How To Date A Music Junkie
The very first date I had with my high school sweetheart came about three weeks after I received my driver’s license. Before picking her up, I took what was an unnecessary amount of time trying to decide which album I was going to have in rotation when she got in my car. I decided on Dexter Gordon’s Ballads, which, as the title suggests, is a compilation of the tenor saxophonist’s best ballad recordings from his years on Blue Note (my favorite songs on there are “Ernie’s Tune” and “I’m A Fool To Want You”, specifically for Freddie Hubbard’s trumpet solo).
Now, I admit, a part of me made this choice because I thought it would impress her. Back in high school, I was what some would call a jazz snob, the type who turned their nose up on most popular music, except when it came time to party. But the larger part of me chose Ballads because I really did enjoy that album. It was perfect driving music, and again I stress, Freddie Hubbard’s solo on “I’m A Fool Want You” is just so good.
When my date got in the car, not even 10 minutes passed before she asked if we could listen to something else, and by something else, she specifically meant KDON, our town’s sad version of a hip-hop radio station. Of course I obliged, and the two of us went on to last a year, but I should have known then the two of us were never going to last a lifetime.
I’m not saying my high school sweetheart had to like what I was playing. I actually remember telling her how refreshing her honesty was. A lot of people front and act like they’re into something just because they think it’s the sophisticated thing to do. Not her She wanted to hear hip-hop, and I had no problem with hip-hop. What I did have a problem with is how she never gave what I played a chance.
I believe most anyone with the capability to hear will say they like music on some level. Whether they like background music or workout music or music to clean the house to, most of us enjoy and require a soundtrack in our daily lives. But this dependency of sorts on music isn’t enough for me. I love music more than I love movies, more than I love sports, more than I love television, more than I love video games, more than I love reading. In my life, music trumps any and all forms of entertainment and artistic expression short of writing. I’m one of those guys who has spent their last few dollars on an album over a sandwich even though I was starving, word to Berry Gordy.
With that being said, it would be really nice to date a woman who had the same attitude towards the music as I do. If that’s too much to ask, at least a woman who can appreciate and respect my love for music enough to want to be a part of it in some way or another.
As anyone who follows this blog or knows me in real life will tell you, 90 percent of what I make my living writing about is music, so while I can afford to take some pleasure in music, I also have to be about my business when it comes to music. This requires me dating someone who not only understands why it upsets me when I miss a certain show, but also why I need to listen to it as much as I do. Sometimes I just like to turn on my iTunes or one of my three iPods and let them play on shuffle more than I like to turn on my television.
I don’t need my woman to love music as much as I do, just like I’m sure she wouldn’t need me to love something she loves as much as her. But I’m pretty sure she would want me to make honest efforts towards loving the things she loves. I would want to her to do the same, and though this may sound easy, it isn’t.
Being a music junkie is not about fandom. It’s not about liking just our favorite artists and playing their music all the time. It’s more about discovering the artist or band we haven’t heard of yet, and giving their stuff a chance even if they don’t have one hit on the radio or the charts. But being a music junkie is also not about only liking unsigned artists who haven’t sold out yet. It’s about finding good music that is popular and on the radio. None of that, “I don’t listen to the radio” business. In my world, I do listen to the radio, and I do take seriously some of the songs I hear on BET’s “106 & Park” video countdown. It’s okay for us to have discriminatory tastes, but only after we have given the music we discriminate against a fair chance.
All I really want is a woman who not only loves her music, but my music as well. To any woman who comes into my life, play for me the songs that you love, that you know all the words to, and then, let me play you some songs I love. Let’s go to some show and hear an artist we never heard of, and let’s not pay attention to the rest of the crowd in the audience. Maybe we can go see Esperanza Spalding live and on the way listen to Justin Bieber’s album. How about we listen to a good gospel song not just on Sunday, but Wednesday too.
When I think back to that first date with my high school sweetheart, and how quickly she dismissed my music selection, I don’t hold resentment towards her. It’s not like I say to myself if I could do it all over again, I’d kick her out of my car for saying such a thing, but I do think I would have handled it differently. But perhaps if a woman were to ask me today if I could turn off all that jazz just so she can hear a station where they’re playing Wiz Khalifa (who I listen to everyday), I wouldn’t be so quick to do it. Instead, I’d tell her to give what I’m playing a chance, and then when that song is over, I’ll listen to what she likes. As far as I’m concerned, one of the kindest things we can do for our partners is know each others favorite songs and at least make an honest effort to make them favorites of our own.
The Process: I think I’m going to try and run two miles everyday this week, starting ummm, tomorrow.
Poppin’ Questions Podcast: I’m over my cold now so I’ll be recording Episode 27 tonight. Hit me on my Formspring or email me at email@example.com for a question to be considered. Listen to Episode 26 in the meantime.
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