This memoir by the former bassist for Barbara Allen and the Tennessee Hot Pants includes a great vignette about playing Greenland’s Thule Air Force Base, where young men once scanned the skies for incoming Soviet ICBMs. Deprived of female companionship for months at a time, and surrounded by little but shiny white nothingness for most of the year, the base’s inhabitants made for less-than-inviting hosts when the Hot Pants showed up:
We were told that some of the service men there hadn’t seen a woman in over a year except for some of the entertainers who came and went. Therefore, each of us had to be assigned a body guard. The body guards were Danish civilians and traveled with us every place we went on the base. Trouble was, we needed more body guards to protect us from the body guards we already had. Those guys had, as the old saying goes, “Roman hands and Russian fingers”. My protector kept trying to get me to go off somewhere and have sex with him and I just laughed it off brushing away his hands at the same time.
Being in an all girl band was definitely a novelty. Each place we showed up the crowds were a bit rowdy and loud. However, that was nothing next to the reception we received when we opened our show in Thule Greenland. There were whistles, cat calls, applause, stomping, whooping and hollering. The stage was a large auditorium size and there was a space backstage for us to stay during our breaks. After our first set, I knew what that backstage area was for. What happened next came as a surprise. As soon as we stepped off that stage, hands came from all directions and my butt felt like I’d landed into a bed of lobsters. After escaping all the pinchers, I hurried back to the stage, body guard in tow, and ran behind the curtain. It wasn’t long before Barbara and the rest followed.
“What was that, a feeding frenzy?” I asked.
“Oh that happens to all women who come here.” the body guard answered in broken English.
Tales like these actually make me fear for our gender-imbalanced future.