like Rivers Cuomo owed me money. It was me and my first real boyfriend, certainly the first man I ever really loved, this sweet boy, big black-framed glasses, hair always in his face, too shy to talk much in public or even privately sometimes, huge Weezer fan; the one who played me “Pinkerton” for the first time, got me back into them and re-ignited my adolescent crush, which by that point I had more or less forgotten. I’d play “El Scorcho” a lot that summer, and I’d think about him, how shy he was, how much he wasn’t saying and how I could get him to say it; we dated for almost six years after that, talked marriage, talked kids, and then it didn’t work out; we were too young, and too stupid about love to know how thoroughly we could kill it, and that was, I think, despite all the terrible things we eventually did to each other, the only real reason. So the riff started and I grabbed this boy and I didn’t let any motherfucker get in between me and my boyfriend and Rivers Cuomo, while he was playing “El Scorcho.” I stood there, up against the barricade, and I was sweating and I was in love and I was close enough to see that Rivers Cuomo was sweating too. I was so happy. And I was screaming. Me and a million other girls.

Sady Doyle is the proprietor of Tiger Beatdown. And she likes your glasses.