I Heart KTV

by Sam Gaskin

Four out of five people become total dicks when they enter a KTV room. They queue up long lists of songs that no one else knows and sing in languages that no one else can understand. They skip over their best friends’ tracks and hide microphones in their handbags. Later, drinks are thrown, punches are caught, and less resilient friendships are dropped.

As loathsome as it is, when the people you’re with are wasted, it’s inevitable that someone will get all worked up about singing played out songs that are themselves drunk on reverb. Once the idea has been seeded, you have no choice but to run with it to avoid the Inception army of angry coercions to join.

Fortunately, once you’ve found a room, the most aggressive members of your group will be so engaged in the power struggles of console operation that they won’t notice when you slip out of the room. Of course, you can’t just go home. Slinking away without saying goodbye would only postpone and intensify your friends’ indignation.

Instead, walk the hallways, walk and look and walk until you find a room where no one is facing the TV, where no one is holding a microphone, where no one is singing. Find the room where people have created their own baby Babyface, music videos playing at random, and they’re dancing without looking at who’s looking at them because they’re surrounded by friends. Throw a smile in through the porthole window and when someone smiles back dance your way inside.

You don’t need to say anything. You don’t need to explain why you’re there. These are your people. From rooms all over Partyworld, they found their way here, and your discovery is just as miraculous to them as their own had been, an hour or a week or a year earlier.

Their ankles wave you in and they write hellos with their hips. The dance shrugs of sympathetic shoulders tell you how they wish they could’ve brought you here themselves, that they know how long you’ve waited, but that you had to want it so, so bad that you’d find it on your own, and you did.

When you’re dancing, everyone will want to make out with you. They’ll offer you drinks and snacks that you didn’t even know you could order at KTV. And a couple of hours later, when your old friends call you up because they’re fucked off and ready to go and need help picking pieces of glass out of their faces, the KTV mutes you’ve just met will slap your arse and pinch your cheeks and rough your hair with their empty hands, which, like yours, will never pick up a microphone ever, ever again.