This is one of those situations where everything feels so significant that you can’t remember all the details, or the exact order of things; just that it was important.
I think it’s safe to assume I started the conversation when I asked if he was here for Bruce. He said he was, and I asked if he’d seen Born to Pun perform in the café just now. He lit up and mentioned the piano player, which in turn made me deflate a little bit. “I don’t talk to him.” I said, which was unusual for me. This guy holding the cocktail wasn’t the first person to mention the piano player to me during these two nights of shows, but it was the first time I gave an honest reply rather than nodding along.
He immediately asked why, and I continued to be honest. Alcohol can make you honest, but that was mostly gone by this point. I think this man showing me what seemed to be genuine interest and trustworthy energy was what spurred my honesty. I told him I’d had a bad experience with the piano player, bad enough that I didn’t see this band for almost a year, but therapy helped, and now I see them all the time. I left it at that. In a slightly bolder burst of honesty, I told this guy that I think God wants me to see this band, and to be drunk while I do it, and that I’m writing a blog series about all the stuff that happens as a result.
He asked me to send him a link, so I took his number and did. He introduced himself as G-Man. (Not actually, but I’ll give an explanation for why I’ve chosen that name later.) He immediately opened my website, which indicated an eagerness I wouldn’t have expected, then said he’d need to look at it some other time. I told him it’s a hell of a rabbit hole, so don’t sit down and read it unless you’re really in the market for some madness peppered with Springsteen references.
Like most people, he seemed surprised that I was traveling and concerting alone. He asked if I was staying at the casino. I told him I wasn’t, but that I love how the nightstands here have phone chargers built into them. He asked how I know that, if I’m not staying here, and I said I’d been in one of the rooms for work the previous night, before the concert.
This led to the inevitable and highly predictable conversation about snuggling. I don’t remember the details, but I’m sure he asked me all the usual questions. He asked if that’s my only job, and I told him my consistent job these days is working as a taste tester for a large beer company. So then he asked all the taste tester questions. Keeping with predictability, he told me that I’m very interesting. I hear that a lot, and get resentful when I hear it from men, but it was nice to see that he seemed to genuinely mean it. I hadn’t had many substantial conversations in Tampa that weren’t with clients, or with people far Brucier than me, or about Scientology. Not that I’m complaining. That’s the stuff I was there for. But talking to this guy didn’t feel like an introductory conversation.
Then, if memory serves, he circled back and asked what happened with the piano player. As I started to tell the story, much to my own surprise, I teared up a little. And then in this conciliatory tone he said, “Lisa…” He’d only just learned my name and said it as if he knew me. And when I told him what the piano player had said to me, (If you don’t know, you can backtrack to this entry where it’s explained: https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2022/07/17/spirits-in-the-night-pt-5-tony-soprano-and-ponies-and-a-piano-bench/ ) He said, “And you didn’t like that, did you?” And I liked that it was a question. Not an assumption. Not a jump to defend the shit head piano player or wave it away as not a big deal. He wanted to comprehend. I think it says a lot that I felt comfortable enough to cry in front of him, even if it was just a few tears that slipped out by accident.
Please don’t think that I just talked about myself this whole time. I might not recall all these details in perfect order, but I know I was asking him questions, too. I’d established that he was staying there, that he’d only caught the tail end of Born to Pun’s show (what a loss!), and asked him about his drink (guava) and where he’d gotten it (the steak house). At this point, I’d seated myself on top of one of those cement pillars that jut out of the ground in areas like this to keep cars from driving onto the sidewalk. I’d settled into the conversation, forgetting completely that the coked-up guy was waiting to hear from me, calling an Uber being the furthest thing from my mind.
G-Man excused himself because he had a call coming in. I sat there intently while he took it, not walking away or anything. He stayed right there, so I gave him the same attention I’d been giving him while he was talking to me. I won’t go into details, but he said some things during that phone call, with whoever he was talking to, about the Spring Nuts, which made him roll his eyes, and some other stuff. When he was off the call, I asked him about it, and while I won’t say in what way, he explained that he was REAL important to the real Bruce and his band and the tour itself. I’d walked outside and casually started chatting with someone very very important, and to see him standing there holding a girly-ass drink, you never would have guessed it. From this point on, this is the most typical Lisa shit there is.
