On “She Has a Girlfriend Now” by Reel Big Fish by Alyssa Nunez
When I was five years old I learned of the ska band Reel Big Fish from my father. When I was eight years old I learned of the literary tactic known as “foreshadowing” from my elementary school teacher, Mrs. Cho. Recently, I have come to learn that sometimes life’s surprises are truly pre-destined, and my first favorite song is a huge reflection of that fact.
The year was 1999. I was five, my older sister, Jessica, was seven, and my parents were somewhere in their mid-twenties. Against their best judgment, my mom and dad took Jessica and I to a ska festival in Long Beach. With my legs wrapped around my dad’s neck, his hands wrapped around my chubby ankles, and a fresh layer of sunblock applied to my sweaty cheeks, my bald head bobbed in the wind as my small, girlish voice tried to sing along to the music. A few songs passed, and then something more monumental than experiencing a ska show at five happened: I heard the lyrics.
“She has a girlfriend now – she said, guys don’t do no more for me.” It was like time stopped. (Or all the pot being smoked around me finally started to hit) The panic signals went to my brain as fast as they could when I realized the guy on stage was singing about girls with girls! I looked around. Why was no one else freaking out about this prospect? Why had no one told me girls liking girls was a thing? Why did these words stand out to me when I planned on marrying Brian Espinoza when I grew up? The lyric, and what it meant, was all too much for my little brain to handle, especially when I was supposed to be rocking out. “She’s Got a Girlfriend Now” remained my favorite song for many years, despite the fact that every listen left me feeling a little confused. Eighteen years later, I am no longer a chubby underage kid at a punk show but a happy early twenties bi sexual in a gay little relationship. I couldn’t have told you at the time – but my first song obsession did help me start to question my own sexuality. Two decades later I’m still happy I heard the lyric by chance.
About the Author:
Alyssa Nunez is a political junkie and woman warrior on the internet.