I drunkenly agreed to sing Katy Perry at a lesbian wedding. What now?
May 5, 2013 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Hoo boy. While very, very, very drunk at a wedding reception, my aunt came up to me and said "We're going to sing "I Kissed a Girl" at (cousin's) wedding! You should help!" . I was sitting there trying to figure out when my face had stopped communicating with my brain, so I just said okay. I took a taxi back to the hotel, watched public access TV for a minute until I figured out it wasn't SNL (as I said: drunk), and went to bed. The next morning, however, I remembered that I hate "I Kissed a Girl" because it's about sexually exploiting lesbians as a "game". And also it would be really embarrassing to sing! But mostly the first reason. There's also the issue that afaik, everyone in the singing group is straight (except for me, but I'm not out to my family so it's a moot point).

Now that I am definitely going to offend someone, how do I offend the least? My ideas are:

1)Find some other version of the song that would be cute and more appropriate, like some kind of wedding-friendly parody thing (suggestions exceedingly welcome), or
2)tell other people I was not thinking clearly and don't want to do it, which will result in them doing it anyway and me being a humorless scold. If you have any tips on how to be a polite humorless scold, those would also be appreciated.

(P.S. I think they mean to sing it at the wedding reception, not the wedding itself. )
posted by WhathaveIdonenow? to Human Relations (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wait until someone brings it up; pretend you don't remember anything about that drunken night. Politely decline, feigning bashfulness.
posted by telegraph at 1:06 PM on May 5, 2013 [32 favorites]

Say and do nothing for now; the idea might die on its own or be shot down by the brides. If it was their idea and/or they're totally into it, well, I suppose you could get out of it by saying you're a terrible singer and would prefer to watch- or better yet, record it for YouTube!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:06 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

You may look at it as exploiting lesbians as a game, not everyone agrees with that. My daughter (about ten at the time it came out) thought it was great positive song and that female/lesbian sexuality (not to mention the often ignored bisexuality) was being celebrated at all in the hetronoative pop world.

I don't remember any lines in the song that indicated the other person was an unwilling particpant or that it was done for the benefit of a male gaze.

Don't assume you are going to offend anyone but also don't partipate if you don't want to.
posted by saucysault at 1:08 PM on May 5, 2013

Ask if you could sing the cuter Jill Sobule song of the same title.
posted by liketitanic at 1:09 PM on May 5, 2013 [15 favorites]

Oh! I forgot to mention that it is a surprise and the brides do not know.
posted by WhathaveIdonenow? at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2013

I love this spoof of that song, although the spoof is visual and doesn't involve changed lyrics. If nothing else, it made me enjoy the song more (because I think about that very queer interpretation.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:12 PM on May 5, 2013

If someone brings it up again, you can say something like: some people think that song is fun and cute, but others think it's exploitive; I don't know what Cousin and her bride think about it, so I'd rather not risk offending them on their big day. I have some ideas for other songs we could do, or I can just bow out and let you do your thing.

For the record, I like the Jill Sobule song a lot.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:15 PM on May 5, 2013 [12 favorites]

Agreements made while impaired aren't generally binding, in my opinion (certainly not the "let's do a kind of stupid and goofy-sounding thing!!!" type stuff.) Feigning ignorance is the best way to avoid being a scold, but the "wow, I don't know what I was thinking, but I'm not so sure it's a good idea, especially since we don't know how they feel" thing is acceptable as well.
posted by SMPA at 1:17 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

Came in to mention the Jill Sobule song.

You can also tell the truth: You were really drunk when you agreed to sing but in the cold sober light of day, you aren't comfortable doing it. It sounds like the request was very casually made and it's not likely that saying no is going to cause a Thing.
posted by bunderful at 1:19 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Personally I'd call aunt and say, hey, I was thinking about it and Cindy and Veronika and maybe some of their friends might not think it is so cute to sing I kissed a girl. Some lesbians don't dig that song, some may even find it offensive. Maybe we could sing a love song to show them how much we respect their union?
posted by k8t at 1:34 PM on May 5, 2013 [23 favorites]

I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight

Kissing girls is this weird, sexually deviant thing I do as a straight woman! Don't take it seriously! Hope that my boyfriend doesn't mind! Teehee!

Seriously, that song is the anthem of drunk girls making out at bars for cheering guys, and I don't think you should sing it. If the brides are into it, cool, but most lesbian women I know hate that song.

But if you were as drunk as you say, your friends probably were, too, and won't remember. Or if they do, they'll think, "Do I really want to sing a Katy Perry song at a wedding?" And the answer will probably be, "No."
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:43 PM on May 5, 2013 [9 favorites]

Is it too late to refuse, on the grounds that you "don't remember being asked, and you'd never agree to do that!"
posted by easily confused at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2013

just be honest and tell your aunt you don't want to do it. you can tell her both reasons why.
posted by wildflower at 1:53 PM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Following on ablazingsaddle's comment:

No, I don't even know your name
It doesn't matter,
You're my experimental game
Just human nature,
It's not what,
Good girls do
Not how they should behave

My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

Sorry, it's not empowering. Catchy as shit, but not empowering.