The conversation continued, and I sadly sit here writing this as I continue to not remember the details or the order. But at some point he said how he had been given a suite at the casino, but he wasn’t using it for anything other than watching TV because he liked sleeping in his other room, and he’d been given some really nice liquor but hadn’t had any of it, and it felt like he should be having a party but all he does with his downtime is watch TV.
So obviously, I told him I was his party. And he asked if I wanted to go hang out in the suite. And of course I did, because sleep be damned, I was with a really kind and interesting person and I was enjoying connecting with him. So he took his guava cocktail and myself inside, and we went upstairs.
It’s hard because I don’t know what to include and what not to include. It all feels very significant to me, but all the minute details are written in my diary and they should probably not be regurgitated here, not that anyone ever reads this series, anyway. G-Man and I hung out for hours. He showed me the view from his balcony, which was strikingly unimpressive. It was all parking lot. You could see a stadium nearby and clueless girl that I am, I asked if that’s where the concert would be the following night. He seemed like a good person to ask, what with his super important job. The concert was going to be in a different arena, downtown. Glad I asked.
He offered me food and he offered me drinks, but he made no effort to get me drunk, which is more than can be said for the last dude I was alone in a hotel room with who wasn’t a client. He turned the TV to the weird hotel channel that’s all music videos, and while we did do some silent watching (which didn’t feel awkward at all, it was truly such a chill vibe with this guy, like we could both be comfortable in mutual silence.) mostly we had what I thought was pretty incredible conversation.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, it’s rare that I get to talk at length with someone who is as interesting as me. I don’t say that because I think I’m the coolest person ever, or anything, it’s just that in a lot of conversations, the other person usually has a load of questions about snuggling, or comedy, or taste testing, or cults, or whatever other shocking Lisa hits are currently spinning, and my explanations tend to take over and snowball before I can uncover the intriguing stuff about the other person.
That wasn’t a problem here. It seemed like there was a pretty even back and forth of asking questions and volunteering information. I was impressed by what he did with both. He shared a lot of what I think is probably his usual highlight reel, including all the celebrities he’s worked with. And that was definitely fascinating and I loved asking and hearing about it. But the stories he chose to volunteer were surprising. He volunteered the details of a dream he had about Dick Van Dyke. It was weird, but really endearing. The sort of thing you only share if you’re being really open with someone.
And he of course showed me lots of pictures of Brucey stuff, of places they’ve gone together. A highlight was hearing about how he was there when the band did the Super Bowl. I remember watching it in my living room when I was only twenty, but it’s a performance I’ve re-watched several times since I started writing these entries, (and actually, watched the night before I left for Tampa) because I love what he says to the audience about how it’s time to put down the guacamole and get up and dance. And you really believe Bruce as he’s saying it, the same way you believe him when he’s singing about Santa Claus coming to town. I sometimes refer to the experiences I’ve had at all these concerts as righteous and mighty, because when I heard him say it in the video of the Super Bowl performance, it really resonated with what I’ve been experiencing. (The first time I mention this is in the first entry in this series, which also has a link to the Super Bowl video: https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2022/06/11/spirits-in-the-night/ )
He talked about how wacky the Spring Nuts are, which was pretty amusing. How they quit their jobs whenever there’s a tour and “follow us” around. I thought it was cute that he included himself with the musicians in his use of “us,” and I love a good quirky people-group. I told him about cults and other groups that I’ve visited. In particular, I told him about the Mummers. I haven’t blogged about it and probably never will, but I fucked a Mummer earlier this year, so G-Man started calling me “mummerfucker.” Love that for me.
