As an avid concert-goer, I was pumped when I saw my favorite melodic punk band PUP was playing Higher Ground a month after I started college. I had seen them once before in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, but I was too cowardly to mosh to my heart’s full desire. To be fair, I was 16 and hiding the fact that I was ginger via brown box dye. Not very much self-confidence. However, this was a new opportunity. I was an adult now! And thanks to my friends bailing on me (getting COVID), I was able to go all by myself. There was nothing in my path, and in the wise words of Fraxiom, “I won’t leave the pit until I get a bruise.”
As Toronto’s own The OBGMs came on stage, I knew I was in for a trip. Lead singer Denz had such a command over the crowd that if I didn’t know better, I’d think that everyone was there to see him. We went through the works; I’m talking circle pit, crowd surfing, and even a wall of death. Just for the opener! I was in awe. As the band began to play their final song, Denz jumped off the stage to mosh with the people. As I was being thrashed around by various shapes and sizes of white men, I was tossed into a familiar body—the body of Denz himself.
I knew what to expect—I had been pressed against sweaty bodies for an hour at that point. But his body, HIS sweat, was different. Denz was soaked down through his white shirt in sweat from going absolutely hard all set, leaving a good transfer on my seasoned 10,000 gecs shirt. I was stunned for a second. I watched his lengthy black locs bounce up and down as he continued to mosh his way through the crowd, finishing the set with every ounce of voice he had left. As the crowd roared, a little switch flipped in my head.
The rest of the concert was a blur. The elbows being thrown into my ribcage grew numb as my mind wandered to what Denz was doing at that moment. I kept touching the sweat stain on my flank as reassurance, attempting to ground myself back in reality. C’mon, man! I was seeing one of my favorite bands! Get your head out of the gutter, bemmy!
When I got back to my dorm, I almost hesitated to take my shirt off. I mean, it didn’t JUST have his sweat on it. I had every Burlington-area wannabe punk’s sweat on me to the point where there was no way to distinguish which wet spot was his anymore. I decided to toss my shirt in the laundry basket and shower. Contrary to how I make myself seem in this article, I do enjoy not being covered in excess amounts of strangers’ sweat.
My dreams that night were nothing short of sublime. The scene replayed in my head, except the moment Denz bumped into me, he scooped me into his arms. Our eyes met, and for a moment it felt like the world revolved around us. Probably because it did, mainly because we were in a DREAM. A fantasy, if you will. Yet, that fleeting moment replayed in my head through all seven hours of sleep I managed to get. As my alarm rang, I jolted awake, almost falling off of my lofted bed in the process. Before I could even write down my fantastical dream in my dream journal I had removed the shirt from my laundry basket and placed it on the floor of my closet. Oh boy, was I down bad.
When I returned to eat my lunch later that day, neither of my roommates were in the room. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had been thinking about Denz and the shirt all morning. Opening the door of my wardrobe, I snatched the shirt up and took a big inhale of all its glory. It was rancid. But I didn’t care. It was my only connection to an engaged man living in Toronto who I couldn’t get off my mind. I was obsessed. And I didn’t care.
A week has now passed since the concert ended. Every night, I wear the shirt to bed. My bed smells like sweat. I smell like sweat. My third of the room reeks with the memory of that night. And I couldn’t be happier.
My friends have attempted to hold an intervention. They say I’m “obsessed” and “deranged” for wearing a shirt that smells like week-old BO to bed every night. But I don’t care.
My roommates think I’m housing a dead animal in my desk for next week’s biology lab. They say the room smells like a football locker room. But I don’t care.
Actually, I care a little. Remember how I said I hate being covered in sweat? The stickiness has gotten to be a little much. Now that I’m coming back and revising this article, I realize how unhealthy this obsession has gotten. I’m throwing the shirt in the laundry. I’m THROWING the SHIRT in the LAUNDRY. I promise. But Denz, I’m always out there in case the engagement doesn’t work out. The sweat stain may be cleansed from the shirt I wore when we first met, but the sweat stain you left on my mind will never fade.