Vocalists cannot afford to be water snobs…

Staying hydrated is more than a good idea for singers–it is imperative.

And when I say staying hydrated, I mean every moment that you are not singing or peeing, you should probably be drinking water.

We have these mantras, like “Pee Pale” and it is truly a matter of pride when my waste isn’t much darker than the toilet water.

I’m thinking of starting an ad campaign, what do you think?

(toilet free clipart here,) (words by ME)

Oh yes, that’s right, we voice majors are also the crazies who run around talking affectionately about our vocal folds and being more protective of them then a mother bear of her cub. And heaven help the poor fellow who mistakenly slips and calls them their “vocal chords”!  There is rhyme and reason to our insanity, I swear (and if you don’t believe me take a vocal pedagogy class), but the main point to this entry is that we are forced to drink all sorts of subpar water. Whether it is the slightly-stale taste from the Kreielsh drinking fountain (yes, we do have an affectionate shortened name for OUR building), the bizarre bathroom water from work, basically water quality is a crapshoot but unfortunately we cannot go without.

This leads us to follow all sorts of water bottle crazes. Your water bottle, as you know, is how the world of music perceives you. There are the middle school and community college choir teachers who have the water bottles with treble clefs on them, there are the “green” girls who have the eco-friendly tin bottles, there are the I-couldn’t-care-less  just-rolled-out-of-bed-possibly-a-stoner students who lug around a cheap water bottle with a label that clearly says “not for reuse” but they do it anyway, and then there are the reusable cup people.

Cups are the latest fad, they have been sweeping retailers by storm for about a year now, but they are so so so much more. (As I will tell anyone who will listen, and many who won’t.) The moment I saw the first reusable Starbucks cold cup I wanted one. I really, really wanted one. I couldn’t bring myself to fork out the $17 dollars for the giant cup, and I would settle for no less than 20 oz. After a time I, as fate would have it, ran into a veritable deal. A $7 off-brand reusable cold cup with a simple brown band, and an amazing propeller straw. I used it immediately. Let me sing you the praises of that cup:

1–I’ve always loved drinking out of a straw, I feel more refreshed, more playful, and more in love with life.

2–I could monitor how much water I was drinking by making a simple hash-mark every time I refilled the cup.

3–I looked pretty cool.

4–The propeller straw was quite useful–I could use it to remix half-melted blended drinks, it kept the straw from falling out when the cup tipped over, and it also looked pretty cool.

I told myself and everyone around me who would listen these things on a daily basis. I took the cup with me everywhere, we were inseparable. It was a summer romance, that lasted well into the fall. I used that cup daily, and as I grew, my relationship with the cup grew with me. As I caught up on the television show Weeds, I noticed that I started to hold my cup the same way as Nancy. When I would visit people they would offer me something to drink and I would proudly ask for water in my cup.  Then one day, everything just fell apart. What had happened was that Y also decided she wanted a cup, but unlike me she refused to settle. Using a gift card (or so she claims) she forked out for the Starbucks brand. Granted, she got the smaller size, but she got the design I wanted.

For a while I tried to pretend like it didn’t matter, like there was no difference. But every day as we would sip out of our water cups I would notice more and more the deficiencies of my off-brand cup. I did not have double-layer sweat protection, it was obvious that her seal was better at sealing, and her cup was just so much prettier. My cup, though larger, no longer made me feel special or unique. What had been my best friend, my summer romance, had now become my embarrassing mistake. From that moment on no sip of water was ever the same. My cup could tell that things had changed, but it did not know why. Out of anger and hurt, it started to fail. It’s rubber sweat-jacket stretched and fell off in the parking lot without me noticing, the rubber in the lid which creates a seal fell out time and again, and the straw gained horrid bite marks I hadn’t realized I had put there.  Even though it became harder every day I resolved to “do the right thing” and stay with my knock-off water cup. Then, during the run of Grease, during the same show I believe, both IE and Y’s cups vanished into thin air. I am not sure if the cups eloped with each other and ran off, or if someone was so creeped out by the Emilieys that they felt the need to do away with some of our things, but either way, the cups were gone.

This came at a very unfortunate time for me financially, and I could do nothing but cart in a nasty not-supposed-to-be-reused bottle with the rest of the hobos. (Indeed, later on G-Force asked me why I had been hauling around such a ghetto bottle. I told you, people notice! Like the other day some girl stared at me for five minutes, unpleasantly, and then burst out “Oh that’s it, you’re not wearing heels!” but I’ve digressed…) After a day, I had had enough. The beauty of the water vessel could not distract me from the horrid taste of the water I was forced to drink on campus, and I couldn’t drink nearly as much without the straw. I began to feel somewhat dehydrated, very disgruntled, and even  a little heartbroken. I mean, I didn’t like my cup anymore, but the love that we shared was at one point real and it hurt when the cup was gone.

I half-heartedly said that I would purchase another knock-off cup to conserve funds when I was next paid, but in my heart of hearts I knew I would hate the new cup if I settled again. Then, a magical thing happened. It being Christmas, Starbucks released more of their cups but this time with candy-cane striped straws! That did it. I got my paycheck, and then on the day of my play-reading last week, I decided that I deserved some happiness. I marched over to the Starbucks, picked up the biggest one I could find, and set it on the counter.

“Is that all?” the cashier asked sweetly.

“Yes, that’s all!” I proudly declared. I walked out delighted in spirit, hugging my new Starbucks brand official cold cup with candy-cane straw to my chest, and daring with my eyes anyone to  judge the $14.95 expenditure. (Prices have gone down since last year.) Granted, I was less happy later that night when I got locked out of the truck, but there must always be balance in the universe and I suppose my euphoria was tempting fate 😉

Here it is, in all its beauty, filled with the refreshing liquid!

The moral of the story is: because voice majors have to drink so much water (as should everyone else!) of dubious quality they deserve a little bit of self-expression in their water carrying devices. I am glad that I had the experience with the original cup–I learned many things. Mostly, I learned that just because logically it might be the right thing to do, in matters of the heart it is better to hold out for what you really want, or accept the consequences when things no longer remain as rosy.

There are moments when I look back fondly on that propeller straw, but then I remember that I have a CANDY CANE and laugh.


a truly, radiantly, delightedly hydrated


P.S. Yes, it’s pale. I just checked.

3 thoughts on “Vocalists cannot afford to be water snobs…

  1. This is the best post ever. I literally exploded into giggles when I reached the part about your cup envy, I was always secretly hoping you were envious, but you never let on! I was under this impression that you were totally happy with your obviously inferior cup, so I never said anything, I didn’t want to offend. You seemed like you loved that thing so much, I didn’t even feel like I should tease you about it. And I HOPE our cups eloped! (Creeping people out to the point where they felt the need to steal our stuff though is a pretty good second choice though)

    ‘What had been my best friend, my summer romance, had now become my embarrassing mistake.’

    You are brilliant.

  2. It truly is a testament to your writing skillz that I was thoroughly engrossed by this post. You made hydration hugely interesting (and emotionally involving)!

    one of the “green” girls with a tin water bottle
    (occupational therapy students have to stay hydrated too!)

  3. I think everyone should be just as passionate about hydration as you are! Many times have my professors told me that everyone in the world should be drinking at least 1/3 of their body weight in fluid ounces of filtered water, plus 8 ounces for every “vice” (which includes juice and tea and cookies, btw) .
    Also, this was hilarious. And while I refuse to support starbucks with even so much as half of a cappuccino, I fully support you using a reusable drinking cup!

    "one of the 'green' girls with a [stainless steel] water bottle"

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