Somehow, our conversation maneuvered to the sad state of my love life. I’m fairly sure Trevor had guided us there, if for no other reason than to give me shit about how pathetic it was.
I sighed and pushed my food away, almost untouched. “If five years ago, anyone had said, ‘Hey, Dec. How would you like it if every woman you met wanted to sleep with you, just so she could tell her friends she’d banged the lead singer of a band?’ My response would’ve been: ‘Did you say something after ‘every woman I met wanted to sleep with me?’ And I wouldn’t have cared what the answer was. Now, knowing women are using me is just depressing.”
“Fuck that,” Trevor said. “I swear to the gods of music, if a woman wants to use me for sex, you sure as hell won’t hear me complaining about it.”
“That’s the difference between you and Declan,” Pete said, already smiling. “You said, ‘if a woman wants to use you.’ And that’s a pretty good-sized ‘if’.”
Everyone other than Trevor laughed. It made sense—he couldn’t see his own expression.
“Shit,” Pete continued. “No shame in it—none of us sees the amount of action Declan could.”
“If he weren’t such a pussy, you mean.”
“Hey!” I said it loud enough to know that they’d all heard me. So they were just pretending not to.
There was no way to explain it so they’d understand. Or not think I was insane. I’d guess that would be the natural reaction to a guy talking about how he feels like he’s two separate people—the one he’s always been and the one everyone expects him to be. It’s even sadder when the guy realizes that almost everyone he meets nowadays likes the fake him more than the real one.
Trevor would’ve gone cross-eyed if I told him that, until that night with Sara, sex just wasn’t as good as it had been before anyone knew who we were.
It was a conclusion I didn’t come to without a lot of rigorous testing, by the way. My folks didn’t raise a quitter.
But it became a little unpleasant when every time I fucked someone, I couldn’t get over the idea that it wasn’t really me who was getting laid. It was the guy I played onstage.
We might have looked the same, but every day he seemed more and more foreign to me. We didn’t wear the same clothes, use the same words, share the same values. I felt more like an actor now than a musician. Slipping into a role as I slipped into a costume that had been picked out and prepped by someone who’d barely ever spoken to me.
That was what made my one night with Sara stick with me. Not only was it physically amazing, Sara hadn’t met Declan Hollis, the lead singer of Self Defense who someone else had designed. She’d met Declan Hollis, the man who just wanted to be normal, get a house somewhere quiet where my dog didn’t have to run on concrete and shit on a four-by-four square of fake grass.
And she’d liked that Declan. She’d reminded me that he was enough, that he was attractive and could make someone laugh.
“Wait a sec. Does that shit really bother you?” Trevor asked. “Seriously? Fuck, that’s the only reason I’m here. If women didn’t want to use me to say they’d fucked a rockstar, I’d be sitting in front of a bonfire on the beach somewhere, drinking beer and playing somebody else’s tunes.”
“First of all, you’re not a rockstar.”
“Not yet. And luckily, these girls don’t think that far ahead.”
I grumbled but couldn’t disagree. “Secondly, you’d be playing someone else’s tunes? What the fuck is wrong with our tunes?”
He laughed. “Don’t worry, bro. The writing is flawless. It’s just not really my style.”
Again, I couldn’t disagree, at least with the second part. It wasn’t my style either. I’d stopped writing and doing what I wanted to a while ago.