We talked about lots of random shit. His family, his divorce, his favorite vacation spots. I probably showed him a photo of my Fallopian tubes, because the novelty of that hasn’t worn off yet. We talked about food and sex and how publishing houses want him to write a memoir but he doesn’t think he’ll be able to remember all the good stories. I told him I was jealous, because I DO write and DO remember my ridiculous stories and have in fact already written most of them down, but no agent can be bothered with my book. He asked to hear about one of the men from my book, so I told him about this guy: https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2021/06/22/whos-your-daddy/ and I think also this guy: https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2020/08/19/paging-dr-creep/ and probably others, but I honestly don’t remember.
I told him how while Bruce’s music is definitely consuming a lot of my energy these days, but the rocker who resides at the center of my heart is still Mick Jagger. I told him about my license plate, and how I came to own one of Mick’s undershirts, which I wear for snuggle appointments whenever I can.
I definitely told G-Man the serendipitous stuff about the guys with the matching wolf pack tattoos. https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/2431/ and I’m sure I talked about all my eery Pink Cadillac stuff. https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2022/06/11/spirits-in-the-night/ At some point it came up that I was still struggling to get over Killer Joe. Probably because I’d explained that I’d hoped Scooter would join me tonight, but he couldn’t make it. G-Man asked how long it had been since Killer Joe left, and when I said it had been nearly a year, he kinda berated me a bit. He urged me to be over it in a way that was not sensitive, but I appreciated his vote of confidence. He listened as I explained why it was a larger loss than normal because it was a secure attachment, and it’s harder to lose one of those than it is to get over a dozen assholes.
He asked me my favorite Bruce song. I told him I’m too enthusiastic for favorites of most things in life, but that lately my answer for that would be For You. I told him with pride how Born to Pun always plays it for me and how much that means to me. I carried on about my fondness for Mozart quite a bit, I’m sure. This was exactly the sort of conversation I would love to have with Mozart someday, but I doubt that will ever happen.
It was such a luxury to be able to talk to someone Brucey enough to know what song I’m talking about. He said a lot of times when people ask Bruce for the meaning or story behind a song, he gives an answer that’s completely different than what they were expecting. I guess I’d be interested to hear Bruce explain the origins of his songs to me. I’d be an idiot not to. But I’m much more interested in how they make me feel, and what they mean to me in my heart.
I asked G-Man his favorite, and he said Night. He seemed surprised that I knew which song he meant. I sang a few words to prove it: She’s so pretty but you’re lost in the stars, as you jockey your way through the cars that sit at the liiiiiight. Pretty ballsy move on my part, what with my lack of singing ability, but I didn’t feel like I needed to keep anything hidden from G-Man. He said that was the first time he’d ever heard a girl sing those words. Now whenever Night comes up on my playlist, I think of G-Man.
I don’t remember what song we were discussing, but he said how Bruce had removed said song from the playlist. I realized he was talking about the playlist, for the concert I’d be seeing the following night, and I told him not to ruin it for me. I was better off not crossing that bridge until I got there. Still, how fucking strange that on the eve of my very first Bruce concert I’d be hanging out with a guy who’s privy to coveted information like the set list. Pretty wild.
I was wildly unworthy to be in this situation. I’m sure that literally any Spring Nut would have been more appreciative and more qualified for the Brucey insider nature of the time I was spending with G-Man. I told him how I suspected that even after I partook of the real deal the following night, I’d probably still prefer the imitation. The members of Born to Pun know me and, with the exception of the piano player, are happy to see me. They want to talk to me, and ask what I want to hear, and Mozart always seems to come through for me. I don’t have that rapport with the real people. I said how I had a basic knowledge of who Clarence was, and knew Stevie Van Zandt from The Sopranos, and remembered thinking that the drummer guy seemed like he had a gentle energy to him in a video I saw at that exhibit with Killer Joe. https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2022/07/17/3029/ But other than those tiny tidbits, I wouldn’t know anyone from the E Street Band if I tripped over them.
I don’t remember what order any of these things were discussed. But I do remember noticing, very early into the several hours that I spent talking with G-Man in his suite, that I felt tangibly less sad about Killer Joe. And not because he said the pushy thing about getting over it. I could just feel that I had less pain about it. What Killer Joe did was objectively wrong and will never be okay in principle, so it will always bother me in that regard…but the pain felt less heavy. Like a big chunk of it broke off.
