A girl walks into Honolulu’s Brewseum. You haven’t heard of The Brewseum? Oh come on! It’s only the most entertaining bar on Oahu! Check it out quickly, and then we’ll get back to the story. G’head, I’ll wait…
Three eligible bachelors are seated on Brewseum barstools. She’s there to meet her blind date. She has about seven seconds to size up this evening’s possible love connections before deciding which one she hopes answers affirmatively to her question, “Are you Kyle?”
On barstool number one sits the classically handsome, executive type. You know what I’m talking about. He probably owns a condo in the financial district. Well dressed and living impeccably. The sort of condos you’d find here.
On the center barstool is what seems to be the rugged-but-cute deep sea fisherman type (who has managed to clean up pretty good.) You know those guys? Salty and slightly leathered. But, with a good scrubbing, they’re not half bad. The kind of guys you’d meet on a charter you’d find here.
And, on the third stool, seated far left, is a nerdy-but-muscular-enough guy who looks happy and comfortable in his Old Navy clearance rack clothes. Strapped to his back, is a well-worn, teeny tiny guitar. I love Old Navy. I don’t understand their business model and you know what? I never want to. I just want my dollar flip flops, and my five dollar shorts. You can get yours here.
It is with both slight disappointment and then enormous relief that the mini-guitar man spins with a grin and responds, “Bingo!”
After moving to a private booth, Kyle explains that his “axe” is really a ukulele. Libby has never actually met anyone who could play one. Sure, she’s heard of Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz. But Kyle would be the first ukulele-ist (I think I just made that word up) who’s seated across from her.
He’s sipping his handcrafted ale and sharing her appetizers. Hey, by the way? Did you know that the Brewseum sells handcrafted ales? The Home of the Brave Brewing Company creates handcrafted beers for troops and patriotic Americans. Check out their history and selections here.
They leave the lounge to stroll and chat. Eventually, they plant themselves on a bench under the moonlight, where Kyle tries to play any song that Libby suggests. They even attempt a few duets. Much laughter and high-fives follow. Before it closes at 11 pm, they head for coffee and dessert at Lappert’s.
After the sweet treat, Kyle stops to buy Libby some flowers from a street vendor. They end the night with a gentle lei and a sweet kiss.
Hold up. Don’t be disgusting. A lei? You know, the traditional flower necklace given as a welcome in Hawaii?
Before Libby gets home, Kyle’s already texted, asking if they could “get together again to work on some new tunes”.
Well played, Ukulele Kyle.
So, what exactly is the ukulele, and how easy is it to master? What is the history of a lei, and why do you want to get uke’d or lei’d? Let’s explore these two pressing topics.
The Ukulele (Long Story Short)
Portuguese immigrants brought their version of the ukulele to the Hawaiian islands in the 19th century. Uku (meaning, gift or reward) and lele (meaning, to come).
Ukuleles are most often made from wood and have nylon strings. Variations include plastic bodies and titanium or steel strings. Typically, a ukulele has 4 strings, but there are also variations of up to 6 or 8, depending on the sound you’re looking for.
It’s an easy instrument to learn. If you master just 3 chords, you can play just about any rock and roll song ever recorded. Check out this article and then pick up your dating game with a ukulele.
Think It’s Lame? (Think Again)
Ever heard of Joni Mitchell, David Byrne, Neil Young, and Jimi Hendrix? You might not have, but your parents definitely know them.
They played the ukulele.
How about Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, Will. I. Am, and Zooey Deschanel? Do they ring a familiar bell?
They’re also ukulele players. By learning a quirky instrument skill, they put themselves ahead of the other musical shlubs.
Like learning to ride a unicycle, or climbing into the cage as an MMA fighter, learning the ukulele can set you apart and give you an edge, not just in life, but in love.
After viewing a number of ukulele tunes done well, I chose two to share. Just watch the awesomeness.
The first is Jake Shimabukuro, with his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. Enjoy!
The second is a cute duet from Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt. The song’s cute. They’re cute. The ukulele is cute. What’s not to love?
Where Can I Get a Ukulele?
I’m glad you asked. If you’re living in or visiting Hawaiian paradise, you can check out a nice collection at Hilo Guitars. Not only do they have a nice selection, but they also have music lessons, repair services, accessories and price matching.
If you are living elsewhere, there’s a cool website featuring ukuleles from Hawaii and around the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Ukuleles are reasonably priced, easily learned, and can bump up your personal rating score by at least a digit (you’ll be a solid 8, guaranteed).
What’s a Lei, and why do you want one? A lei is a flower necklace (or wreath) given as a welcome to visitors.
In ancient times, leis could be strung together from a hodgepodge of wild weirdness. You could have been welcomed with a necklace made from bones and teeth and feathers. In the absence of Purell, I would have been counting the hours until I could wash my neck with some lye/wood ash/animal lard “soap”.
I’m glad modern day Hawaiians present visitors with a variety of flowers and a smooch on the cheek, sans bones and teeth.
You must accept this flower gift, as it would be bad taste to refuse it. Find your special necklace at Cindy’s Lei Shop while vacationing in Hawaii. If you’re stateside, she can ship to you as well. Check out this pretty lady and her beautiful flowers.
Listen, you’re probably already an awesome dude, since you’re reading this blog. But, you know, like everything in life, there’s always room for improvements.
Learning the ukulele is probably a lot safer than riding a unicycle or cage fighting. So, explore the ukulele, and get yourself a lei. You’ll thank me for it.