A very long time ago, just a while back, I was standing right next to a guy, I knew over Facebook and I heard that whispered. I knew they were talking about me. I was just reaching the end of my teenage years, approximately 18 or 19 – who knows, those years always get smooshed into one. This was not the first time I heard I was married to this particular guy, we just played it out neither acknowledging it nor denying it. Was I married to him? No! Why did people say so? He was a musician and I was that notorious fan on Facebook. I commented a lot, and I mean a lot and we just got to know each other.
We even built a family of fans.*
Over the last few weeks I went stalking Facebook, Twitter and just general questions to people, who I knew of course. I just asked them straight up what they thought a groupie was. This is where everything got interesting. People I knew, best friends and just random strangers mostly said the same thing – groupies where just people who got into bed with the musician and they allowed it. I choked a bit. People made groupies sound like they were evil, conniving women/girls. Groupies had become a dirty word. Open up a website where groupies are mentioned and you would come across the worded “slut, whore” and a few more choosy words that I don’t want to dirty my blog with.
Before they were even popularised, groupies where just fantical fantics. They were almost innocent. But over the years groupies became ‘that’ thing that no one wanted to be associated as. If you were labelled a groupie, that was it. No going back. It always implied that you slept with band members and that you don’t care about the music. Music came second in the groupie race. Or so I thought for years. The word groupie used to mean, trying to make it to as many gigs possible.
At one gig, whilst talking to a friend – waiting for a friend, there was this girl standing at the green room. It was more like a few rooms as this was an outside gig and there were available shop/back room space. aKing just came off stage and this girl was standing there, waiting for each and every band to come past her. She stopped them, and this is what got me, politely shook their hands, introduced herself, got their signatures in a small notebook. The clincher on this was that she tried to lean in and whisper something in each of the and member’s ear. None of them took the bait and you could see the disappointment in her face. She couldn’t have been younger than 15. But she tried her luck with a few bands.
At another mini-concert, a girl stood with the most uncomfortable shoes, a tight dress and tried to flag down a band. She walked into the bathroom crying, while on the phone with whoever on the other end just saying. “Pick me up, now.” That is one thing I’ve noticed, these people always have uncomfortable shoes on. High heels in mud won’t work, nor standing for 6-8 hours. Maybe it’s because I’ve been an outsider to those women that I notice this. But would have called them a groupie.
Earlier this year, 2015, I accidentally called myself a groupie. Really, accidentally. I went to say hello to one of the guys in a certain SA band, and for some reason the words, “Hello, it’s me that annoying groupie…” spilled out of my mouth faster than I could stop myself. He was all nice and reasonable, I laughed and went all silly trying to backtrack trying to say: “no, no, I mean person.” He then said: “You are my favourite groupie.” Which got me thinking. And I’ve been thinking for a long time. How many people have a labelled groupie over the past 6 years? Do I regret it? Maybe, but to me the word can go both ways.
Sure, there are girls out there who want to sleep with the band. That is their prerogative. It has never affected me directly and I have seen girls being turned down. It’s more embarrassing for me than it’s for them – if it happens in front of me. I’ve gotten over the fact that I do sometimes get called a groupie as a slur. It now just washes over me, a few months ago I might have gotten over emotional about it.
I do love the music more than anything. Music is the thing that keeps me going. Music is a forever thing, a word loses meaning and gets a new one every few years. I won’t lose my love for music as fast as that. To all the girls I secretly called groupie inside my head – I am sorry.
* The family: Sabina, Zenia, Sue, Gordon, Bob, MQ, Megan
Musicians are not mentioned for personal reasons.