And maybe that pain leaving in such a smooth and decisive way was what prepared for me when, several hours in, G-Man finally made a move. It had been in the back corners of my mind that that might happen when he invited me up, back when I was still slightly buzzed. But it had been several hours and the situation was so comfortable and the conversation so sustained; I guess it slipped my mind that usually, when a guy invites me up to his suite, it’s ‘cause he thinks I’m purdy.
I won’t go into details because they honestly don’t feel significant in the grand scheme of everything I’m already sharing about the encounter. But we were somewhat intimate. With that chunk of pain broken off, I felt attracted and comfortable in a way that I haven’t since Killer Joe left. Not all the way better, but certainly MUCH more horny and full of desire than I’ve been the handful of times I’ve mustered the chutzpah to be intimate with someone since Joe left.
I told G-Man I didn’t want to do much that night, but that I’d certainly be down to clown the following night. I figured there was no need to rush. I enjoyed connecting with this guy enough to want to maybe hang out again, and I’d rather sex be something that ensures a second meeting by withholding it, than guarantees there won’t be a second meeting by relinquishing it. Besides, I need another once-off sexual encounter with someone who won’t follow up with me about the experience afterward like I need a hole in my head, and I wasn’t ready or willing to risk finding out if G-Man would do that to me. I didn’t want to fuck up something that was already pretty great with an activity that has a track record for fucking me up.
So we only messed around a little bit. And it left me wanting more. Having agreed that we’d have a proper romp and take our time with it the following night after the concert, G-man walked me to the elevator and I was in my own bed around 5 am. Being stupidly tired through all my appointments the next day was worth it.
Let me tell you why I named this dude G-Man. I wanted a name from the song Spirit in the Night, because this felt like a very full-circle moment. ‘Long came Wild Billy and his friend G-Man all duded up for Saturday night.
G-Man is a good choice not only because he felt relevant to my G-Spot (during what precious little free time I had the next day, I had the most incredible time with my vibrator, solely because G-man had given me something realistic to think about for the first time in forever. SO healing.) but also because in the song, he is only mentioned by name once. Despite being unprecedentedly horny and excited all day leading up to the concert , and even texting during the concert…it’s no surprise that I didn’t see G-Man again that night. As Real Bruce’s concert cleared out, (I have a great story to share from the concert, something serendipitous and eery, but it’s not relevant to G-Man so we’ll need to stick a pin in it for now.) he texted to say that he had to fly to another city with a certain someone who shall remain nameless, but who I now refer to in my mind solely as “cock block.” G-Man is the perfect name for this character.
Whether what G-Man said is true or not, I don’t know. He said he’d see me when they’re in town for the concert in Philly. I don’t know if that’s true or not either, but considering I haven’t heard from him, I doubt it. If there’s anything I’ve learned the hard way in life, it’s that you can’t expect celebrities or anyone celebrity-adjacent to come hang out in bed with you a second time. Not only because of the nature of their lifestyle, but because of the power-dynamic. And nobody is better at fucking up their well-being with wildly extreme power dynamics and unhealthy sexy time with famous people than yours truly. (Thanks, therapy!) But I’d love to be wrong. Even if we never got around to boning, I’d love to see G-man again and hang out some more, and maybe be his friend. I wanna hear more stories from the book he’ll never write.
To be fair, I haven’t reached out to him, either. Not for lack of interest, but because I knew I needed to process the experience first. Get my head screwed on and write about it here before doing anything that might change the variables in the equation. I would’ve loved to have been done with this weeks ago so I could reach out to him, but I’ve been just a BIT busy with the truly ridiculous amount of nonstop traveling and profound experiences I’ve been having, and I’ve hit a brick wall of mental exhaustion. So here I am, trying to do justice to my beautiful encounter with G-Man in an effort to wrap my mind around it well enough to be able to talk to him.
I know I say it all the time, but the first important thing I learned in therapy is that the value needs to be in what I say to someone because that’s what I can control, not in what they do or don’t say, because that’s not up to me. So I’m processing all of this so I can decide what would be the most validating and loving and most true things to say to G-Man once I’ve got my thoughts sorted out.
