The Night I Sang Dinah Moe Humm to a Crowd of Angry Lesbians

It was September 1999. I was into my second year of graduate school at UMass Amherst. My to-be wife and I had just moved to a new neighborhood nearer to town. My movie star-looking, bass-playing school-mate Jan Z was over for dinner. My wife’s gay co-worker Lenny from the frame shop she worked at was also over. We had fun making pizza from scratch, drinking wine and getting ready for a trek across the Connecticut River to Gayest Northampton for some Karaoke at the VFW hall.When we got there it was mobbed. You see, Noho is – outside of Berkeley, CA – the #1 lesbian capital of North America. Its only natural that girls and their hag fags congregate at a bar to pretend at being Cher, Melissa Etheridge etc.

My wife sang a Carole King song tentatively. Lenny sang one of those wordless Cocteau Twins songs enthusiastically. Jan sang something in Italian I think.

I managed to spot the one Frank Zappa tune in the long karaoke database. To my delight, it was the one with the most sexually depraved and misogynist lyrics of his entire oeuvre – Dinah Moe Humm.

Not only was I going to amaze the crowd with my faithful recreation of Frank’s fast, intricate, sing-songy rap performance. I was also going to absolutely horrify the lesbian audience with Frank’s tale of female domination and phallic conquest. Or so I thought…

Dinah Moe Hum is a story about a woman – probably a mannish, lesbian woman – who dares a greasy, macho dude (Frank’s alter-ego) to induce an orgasm in her.

Couldn’t say where she was comin’ from,
But I just met a lady named Dinah-Moe Hum
She strolled on over, said “Look here, bum – I got a forty dollar bill says
You can’t make me come

Frank “pokes and strokes” but fails to elicit the “Humm” required to win the bet. But the revenge comes when, after Dinah’s sister notices Frank’s manual skill and invites him to “lay with him”, Dinah finally reacts to the scene between these two. Its left unclear in the end whether Dinah climaxes because of a momentary lapse into hetero feelings toward Frank (horror to a true lesbian), or is turned on by the sight of her sister in ecstasy (secret sick fantasy of nearly every man).

Anyway – I performed the whole thing flawlessly, sound effects and all. Jan writhed around like a gogo dancer. It was awesome.

But, when I finished none of the groans or jeers came as I had expected and hoped. Apparently, the lesbo gals had a sense of humor and above all appreciated an earnest performance, whatever the subject matter. There would apparently be no desperate escape out the back as the throngs of angry lesbians ran to lynch us. No amusing story to retell of barely escaping death. But…good memory anyway.