David Berman of the Silver Jews- Grabbing them by the Pussy


Although I wasn’t familiar with his music, I read about David Berman in a UVA alumni magazine & a friend of mine told me that he was famous & living in Nashville, so I thought that was cool and invited him to play a show with me.

He showed up with a little posse and a smoke machine, since- rather than singing- he wanted to recite poetry with smoke blowing behind him. I remember feeling sorry for him, standing on the stage with smoke blowing behind him, as though the need of a smoke machine made him pathetic somehow.

It is usually a bad sign when I feel sorry for someone. Clinton, Weiner, Epstein, Weinstein- most sexual predators trigger pangs of pity in me and I don’t even know why. Crossed wires, probably.

And then of course, feeling pity for a man makes me feel guilty, since I imagine men don’t want to be seen as pitiful, which causes me to twist my mind into a state of deep admiration, just in case they can sense my thoughts. I always feel responsible for boosting men’s self-esteem as though they are little boys and I am their nanny. If they look stupid, I feel pain.

Anyway, after the show he walked up to me where I was sitting on a stool and stuck his hand up my skirt real fast and grabbed me on the flesh at which point animal consciousness took over and I started kicking him. There were at least six people watching, but maybe more.

I don’t remember what happened after that except that one of his posse was trying to calm me down and make sure I didn’t call the cops since, as he said, Berman had a beautiful wife at home and this would break her heart etc etc. Berman too was a troubled man with a heart of gold and they would make sure to straighten him out. He also said what Berman did was really really bad which was useful information for me since on my own I might not have figured it out. After all, my husband was one of the people watching and I don’t recall him saying anything about the incident or being particularly concerned.

(Which, in retrospect, makes sense considering that he got me to marry him by grabbing my crotch as we were zooming down the highway on the way to what I thought was a spiritual retreat. Then he said I needed to marry him because sexual contact outside of marriage was wrong.)

All in all, the Berman incident didn’t loom large in my mind. If it hadn’t been for the posse member talking me into not calling the cops (which I wouldn’t have done anyway, considering that I had a supernatural fear of police plus no concept that forcing hands into privates was a crime) I might not even remember it. It just seemed to blend into the general spirit of the time. I even sent Berman a Christmas card afterwards. How embarrassing.

But for some reason, a few days ago, I was telling my current husband about it, and he wanted to beat Berman up, so I googled him and found that he had hanged himself a couple weeks prior. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it all. My husband said he wouldn’t be surprised if someone had offed him.

And then I was reading the articles about his poetry & music which all seemed to agree that above all, David Berman was a symbol of goodness and decency. Maybe he was, who knows? Goodness & decency have always creeped me out.

*

P.S. Though I always considered this incident to be quite minor, with no impact, in some respect it (along with other incidents) maybe did have the stereotypical impact on me.

I assumed I was basically asking for these things, considering I was wearing a skirt and also a lace camisole on top of my polo shirt. So I reconsidered my clothing choices.

I assumed I was pretty much asking for it by singing songs about mating with rabbits and making love to plants and fathers. So I tried to tone down the sexual content of my songs which (as a Scorpio) just meant writing less in general.

I assumed I was pretty much asking for it by hanging out in slimy bars at night. So, it *possibly* played a role in my decision to stop performing.

I assumed I was pretty much asking for it by interacting with males so much in general, although that couldn’t be helped since they made up the bulk of the music world. For a long time, I tried to avoid interacting with males at all to avoid giving the impression that I was a pervert.

But I don’t know. I am just thinking about this now for the first time. For some reason I never really thought about it until I found out he was dead.

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