I’m declaring war on the band HAIM.
HAIM, a musical trio of sisters, are known for their casual rock/pop sound and similarity to Fleetwood Mac. I used to love them. A part of me still does. But I’m killing that part of myself. Because I know what needs to be done.
On July 31st, 2019, HAIM released their new single, “Summer Girl”. The song was an instant hit, with soothing saxophone vibes throughout and lyrics that speak of hope and inspiration.
They released a music video for the song in which the three sisters walk through various neighborhoods of Los Angeles wearing multiple layers of clothing that, one by one, they proceed to remove. My friend Victoria sent me the video and I loved it. We were hooked. We were summer girls.
As part of the song’s promotion, HAIM launched their #summergirlchallenge on August 8th, 2019. I was at work at the coffee shop when Victoria showed me the band’s Instagram post in which they challenged fans to create a short video of their own, in the style of “Summer Girl”. The winner of the challenge would receive a “Summer Girl” t-shirt and box of merchandise.
The rules were breathtakingly simple:
- Put on “Summer Girl”.
- Put on layers.
- Record yourself taking them off.
- Post the video on Instagram with the hashtag #summergirlchallenge.
Sounds innocent enough, right?
I had no idea of the chaos this was going to usher into my life, nor of the bitter tears of disillusionment that awaited me at the end of this dark tunnel of despair.
Naive nymph that I was, I asked Victoria to immediately retrieve the clothes from the Lost and Found, which I wasted no time adorning myself in. We put on the song “Summer Girl” and she filmed me making a cappuccino while I successively discarded the layers.
It took several tries to get it right – partly, because we kept getting interrupted by customers rudely wanting us to make them drinks. But after a couple of false starts, we got the perfect video. I posted it to Instagram a mere two hours (TWO HOURS) after they had launched the challenge, and we waited to see what would happen.
The next day, I was overjoyed to discover HAIM had reposted *my* video to their InstaStory! In fact, they had mistakenly posted it twice! Surely I would be named the winner now.
Surely this wouldn’t all be for naught…
Days went by.
Would they even choose the winner? When? Would I get that box of merch that was rightfully mine, or would I be inhumanly denied it in a cruel twist of fate?
Eventually they posted an update to the #summergirlchallenge. The winner would be announced on September 1st. Perfect! All I had to do was wait. Surely even I could do that.
But the closer September 1st drew, the more nervous I became. What if they forgot about me? Maybe I shouldn’t have rushed to post so soon, or waited until the end for maximum effect. Oh, well. It would do no good worrying about it now. All I could do was wait.
When September 1st came, I could hardly breathe. My entire life depended on the whims of three sisters from the San Fernando Valley. I checked Instagram obsessively, refreshing the band’s page in a fever whirl.
Nothing. As the sun began to go down, a terrible fear crept in: what if they never choose a winner? I banished this chilling thought from my mind.
As I lay down, bitterly, to sleep, I checked Instagram one final time: still nothing. Sure enough, I had been betrayed.
More days and weeks passed. Still no word on the winner of the HAIM #summergirlchallenge. Cruelly (and perhaps intentionally), the band continued to post on their Instagram about other things. But no update on the promises they’d made (and broken), or the endless lies they’d told. Our hopes had been built up only for HAIM to hack them to pieces with a machete of indifference, while laughing cruelly.
Then one day, a ray of light. I was with Victoria and checked my Instagram to find the band had finally posted about the #summergirlchallenge. They announced they were just about to choose a winner. In fact, they were going to choose three winners! I was ecstatic. My chances of winning had tripled! Was this so I could win three times? I was sure to nail a prize.
The first winner was announced. It wasn’t me. Victoria and I clung to one another, our fingers crossed and our lips moving in silent prayer.
The second winner was announced. Still not me. Strike two. I began to feel desperate. Victoria tried to calm me with her useless words.
The final post appeared, announcing the third winner…
Hindsight is a funny thing.
It’s crazy to think you can go from being a happy, innocent, young gay man with the whole world at his feet to the human embodiment of malice, putridity and loathing.
A seed of hatred had been planted inside me, and the buoyant young man I once was faded now into the whisper of a shadow. I became a shell.
And so, I declare war.
I declare a war on HAIM.
Because, really, my video was the best. It deserved to win. Do you know how hard it is to try and make a cappuccino while wearing four jackets, none of which are yours? You don’t, and you never will. No one will ever understand my pain. But that’s fine. I’m resigned to walking this highway alone.
From hereon I shall banish every HAIM song from my phone. I will plug my ears when they come on the radio. I will take the CD that I made for my mother (which included a whole two HAIM songs) and I will burn it in front of her.
No… wait. That CD has a lot of other really good songs, so I won’t do that. But I will forbid her from listening to those two tracks.
HAIM will rue the day they decided not to name me their Summer Girl.
Every tear I shed will be on their hands. They will have to live with what they did to me. And that is the worst punishment I can think of.
As for me?
I’ll have to settle for Taylor Swift.