A Bad Rap / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I love it when people play their music loud and proud. I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago when a car rolled through the parking lot bumping Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" like it was a party anthem.

I like to think I'm similarly unapologetic about my choices, though I was extremely relieved that a group of colleagues who unintentionally snuck up on me at work (I had my headphones cranked) did not know I was rocking out hard to the live version of "Hotel California."

Sometimes, though, circumstances beyond our control align perfectly to embarrass us. I recently visited a friend who lives in a very nice suburb filled with lovey new houses full of little children.

During the 30-minute drive, I plugged my phone in and listened to Verdi's "La Traviata." For whatever reason, when I play opera through my car, I have to turn the volume up really high. And this isn't a problem . . . until you unplug the phone.

Because here's the thing you should know about me. I fully realize that I look like someone who would be into opera, and in that way I am a foregone conclusion. But my first and truest musical love is rap. So my radio is usually tuned to a local old-school hip-hop station.

So, when I pulled up outside my friend's house and yanked my phone free of the cord, what song blasted into her picturesque neighborhood?

2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny."

And not one of the verses, either, but the hook. It was literally a switch from a mid-volume Italian tenor to full-volume, bass-rattling, "Ooh, me so horny, ooh ooh me so horny . . ."

I slammed my hand into the dial, leaving a few final strains of "Me love you long-time" hanging in the air, and hurried up to the house as if fleeing a crime scene.

Friends, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. I'm nothing if not classy.