Live music and dating: Embrace your partner's tastes

Categories: Crowd Pleasers
Photo by Erik Hess
Not a photo of the author

Being in a relationship is as much a cultural journey as it is an emotional, intellectual, or sexual one. Mostly because you have to "do" things with your significant other, and when you live in a city, a lot of the time "doing" means going to the movies or catching a gig.

Because let's face it: If you don't do actual "stuff" together you're probably nothing more than two aimless, high-functioning alcoholics that only stand apart from the other masses of horny drunks who populate bars on any given night because you know who you're going home with after that sixth whiskey shot.

Because you're most definitely not going to find someone with the exact same taste in everything as you (we are all special snowflakes, etc.), you have to be prepared to be open-minded about embracing the passions of your significant other, partly as a bartering tool for them to embrace yours, partly because it's a nice thing to do, but mostly because you want to spend time with this other person (considering they are "significant") and share important experiences with them. Like, for instance, going to see their two favorite bands gig together in their college town. That's what we proverbially refer to as a "bonding experience."

When my boyfriend asked me to go to a Hold Steady/Deer Tick show with him in Boston this spring, I said yes, and thereby made the tacit agreement that I would spend the preceding two months getting into both bands. When saddled with this obligation, I reasoned that surely, because I like him and everything about him, it should naturally follow that his tastes would suit my sensibilities. I chose him, he chose the Hold Steady, ergo, I chose the Hold Steady. It turns out this brilliant philosophical chain of causality is exactly correct in this case. Ergo I am a brilliant philosopher.

I'd always been aware of the Hold Steady, but ever really into them, the way, say, I'm into the early works of Usher Raymond IV. Whereas I can sing you 8701 from "U Remind Me" to "R U the One" without skipping a beat, when it comes to the Hold Steady I'm more likely to say things like, "Oh this sounds like it could be the Hold Steady" when something that sounds vaguely like them comes on at a bar, in an attempt to make myself look cooler than I obviously am. When I'm told the song playing is not, in fact by the Hold Steady, I then go on to pretend I knew that all along, and I was struggling to hear over the din of other patrons. Like, how dare everyone at this bar hamper my ability to identify music. Fuckers.

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