I’ve talked about how when I go to these Springsteen tributes, there always seems to be some sort of major action that bookends each concert. I listed a bunch of them in this entry: https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2023/02/04/spirits-in-the-night-pt-11-spirits-in-the-cookie/ This trip to Tampa was my first time seeing Born to Pun two nights in a row. Obviously, the inciting incident/big development/turning point/whatever you wanna call it that can be credited toward the first night’s show would be the aha! realization that I could be there at all…the buying the ticket, the aptly named savings account, all that. https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2023/02/05/spirits-in-the-night-pt-13-honey-it-aint-your-money/ As for the second night’s show, the pivotal thing revealed itself just after the show. Not unlike meeting Scooter, ( https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2022/06/11/spirits-in-the-night/ ) or what happened with the wrestler, ( https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2023/02/05/spirits-in-the-night-pt-11-the-wrestler/ ) or the drunk dials that led to all those healing apologies. ( https://lisavanarsdale.wordpress.com/2022/07/17/spirits-in-the-night-pt-4-a-drunken-jubilant-ray-of-light/ ) The thing this time, the this-is-why-you-were-here thing… was meeting G-Man. And the spirits made sure that no possible distraction, no uber, no silly losers from the casino, not even sweet Scooter who I SO would have loved to see, could get in the way of it.
But back to the bookend thing…
It was such a perfect bookend in so many ways. To have such a lovely time with a person who is in such close proximity to the real Bruce the night before (or more accurately, morning of) I graduated from tribute concerts to seeing the real deal was such a predictably Lisa thing to have happen that even as I struggle to process it, I know better than to have the audacity to be shocked by it. That spending time with G-Man seemed to have this healing effect concerning Killer Joe was very spot on. That it also made me incurably horny for DAYS after was very… G-spot on. Ayyyy. Also, during the brief period where we were messing around I was brave enough and comfortable enough with him to speak up about the ways I do and don’t like to be touched. Most men aren’t interested in hearing that, but he paid attention and changed what needed changing every time without making me feel bad about myself. Refreshing stuff. Felt like I’d leveled-up.
And in hindsight, it seemed like a final exam as far as my whole “stop-making-strange-choices- in-bed-with-famous-people-if-you-ever- want-to -be-healthy-or-at-LEAST- stop-relying-on-them-and-relinquishing-your-tiny-bit-of-power” thing that I’ve been struggling with for nearly eight years.
Sure, I’ve been stressed about getting this all processed and written so I can reach out to him feeling prepared and full of integrity, and that’s not been a walk in the park. But that’s just me trying to be responsible with what I’ve been given to work with and learn from, trying to keep up with life. It’s not anything to do with the dude. It’s very different than the way the communication-with-whatever-famous-person-I’m-currently-having-shenanigans-with-thing has completely consumed me to the point of despair most of the previous times. In regards to that, I think I passed with an A+ and deserve a gold sticker, and my therapist agrees.
Over all, my time with G-Man felt like a very fair if not downright bountiful return on the leap of faith that was heeding the spirit and going to Tampa at the last minute. I left the Real Bruce concert with my suspicions confirmed: I prefer tribute concerts and Mozart to the Real Bruce and his band and that will not be changing any time soon. But even if it had changed, and the spirit left, I couldn’t be mad. This was pretty much the ultimate bookend. Whether I ever hear from G-man again or not, I am filled with gratitude.
One more fun tidbit from our hours of conversation: Somewhere after messing around a bit on the couch, but before migrating to the otherwise completely untouched bed, I did this terrible thing I do during intimate moments where I ask the guy a cringey question. Because I think it’s funny. I said to G-Man, “So. What do you like best about me?” Expecting him to say something like, “You’ve got great legs, kid.” Or “Your wet pussy.” But do you know what he said in response?
PS I could have very easily broken this into three less atrociously long pieces. But in case I decide to share it with G-Man, I’m leaving it in one piece so he doesn’t have to click around a whole bunch should he be curious enough to read it.