Our finest parenting moment of the year was captured in a single selfie, snapped in haste midday near the bathroom at a country-western bar in Greensboro.
To set the scene, I’ll take you back a couple hours earlier, when my wife and I brought our 12-year-old daughter and her friends to see her first rock show, the Somewhere Before Christmas tour, a teenybopper slate of YouTubers and pretty boys with a following comprised almost exclusively of middle-school girls.
She had us ditched before we even turned off the car, inserting herself into a long line of her cohort queued outside the steel hangar that is Arizona Pete’s, all of them exhibiting their alternativeness with identical black jeans, Chuck Taylor high-tops and cheap chokers of plastic filigree.
The meet-and-greet promised an intimate acoustic set by Johnnie Gilbert and headliner Say We Can Fly, but my daughter and her friends came to see a somber 24-year-old in a rock-and-roll headdress named Richie Geise, known to his screeching fans as Social Repose.
I’ve picked up quite a bit about him on our drives to school in the morning: how he’s really shy, that he actually shaved his head in the YouTube video for “Island of Yours,” which has 2.8 million views and rolling, and that some people think his headdress is offensive, which it isn’t, or that it’s cultural appropriation, which it is.
Oh how they screamed when he coyly crossed the stage during Gilbert’s intimate acoustic set and then disappeared backstage — he’s really shy, you know — and they wedged themselves against the front of the stage before the performance began, my 12-year-old daughter front and center, just like her mother used to do.
We were relegated to the decidedly un-cool reaches of the upper deck, with the merch tables, the bar, the sleeping mechanical bull and the other parents, staring into their cell phones or drinking or catching snoozes on the banquette.
It was up there in the loser section that my wife showed me the selfie, captured in relative privacy after a trip to the ladies room: A shot of her and Social Repose, all made up and be-headdressed and giving a shy little smile. He’s really shy, you know.
But the kid put on the set of the night, a blast of electronica and lights and ukulele that I swear I would sit through again.
Just before he went on, my wife texted the selfie to our daughter up at the front. She replied almost immediately.