The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts

Concerts: a fun way to enjoy music, a chance to spend time with your friends, and if you're sort of a loser like me, the worst possible thing ever that a person could do.

First, you pay a buttload of money, setting yourself up to feel guilty if you don't have an amaaaazing time. Then you get there and it's crowded and too loud and you don't know any of the songs the band is playing because they're all from their new album that hasn't been released yet. The songs you do know, you're sick of, since you don't know very much music because you don't have the money to spend on iTunes and you're afraid of going to jail for downloading music illegally and you can't figure out how to sync your Spotify account properly to your phone when it's offline and the whole thing is a nightmare so you just listen to podcasts. And worst of all, everyone there can tell that you're the weirdo who doesn't know how to have fun at concerts.

Because you don't. What blows everyone's minds about live music anyway? Yeah, it was cool in the olden days before we had the technological capability to record sound. But now we do, so why do we insist on repeating this unpleasant and antiquated ritual? Oh, you like to "share the experience" with other people? Cool, invite a friend over and click one button to listen to any music ever instantly.

Even though I am obviously right, your friends will most likely still insist on inviting you to concerts this summer, and you will go and have a mediocre-to-awful time. But just because you're not having fun doesn't mean you have to LOOK like you're not having fun. This helpful guide will teach you to blend seamlessly into the crowd and possibly even make your concert experience slightly less agonizing. (No guarantees on that second part.)



WHAT TO BRING

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
You will be tempted to try and "pack light," with just a $20 bill, your phone and your keys in your pocket. Resist this urge. You're going to want to pack for every possible eventuality, which means lots of layers and probably a large shoulder bag. Bring a book. Bring two books. Bring a DVD of Season 2 of Ally McBeal. Bring a heart-healthy snack. Bring the materials for the patchwork quilt you thought about maybe making your mom for the holidays this year. You never know how bored you'll get until the third hour of opening DJs when there's still no sign of the headliner going up anytime soon.



WHAT TO DRINK

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
You don't really want to spend 14 dollars on a tiny cup of shitty beer, do you? No. You don't. The solution: just pick up a discarded beer cup off the ground! Now you look like a big spender who's already thrown one back, AND you're helping the environment. Plus you have something to do with your hands instead of holding them awkwardly at your sides like a soldier receiving his marching orders.



WHAT TO DO

The obvious worst part about concerts is that once you get there, there's nothing to do but stand around in a crowd of people feeling like an idiotic member of a herd of cattle. You have very few activity options. It's too loud for conversation, and you're too debilitatingly self-conscious for dancing. Also, no one wants to dance with you, so what are you gonna do, be one of those weird girls who closes her eyes and puts her hands up and sways by herself like she's "really feeling the music"? God no.

Instead, simply choose one of these concert mini-games and enjoy minutes of un-embarrassing entertainment:

1. The Excuse Me Game

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
First, act like you're pushing through the crowd to get to your friends. Then when you get to the edge of the crowd, turn around and repeat step 1. Many's the concert I've spent weaving my way back and forth through the crowd holding a probably-diseased plastic cup and waving at no one. It's a great way to eat up time until you can go home and watch things on your computer screen like a civilized person.

2. The Twitter Game

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
Check Twitter while holding your phone up like you're taking a picture or video of the band. Then, continue reading Twitter.

3. The Tickling Strangers Game

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
Tickle the ankles of a girl sitting on her male friend's shoulders. She won't feel it right away, because she's drunk. See how hard you can poke her on the foot and still run away before she notices you. (For a fun variation on this game, put your face up real close to a couple making out. See how close you can get before they stop kissing and ask you what your problem is.)

4. The Screaming Nonsense Game

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
You know the point in the concert when everyone around you is lost in the melody and singing along at the top of their lungs, and you're standing there like a dummy because you don't know the lyrics? Here's the thing about that: it's so loud that no one will be able to tell if you sing the wrong words. So go ahead. In fact, yell whatever nonsense you want. Made-up words, mean judgments about the people standing in front of you, repressed childhood memories, whatever. This game has the potential added bonus of being extremely therapeutic.



WHO TO AVOID

Here's another undeniable fact about concerts: everyone there is a monster. Don't get me wrong, if you were to meet them one-on-one to enjoy a cold beer and some recorded music played at a reasonable volume, you could probably have a lovely conversation with any one of them. After all, they're just people. Until they enter the dehumanizing breeding ground for despair that is a concert venue. Then they become the worst.

Of course, some people are more the worst than others. Avoid the following groups to limit the amount you feel ashamed of your generation and alienated from humanity as a whole:

1. Everyone you came to the concert with

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
They're your friends and you like them most of the time, so you should hang out with them at concerts, right? WRONG. Your "friends" will only disappoint you by having more fun than you and thereby making you jealously hate them. They'll also probably inadvertently close you out of a dance circle at some point, which your shaky self-esteem cannot handle without a major meltdown. Tonight, you ride alone.

2. Anyone who looks like an American Eagle married an Urban Outfitters and consummated the marriage in their closet

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
You know, anyone wearing multiple plaid and floral patterns, colorful tights, large plastic earrings, strategically distressed leggings, or anything with a female face silkscreened on it. Steer clear. You don't need that kind of drama in your life.

3. Guys doing that thing where they hug their girlfriend from behind

The Losers Guide to Looking Like Youre Having Fun at Concerts
No one knows quite why, but this is indisputably the creepiest thing in the world.

Phew. You made it to the end of this guide, and hopefully the end of the concert, with no one the wiser about how much of a dork you are. And next time one of your friends suggests a concert, remember: you can always propose going to the movies instead. There'll be plenty to be anxious about there too.

Photographers: Faraways, Christian Bertrand, Aija Lehtonen, Dziurek. All via Shutterstock.com.