March 5, 2010

so you want to date a musician

Be sure to pack several forms of disinfectant, contraception, and Kleenex.

Har har, just kidding! (but not really. Especially about the tissues. Not for you, for the singer-songwriters)



For every dude who picks up a 6-string in his most formative years of adolescence, or a pair of drum sticks, keyboard, whatever.... there's a girl plotting to win over his affection. Something about musicians is just so very covet-able. As someone not totally immune to this effect, with a track record of way too many re-runs of  You, Me, and your Axe Makes Three, I kind of put to bed the idea that pursuing a musician will gain me anything other than awkward post-make-outs and my face hurting from having to force a smile and laugh at his lack of personality/sense of humor/ ideas of what reality is. Also masking the horror at what is most likely beneath his veneer of cool rock star facade (again, bring lots of tissues).

Not to say that musicians cannot be interesting, cool people who are witty and smart and talented. I just haven't met one yet. To be fair, I do live in part of a city that is particularly rife with them. I could throw a handful of m&ms in any given direction, blindfolded, and strike no less than 7 musicians.

In my experience, it kind of boils down to a triangle of Good-looking, Sane, and Intelligent/interesting. I can only have two.
Either he's hot and not crazy, but also not very bright, Or he's a smart, level guy, but not a head-turner. Or the worst combination of all: smokin' hot, clever as hell, and a total sociopath.
I suppose that pyramid kind of pertains to any romantic interest I have, but especially musicians and other creatives.

For the longest time I was kind of known as the girl who would always date/chase musician-types. It got to the point I think where the attraction was mutual. Musicians would seem to seek me out, just as much as I placed myself in their spectrum of fanfare. Which is funny considering I don't even see live music all that often (as a short person with an even shorter temper, the etiquette at live shows is just appalling to the extent that it sometimes ruins a perfectly good set for me). I'd scoff facetiously every time a guy I've never met before told me he's in a band, but secretly this new information would always pique my interest.

Post-college I got kind of weary of it. The whole rocker boyfriend thing. Considering the last one I crossed paths with went away on tour after 2 months of loosely seeing each other, and his absence totally did not make my heart grow fonder. It was kind of a relief actually. It made me realize that I was attracted to his music, more than him as a person. I geeked-out over his home studio set up- the keyboards, mixing boards, the synth! I was drawn to his lifestyle of fancy parties and fun dance music and "connections" to other more famous bands. What I believed was an ambitious successful up-and-coming musician, was actually a former band geek (which was also appealing to me) with a grandiose sense of "Look at me now, every hot girl who wouldn't make out with me in high school!" And I was the arm candy that punctuated that point.
I felt kind of bad about myself, after admitting that. The truth is, I wasn't all that into him. It was like buying into something you don't necessarily need or want, just to get more of the same thing for free. Like how cosmetics counters at Macys try to trick you into buying more expensive cosmetics you don't need to qualify for some free gift with purchase.

When he was back in town after a 2 or 3 month national tour, we did not get back in touch. I am okay with this. And I don't doubt he felt the same lack of chemistry, underneath the handful of playful make-out sesh's we shared.

Almost a year later, I found this book by Julie Klausner on the New Titles section of a bookshop. I was drawn to the title, I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR BAND. Naturally. After a quick skim I took that book home with me.
In her chapter entitled, So You Want to Date a Musician, she says:

"My advice to women who habitually gravitate towards musicians is that they learn how to play an instrument and start making music themselves. Not only will they see that it's not that hard, but sometimes I think women just want to be the very thing they think they want to sleep with."

Key words: they THINK they want

Finding this book coincided with the formation of the band I'm in. I didn't learn an instrument, but I teamed up with an excellent producer, who is also my best friend, and now we're making music that we like and makes us happy and now I can explore the other side of whatever draw musicians have on me (does this mean I'm just going to become really self-absorbed now?).

I know female musicians/front women don't really fall in the same category as rocker-types (because female rockers generally wield a mic, rather than an instrument?). Lady rock stars aren't considered equals because, let's face it, they aren't. I don't mean they're any less than male musicians or vice versa, I mean the approach just isn't the same because a) the music we make is different (even covers!), and b) no matter how instrumentally talented a female musician is, she is always generally regarded first for her appearances and behavior before her riffing chops. 

But if nothing else I can feel less attention-hungry for the validation of being some musician's girlfriend. Because that's false validation and it doesn't say a whole lot about me as a person.
I would rather be the unstable, high maintenance, seemingly untouchable, egotistic, moody musician, than that musician's arm candy any day.



ps. Ever since I heard that the littlest Jonas' solo debut album is titled, WHO AM I, I cannot help but laugh and think about that episode of scrubs with the amnesiac who repeatedly tackles Zach Braff with that very same war cry of, "WHO AM I?!"

1 comment:

DJ Berndt said...

I laughed at "(even covers!)".

Scrubs is a good show.