Band Fags of the World… UnTie!

I have a band concert this weekend, and I’m a bit nervous about it.  I have several friends coming, and I desperately want it to be good and not schlocky.  Especially given how much I’ve talked up this particular group of musicians.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I was a teenage Band Fag.  Actually, I’m STILL a Band Fag (there’s just more emphasis on the fag portion now).  The more acceptable term, of course, would be Band Geek.  My high school opted for the politically incorrect version.  The assonance created by the short ‘a’ sound gives it a better flow, no?


I think once you play an instrument in a school setting, you can never truly be rid of that Band Geek stench.  It just sort of infiltrates your being, and no matter how much you scrub, its always there.  And I don’t mean the smell of a sweaty, unwashed polyester uniform.

Last night on Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Bailey (short, black doctor) had a meltdown at the end of the show where she was crying in front of Dr. McDreamy.  Her tears stemmed from the fact that she just finished open heart surgery on a guy she used to have a crush on in High School (a guy she used to tutor), and after the surgery he went back to treating her like she was only good for doing her homework.


While sobbing she confessed that even though she was a successful chief resident at a hospital (and had just saved his life), he still didn’t “see” her.  She still didn’t exist in his eyes, and never would.  She would always be the short, mushroom haircut, cokebottle glasses-wearing, dumpy girl in a High School band uniform that he didn’t invite to the Homecoming Dance.

I got very choked up watching her, because I completely identified with those feelings.

I was a nerdy, pseudo-skinny kid (with a hefty ass) who, because of his buck teeth and myopia was stuck simultaneously with braces and hideously large, metal frame glasses.  I also had frumpy, generic clothes and a bowlcut hairstyle that stood up in front and back because of a cowlicks.  And I too wore a band uniform.

I was painfully shy up until about grade 10.  I tried my best to slip through school being blissfully ignored, which you know is a lost cause when you enter Junior High.  The “unfortunates” always become targets.  I was made fun of (a lot) for being nerdy, for playing trombone, for my hair… for just about anything really.  And of course I was subject to frequent tripping and locker slamming by the jocks (namely the football players). 

Twenty-five years later and I still feel like the ugly, nerdy, shy, picked on band geek.  Only now I’m “gay” too.

Objectively speaking, I know that I’m not ugly anymore.  At least I should know this.  I’ve ditched the braces, the bad hair, the bad glasses, and have grown into my body.  And I know how to dress and accessorize (i.e. no band uniforms) even if I don’t exercise my ability very often.

And yes, I get lovely compliments from my blog readers (and “non-virtual” others) who say that I’m attractive.  And while I appreciate the sentiments, I have trouble believing them.  The jaded boy inside me always thinks, “Why are they saying nice things to me?  They must want something.”

As for the rest?  I’m not very shy anymore (not by a longshot), although it does creep in occasionally at the oddest times.  I’m definitely still nerdy, but I’m okay with that.  I justify it now as being “intellectual”– which means I’ll kick everyone’s ass at Trivial Pursuit or Scene It.

And yeah, I’m still a “Band Fag”.

And a nerdy guy who continually seeks external validation to prove his intellect to himself.

And a no-longer-shy guy who craves attention now in an effort to make up for the years spent being invisible.

And an ugly kid who desperately wants to hear that he’s ‘attractive’ even though he’ll never truly believe it.

God I hope this band concert goes well on Sunday.

About cb

Nickname: Munt Measurements: 45 B, 34, 38(?) Ambition: to be the best human ever! Turn ons: long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, porn, rainbows, cock Turn offs: bad smell face, men who are full of themselves, dead puppies, popcorn, sadness
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21 Responses to Band Fags of the World… UnTie!

  1. Glenn says:

    Skinny, skanky, fag!

    Just kiddin’ …

  2. John says:

    I was such a band fag in high school. First chair in the trumpet section for marching and concert band, whee! It was the way to have a good activity on your college application when you were terrible at sports. And I was really good at it, if I do say so myself, so it was a very big deal to be excelling at something other than academics.

    Even if I had to wear that polyester uniform and tacky gaucho hat. (This was the early 80s, when faux-Spanish was all the rage in marching bands.)

  3. Zack says:

    I was the fat, shy, nerdy kid in school who had a cold for eight straight years to avoid PE. (No one ever wanted me on their team anyway). I still have a hard time shaking that perception of myself. When I look in the mirror, that’s still who I see, even though other people don’t anymore.

  4. Mark says:

    I think gay teens likely suffer from low self-esteem at a disproportionately higher rate than hetero teens, and unfortunately it is a difficult thing to shed, even as an adult, even when there is proof to the contrary.

    Even though its not completely gone it sounds like you’ve really worked hard to overcome it. Good for you!!!


