Senior Chardonnay Needler (Photo by Jacqueline Chao)

SO LONG, SENIORS: Hi, I’m headed to college, and I’m a music-colic

In each installment of the five-part SO LONG, SENIORS series, a graduating Octagon editor-in-chief will write a final piece before heading to college. Chardonnay Needler is the second in the series. 

I just love answering questions from 40- and 50-year-olds. Especially those who know me and remember me “in my diapers” (a lovely phrase) when I have no memory of who they are. I also just love how once the favorite inquiry of the past five months — “Where are you going to college?” — is finally answered, there’s a new one: “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No.” (After looking at my haircut and seeing my demeanor): “Oh, a girlfriend, then?” How progressive. I’m still single, as I want to be. And that’s OK — really. It could be worse. For one, I’m 18 and still don’t feel interested in certain teenage activities. As the shark from “Finding Nemo” said, “Guys are friends — not food.” I might’ve misquoted that. But it’s OK because everyone has somebody, or something, to love. (“Somebody to Love” is really just a Queen song to me.)

Ecosexuals — a community I found out about via Mehdi a few paste-ups ago — love the earth and spend their “weddings” to Mother Earth involved in all Her elements, from coal to the soil. 

Everyone has a community for what they love, but how have I not found more musicsexuals? No, musicsexuals don’t marry Mozart by listening to (the high school band’s performance of) “Marriage of Figaro” while performing elaborate rituals involving white wigs and claviers. Musicsexuals just enjoy listening to music. Oh, and they get chills. A lot.  Hear me out (pun intended), but you might be a musicsexual too. Have you ever gotten chills while listening to music when it reaches points of heightened intensity? That sforzando that seems to come from nowhere and ends a phrase abruptly? A climactic high note? Chills.

The technical term is “frissons,” but as I distinctly remember the phrase “avoir des frissons” (to get chills/shiver) from AP French, I’d rather not associate the contents of a vocabulary quiz with an intense psychological and physiological phenomenon. Especially one with another choice romantic term. 

Feeling frissons is more than just receiving good vibes from good air vibrations. It’s an addiction, according to a BBC article. Music is a drug — an auditory, dopamine-releasing stimulus that can produce dilated pupils and palpitating heartbeats just as effectively as other vices. And it’s an expensive habit at that; I’m hemorrhaging paying that 10 bucks a month for Spotify premium, not to mention my cello’s $2,000 price tag.  But I’ll do anything to get that little euphoria that comes from a note fingered on just the right spot of the fingerboard, from any pitch my vocal cords tap just right.

Wait, what? There’s a subreddit dedicated to this phenomenon, r/frissons, a forum for fellow musicsexuals? Fantastique, I’ll be right there.

—By Chardonnay Needler

Originally published in the May 28 edition of the Octagon.

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