Find a way to convey that lots of lesbians take serious umbrage with this song.
posted by FlamingBore at 2:08 PM on May 5, 2013 [12 favorites]

I agree with wildflower above. Saying that you "don't recall because you were drunk" is not, imho, the adult thing to do. Say what you believe, be polite about it and possibly offer an alternative song if you can.
posted by Podkayne of Pasadena at 2:08 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a lesbian. I would want to know if someone were planning to "surprise" me with this at my wedding so I could SHUT THAT SHIT DOWN. It might be a cute song to nod your head to in the car. It is not appropriate to celebrate two mature, adult women's wedding day, two women who have likely put up with a ton of infantilizing and exoticizing of their relationship already.

Not only would I back out, I would take the risk of being a buzzkill and tell your cousin about this "surprise". Unless you are absolutely sure she would find it funny. I would very much appreciate it if it were me.

(Is your aunt your cousin's mother? Why... just why?!)
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:37 PM on May 5, 2013 [35 favorites]

I was also going to say do the Jill Sobule song, but I just looked up the lyrics and that's pretty darn awkward for a wedding too. The girls in it are cheating on their (serious, in one case) boyfriends with each other.

I think you have two options:

If you don't mind them singing it but don't want to be part of it, "Now that I'm sober and I think about this, I really don't feel comfortable singing in public. I'm sure you'll manage without me."

If you're worried about them offending people, "Hey, so now that I'm not drunk, I remembered that a lot of people actually find this song offensive. And it is pretty icky when you really listen to it. There's no reason to take that risk when there are so many other fun, uncontroversial songs we could do."
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:43 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, it is her mom who suggested the song. She's probably one of those people who doesn't pay attention to lyrics. I'm going to write her now because literally the only part of the song that isn't horrible is the title. I thought we might just be able to change some lyrics to fix it, but it's really the entire song; even the Mad TV parody--which criticizes those parts of the song--is completely offensive.
Either we find a version with completely different lyrics, or we just get a new song. I am no longer worried about being a buzzkill, thanks!
posted by WhathaveIdonenow? at 2:44 PM on May 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

If this were my wedding, and you were to surprise me by singing this song, it would quickly change from a wedding to a wedding-homicide when I strangled you with my bare hands. And I would go down in history as Worst Bridezilla Ever. Anyone who thinks that song is relevant to an actual lesbian relationship needs to have their head examined.

To give cousin's mom the benefit of the doubt, if this isn't active homophobia, what is probably happening is that kind of parental free association that can put together things wildly out of context. Like you know how you wrote a report about dinosaurs when you were in sixth grade, and now even though you're 30 your mom will send you newspaper articles about the latest dinosaur bone discoveries because you'll find them very interesting? It seems like that level of reasoning. Oh, here's a song about kissing girls! Jane likes to kiss girls, because she's marrying one! These two things are clearly awesome together! If this is the scenario, then you have a great chance to keep a blatantly homophobic song from ruining Jane's wedding by shutting this down.
posted by medusa at 2:56 PM on May 5, 2013 [14 favorites]

I have now e-mailed my aunt, telling her honestly that I figured we might be able to change some lyrics to make it not horrible, but then realized the entire song is horrible. I let her know I'd be willing to sing, but not that.
posted by WhathaveIdonenow? at 3:18 PM on May 5, 2013 [15 favorites]

Good for you. Here's hoping she realizes her mistake and agrees that another song would be better!
posted by ocherdraco at 4:18 PM on May 5, 2013

tell her you were drunk and thought she meant, Jill Sobule's I Kissed a Girl
posted by vespabelle at 4:41 PM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would just change "girl" to "squirrel," and you are pretty much good to go.
posted by eyesontheroad at 8:27 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

Glad you have found a graceful way of handling the situation, and well done! That does sound like a fairly nightmarish thing to have happen at your wedding...

I was going to suggest that you could sing Two Nice Girls' The Queer Song instead, mostly because of the last verse: We're gonna take you to queer bars/we're gonna drive you in queer cars/you're gonna meet all of my queer friends/our queer, queer fun it never ends/we're gonna have a happy life/both of us are gonna be the wife but on review, the rest of the song isn't terribly complimentary about the straight people in the family. If folks are determined to sing something, maybe ask the happy couple if they have "a song"?
posted by Athanassiel at 12:13 AM on May 6, 2013

It's about sexually exploiting lesbians as a "game"

Whoa. I learned something.

I let her know I'd be willing to sing, but not that.

Do you like Meatloaf? Because that would be an awesome sing-along wedding song to go with the story about what you were going to sing.

Oh I would sing anything for love
Yes I would sing anything for love
I would sing anything for love
But I won't sing that

posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Aunty Jane, I went and listened to that song, and I just think it's kind of creepy and exploits women. Can we sing Goin' to the Chapel, One Fine Day, Eric´╗┐ Clapton - Wonderful Tonight, Lets´╗┐ get it on - Marvin Gaye, UB40 - Can't help falling in love, Percy Sledge- when a man loves a woman, Joe Cocker - Up where we belong, Dolly/Whitney - I will always love you, Luther Vandross - Always and Forever? Any of which would be much nicer at a wedding.
posted by theora55 at 9:29 AM on May 6, 2013

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