On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.
I had been dating *Mick for a few weeks when I finally agreed to see his band. Having been a DJ in college and having painfully pretentious taste in music, I had avoided his previous invitations. He was good in bed, had beautiful blue eyes, got my sarcasm and owned the complete Sarah Records catalogue so I wasn’t about to jeopardize what seemed to be a good thing.
As one who has pretty much always dated artists, I’m familiar with the pain that can come when you realize someone’s art isn’t exactly what you expected. Things may be sailing along smoothly then you go to the art exhibit of someone who could potentially be the one and have to accept the fact that maybe it wasn’t meant to be after all. It’s hard to turn a blind eye when the artist you’re dating is using his own body fluids as a medium–the recovery process on that one is fairly long. But with Mick there were so many things that seemed to add up that I figured if we were going to evolve into serious couple territory, I’d have to check out his band sooner or later.
Ever since seeing Almost Famous, I had longed for the day when I could say “I’m with the band.” Finally, that day came the night I went to the dive on the Lower East Side to see Mick in action. I really wanted to say “I’m Mick So-and-so’s girlfriend,” but a few weeks of casual dating didn’t allow it. I was ushered to the front–although it’s not like the place was packed–and anxiously waited for Mick and his bandmates to take the stage.
There are certain points in your life when you sort of check out of the situation because it’s all too much. I remember Mick walking on stage with his guitar. I remember the way the lead singer fumbled with the mic and the drummer made a crack about his height. I also remember the girls next to me admiring the handmade t-shirts they were all rocking as some half-assed political statement. And the last thing I remember is Mick violently gyrating against the air as the bass player went into something dreadful and not even worthy of being called music. Yes, that was the last thing I remembered, except of course, being really grateful I didn’t tell the doorman I was Mick So-and-so’s girlfriend. He may have had the most extensive collection of indie pop of any fella I had dated up until that point, but just because someone loves great music doesn’t mean they know how to play great music. Life can sometimes be such a cheat.
After several songs and an unnecessary encore for the less than 30 people in the venue, Mick put down his guitar and jumped off the stage. He skipped toward me like an intoxicated jackrabbit, kissed me, and asked me what I thought. Again, I tried to subtract myself from the situation.
Was it worse to lie and tell him they were the greatest band I had ever heard? That they rivaled my other favorites of the moment like Bonnie Prince Billy and Her Space Holiday? Or was it better to be honest and tell him that they sounded like a cross between a pet store that had been set ablaze and a tone deaf high school marching band? It was hard to tell which was going to be the less painful for the both of us. As if on cue in a situation comedy, I smiled and said: “You were so great, Mick!” In my head, I could hear the rumbles of laughter from the audience of the imaginary cliche sitcom in which I placed myself so as to cope. “Really! You were,” I continued not only to convince him, but myself, too.
His response? “I knew you’d love us, baby.” It was the first and last time he called me “baby.” I remember that part very clearly. He also never asked me to come see his band again which led me to question my lying ability and my acting skills.
Something changed in me that evening. I stopped thinking I could see Mick and I having a future together. Within the next month things began to fizzle, and when he told me he was dating the new backup singer in the band, I wasn’t sad to see him go. They were making an album after all, so it’s not as though he’d have time for me. To the best of my knowledge, that album never got picked up by a label and the last I heard the band had broken up over “artistic differences,” of course.
I have since vowed to never date another musician unless I hear them play first. There’s no sense in lying to the potential love of your life only three or four weeks into your relationship. I’m sure most love experts would agree with me on this. Of course I don’t think they’d agree that love should be based on musical talent, but I guess that’s my cross to bear.
Everyone wants to date a guy in a band, right? Whether you’re into punk or folk or garage rock, there’s probably a good chance you can find one of the above if you click on over to TheGloss dating page.
*(That is not a photo of Mick. That’s Conor Oberst who, when I was 19, I thought I’d be married to by now… then I grew up.)