  5. Tony says:

    Under 5 feet when I started high school. Complete art fag. Yeah, I know what you’re talking about. Especially the part of me that is never going to be… good looking, socially acceptable, whatever. I’m probably always going to the the funny looking kid no matter what, and I’m 52.

  6. Alexander says:

    People still watch Gray’s Anatomy?

  7. Jason says:

    I think most of us can relate to the awkwardness of growing up geeky and gay.
    Gaybo’s Unite!

    Break a leg at your concert!
    You must post some pictures of your performance(music).

  8. Kelly says:

    Band Geek here… but we ruled our school, since our football team sucked ass… and our band director liked cool music and special effects (canons, fake palm trees etc..) Snare drummer here by the way… but hung out with a lot of the flag girls during breaks… I could done that… really I think I could have…

  9. Rich says:

    Band geeks will be the ones listening to the concert, so I would not worry much. You are with your people. 🙂
    Look at your blogger audience, um, which adores you (and gives you an appropriate level of grief to keep it balanced)…seems you came out on the other end pretty damn hot.

  10. kyle says:

    drama fag here… gotta imagine it’s pretty close to the band geek thing…

    god – you and i so the same person in so many ways. ‘course, i’m still painfully shy and awkward aroudn boys. lol

    i over compensate at work tho’

    and – i’ll be in the front row on sunday.

  11. Matt says:

    Band Fag here, too. Not only that, I was a clarinetist.

    I completely hear what you’ve said – no matter what you grow up to be, you always identify with that “trauma”. I never believe it when anyone tells me I’m handsome.

  12. mrpeenee says:

    Wait, were we separated at birth? It sounds so much like it. And then to see in the comments from all the other band fags who’ve never gotten over it, woo hoo! I have a band of brothers!

  13. Java says:

    Oh, yeah. I have a tendency to wonder, when someone compliments me, just what he/she wants.
    No band here, but I hung out with the science nerds. We were definitely more nerdy than geeky. Not sure I could define the difference, but trust me, at my high school there was one. At least I got to wear all natural 100% cotton, not polyester. Maybe it was the polyester that kept me from joining the band???
    Break a leg at the concert.
    As for attractive? I’ve not seen any more of you than your writing. Which I like, but it doesn’t tell me what the outside of you looks like.

  14. RG says:

    Band Fag here too CB. My tenor and baritone sax are still sitting in storage – I haven’t touched them in years – at least you’re doing something with music.

    Oh did I mention I was an AV Geek as well? No pocket-protector though.

  15. dirkmancuso says:

    I was just a geek in general in high school. Fat, bad perm, Woodsy Owl glasses, — picture Napoleon Dynamite on a steady diet of Ho-Ho’s. And the best part was, not only did the jocks torture me, so did the coaches.

    Good luck on the performance — you’re going to be great!

  16. Stephen says:

    I can’t wait to hear how the concert went. I know it was a success.

    And reading your post made me once again wonder if you and I were separated at birth. Same experience. Except I was fat. And I had a mullet (the 80’s + the South = supremely bad hair). And I was a Chorus Fag, not a Band Fag.

    And you’re right. It never leaves you.

  17. Huntington says:

    Another one here, Stephen. Trombone, Sonoma Valley H.S. marching band, 1983-87. Plus, I actually stayed in Boy Scouts the whole time, and got my Eagle more out of sheer inertia than anything. Every feeling you describe I had as well. I did manage to carry on a secret, 2-month dalliance with the new alto sax player from Ohio, but that was certainly the glaring exception rather than the rule. These current reports of kids being out in high school, dating, and doing things like becoming co-Homecoming Kings sometimes feel like dispatches from another planet.

  18. atari_age says:

    This is so late, but I had to comment. I so empathize. While, yes, I was in band for a few years (trumpet – stage, not marching), that wasn’t such a big deal. It was being the overweight kid. And, while I rarely got attacked the way you did, I was treated the same – as something to ridicule. And that, too, sticks with me to this day. The thing is, slowly, I believe theres comes a day when you know and firmly believe that all that was bullshit, and you’re doing great. I feel like I’m close to finding the switch that will let me say “fuck all that noise, I’m hot shit!”. I’m betting you have that switch, too.

  19. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  20. tony says:

    7th and 8th grade went not so good for me i am a band geek on concert days we would half to wear our formal attire kids would make fun of me all the time but i would never get in trouble for knocking kids out in the hallway in front of the principle i have anger problems and kids are just wanting to see me crack
    ive been able to overcome this crap my freshman year of high school im in the pride of mel high marching band my freshman year i played 2nd trumpet i may be sorta on the bigger side im around 194 there 5 kids in my section that are bigger than me i was never made fun of now my sophomore year i couldent be any happier

  21. Just came across your post (a little late, I know!)… As a former Band Fag, you might get a kick out of my debut novel BAND FAGS! It was recently banned by Facebook — due to my using the “F” word in the title. But we Band Fags know it’s all in good fun.

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