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.
My sister once dated a guy who was obsessed with his high school years. He had been the quarterback of his football team (he was from Texas so this actually was a big deal), was the most popular and was voted best looking in his class all four years. To add to this obsession, he often quoted Varsity Blues and pointed out that that was his life back in the day. My sister and I, on the other hand, would refer to him as Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite who was also obsessed with his football days in high school. Needless to say, my sister and Uncle Rico’s relationship eventually fizzled. But we’re still both in agreement that yes, he was indeed the best looking guy she ever dated — something that gets old after too many viewerings of that Dawson’s Creek guy and Ali Larter with whipped cream on her fun bits.
I had always considered myself relatively lucky that I never dated someone who held onto their past for dear life, their fingertips dug into a year or time that was creeping up on almost two decades in the rearview mirror. But we can’t avoid such people forever.
Recently I went out with someone that I actually met at the airport. After a bit of talk that started with the weather, we realized we had some things in common and that he actually lives in my neighborhood. Oh, New York City, you dreadfully small place, you! So we made a date and went out.
While the beginning of the date went fine and he discussed his love for music and how he played guitar, at some point it took a turn and with that turn, there was no going back. Like my sister’s Uncle Rico, my date, too, was fixated on his heyday, his glory days in the sun, and a time when things were so “fucking badass” to use his words, that since then life had been a letdown. Although he was not the star quarterback of a football team, he had been the lead singer in a band. Not a band a few years ago or even in college — no; he was in a band in high school and it was there that not only his happiness but his maturity remained.
If I were to do the math, I’d say that between high school and college about 80% of people I know were in some sort of band. I, myself, and a couple of my friends were in a “band” in college called 12-Hour Drive, and we had such awesome hits as “I Have the Same Taste in Boys as Winona Ryder” and “Mad Dog 20/20, Let’s Be Lovers.” Granted we never played a live show, but one of us played guitar, I was regulated to the keyboard, and our third member was in charge of beatbox and making t-shirts for just the three of us, that we were proudly and comically. If anyone should be obsessing over their days in a band, it should be me — obviously.
But on and on he went about how they could have been signed to a “major” label if only they could have agreed on “where to take our music, man,” and how “artistic differences stood in the way, man.” Blah. I so badly wanted to tell him to shut up and live in the present, get over it, it was TWO DECADES AGO, man! However, I behaved. I’m not drinking these days so that helped to keep me in line. Before the night was over he offered to bring me the tapes of the high school Battle of the Bands contest he won at some point later in the week, but I declined. First of all, I don’t have a VCR (it’s 2012), and secondly NO, just no! I’ll be washing my hair all day and when I’m done I’m going to have to wash it again.
I’ve only dated one guy in a band, and although my first love would eventually go on to be in a band and a pretty decent one that plays at Cake Shop here in the city as well as a few other places, these two were (and are) well aware that being signed to some “major” indie label like Merge just isn’t going to happen. There are thousands of bands trying to make it, competition is tough and if you haven’t picked up a guitar since you were seventeen, then the chances are even more slim.
Why hasn’t he tried to start a new band since then? Because no band would be as great as the one he had in high school — that was actually his answer. I’m all for occasionally living in the past when the present is too much to bear, but are you kidding me? No band would be as great as the one you had in high school? I don’t care how hot he is or how gorgeous his half-sleeve tattoos are, I will not be seeing him again. Besides, I should really be working on getting my band back together for a reunion tour. Summer is always peak reunion tour time.