by: Jonah Lefholtz
We’re on a first-name basis, at this point in my life. I hope that’s okay with you; I wouldn’t want to offend.
The first time we met (or “met”), it was 1996; I was a 15 year old dyke, and my friend Keely, whom I knew from the internet, sent me a mixtape that contained a track from Sleater-Kinney’s self-titled record, the one that was released in 1995. Immediately upon hearing your voice, I knew we had something in common and that we would be friends forever. I grew up as a young queer with you and your bandmates. Of course, Corin and Janet are cool, too, but we have something special, you and me.
I made t-shirts with a black sharpie that said “Sleater-Kinney” on them. I became obsessed with riot grrrl. I actually carried around the fake ID card that came with the Third Sex’s “Card Carrying” album. You changed my life and gave me a voice. In my early twenties, my roommate and I had a picture of you that we cut out of a magazine on our wall. I really looked up to you.
One time, in 1998 or ’99, I made eye-contact with you at a show at Sokol Underground in Omaha, NE. You walked passed me and coolly (so coolly) looked me in the eye outside the venue. I’m sure I turned bright red, as I am wont to do. I had a “Chelsea” haircut and I was probably sporting very large jeans –trying to cover up what puberty did to me. I was 18. When you guys started playing, you said something along the lines of “Hello, Omaha” or whatever. I yelled from the crowd that Omaha sucked, and you said into the mic, “That’s not hometown pride!” I’ve always felt bad about that. Omaha doesn’t suck, but I was 18 and living with my oppressive family and already jaded. And a teenager, God, I am glad I never have to do that again.
Now, you’re on Portlandia, and I’m 31, less jaded, and I’ve been a guy for almost a decade now. You’re expression of hometown pride for Portland makes me want to move there. I probably won’t, so don’t worry about me stalking you or anything. I promise I’m not actually a creep. I just want to say thanks for continuing to be awesome. Thanks for keeping the spark alive in our friendship.
Jonah M. Lefholtz
Jonah M. Lefholtz is a student and care-taker in Chicago, IL. He recently came out as a femme male and his life is better for it! He likes spending time with his family and friends, has two cats, and appreciates complexity.