Here’s a piece I wrote in December, 1999…

I went to see Billy Joel on Friday night, the first concert I’ve attended in a long time. In all the years I’ve been going to live musical events, this was the first time I sat close enough to notice an interesting phenomenon: The Backstage Pass Beggars. Or, more appropriately, The Concert Cleavage Girls.

This was a group of young women with floor seats who would regularly walk up to one of the crew members near the side of the stage and ask, in their sexiest and breathiest voices, for backstage passes. Many of these women were — how shall I put this? — pneumatically enhanced, wearing blouses that were either very tight-fitting or very low-cut. They knew full well what they were doing.

The crew guy (they’re all male) would eye the women up and down, and then say, “Let me see what I can do.” Then he’d go off to chat with another crew member for a couple of minutes, in much the same manner as a car salesman has to “check with the manager.” Invariably, he’d come back and hand over a couple of passes for the lasses. The guys knew full well what they were doing, too.

After seeing a couple of dozen passes handed out, it occurred to me that this was another great example of The Difference Between Men And Women.

Guys in the audience would never act this way. I don’t mean that no men are Billy Joel fans — I’ve been going to see him for almost a quarter-century — it’s just that we have a completely different way of handling ourselves in these situations than women do.

Picture this: a male fan walks up to the stage crew at a Shania Twain concert with that same look of sexual desire that these women had and asks if he can please go backstage. He’d be busted as a stalker right then and there, right? But the guy knows that, so he never acts that way.

No, a guy is more likely to sit in the audience watching every move Shania makes while inventing his own fantasies without ever acting on them. He’s not screaming his lungs out, no matter how young he is. It’s just not in a guy’s genes to act that way.

Do you know any guy who has swooned publicly over The Go-Gos? The Bangles? The Supremes? The Spice Girls? Women and girls on the other hand, have been screaming at music idols for a couple of generations, from Sinatra to The Beatles to The Bay City Rollers to Ricky Martin. Even pre-teen girls are doing it now for The Backstreet Boys!

There’s a simple explanation: Women are much more open about vocalizing their lust in public.

Ever talk to a woman who has gone to one of those Chippendales shows? She went with friends and they all lost their voices and they know the dancers’ names and what they wore and what songs they danced to and they were loud and proud and ohmigod!!!

Now talk to a guy who has been to a strip…excuse me…gentleman’s club. The story never includes any mention of whooping and shouting. He didn’t get a sore throat (sore other parts, yes, but not throat). Maybe one drunk idiot got noisy, but all the other guys in the club hated him for it. You probably won’t even hear about that, though, since a man is reticent to share any details at all because he has them locked away in his brain for future personal fantasy memory time.

Tomorrow: the truth about The Backstage Experience.