I was recently on a date with a tall, lanky man who loved the Talking Heads and had a great head of hair. Everything was going swimmingly, and then:
"I'm more of a Beatles than Stones person, to be honest."
A not entirely awkward pause ensued. Then, "I can see from your face that's a deal breaker."
To be fair, I have often joked about how I'm just not sexually compatible with Beatles fans — I have the tongue lips tattooed on my hip, for Pete's sake — but I've had sex with a few "Beatles people," and it was totally fine. I prefer to date Stones fans, but preferring Paul to Mick isn't a "deal breaker" per se, and I will be seeing the tall, lanky man with good hair again.
Actually, I rarely judge someone on what they like, as I think it's great to like things. I have a much harder time getting over peoples' dislikes. The tall, lanky one at least likes the Stones (just not as much as the Beatles), but recently I had a man tell me that he "hated the sound of Mick Jagger's voice," which is an unforgivable offence that pretty much concluded the evening. It's not that this man isn't entitled to his opinion, but the reality of the situation is that if you are around me for any appreciable amount of time, you are going to hear Mick Jagger's voice. If you hate hearing Mick, you are going to hate hanging out with me.
It is possible that I place too high a premium on overlapping musical interests. If my ex and I had one thing going for us it was our extremely compatible taste in music, TV, and movies. It probably helped that we started dating so young and discovered a lot of our favorites together. But there were still moments in that relationship when I'd think "Really? You don't like this?" and be slightly turned off for a moment. It was usually Merle Haggard or Hank Williams or Elvis Costello, and it was a little heartbreak every time.
Though it is completely arbitrary and not based in anything real, I have a few musical litmus tests when considering someone as a romantic partner. The main one is that they have to like music. I am always amazed when I meet someone who "isn't really into music" and "mainly listens to it as background noise." If you have ever met Drunk Claire (or even Semi-Tipsy Claire) you have endured some sort of passionate lecture about Ian Stewart, Robbie Robertson, or the lyrical genius of Stephin Merritt. (If you or someone you love has been subjected to one of these rants, I apologize.) Someone who doesn't care about music may find this kind of thing amusing at first, but the novelty will wear off pretty quickly. Plus, I like listening to other people's passionate musical diatribes. I'm not a huge Taylor Swift fan, but I was recently overly endeared to a man because — in addition to loving all of my favorite Dad Rock — he loved "22" fully and unironically, and his enthusiasm for the song was oddly adorable.
In addition to being enthusiastic about music in general, there are a few songs that I will judge people harshly for not liking. It's not particularly fair, but that's just how it is. Here are some of those tunes.
"Search and Destroy" — Iggy and the Stooges
If you are not moved by the raw power and majesty of Iggy Pop, that's a deal breaker, ladies.
"Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" — The Velvet Underground
Doug Yule's vocals on this track are so vulnerable and beautiful and heartbreakingly tender, and I just don't know that I can trust someone who isn't moved by them.
"What Makes You Think You're The One" — Fleetwood Mac
Honestly, I don't think I'm compatible with anyone who doesn't like Tusk (or Fleetwood Mac in general), but this song is the real litmus test. It's just so mean and bitter, and the lyric "everything you do has been done" is so cutting. I don't know what is says about me that this is one of my favorite songs ever, but it's probably not good.
"If You Want Me to Stay" — Sly and the Family Stone
This is a perfect song, and I can't fathom anyone not enjoying it.
"Rocks Off" — The Rolling Stones
Loving the Stones as much as I do is not a requirement for dating me, as that would be an almost impossible requirement to meet, but if someone can listen to the first 10 seconds of this song and feel nothing, we're not going to make it. (I have tested this one out, to be honest and, though correlation does not equal causation, the data so far supports my theory.)
"Box #10" — Jim Croce
"I don't really like this," said a man who had just bought me three Campari and sodas. (He didn't like Campari and soda either, so this was really strike two.)
"Have you no soul, sir?"
"The Last Time I Saw Richard" — Joni Mitchell
Another song only the soulless dislike.
"Cheap Reward" — Elvis Costello, as sung by Stephen Colbert
Don't get me wrong, I love love love the original, but I am obsessed with this performance. My feelings are best summed up with the tweet below.
"Caravan" — Van Morrison
This is most likely my favorite Van Morrison song, but I am incapable of listening to the above live performance without getting chills. (Did you know that not everyone gets chills when listening to music? I find this upsetting for some reason.)
"Feel Flows" — The Beach Boys
I mean, the song is called "Feel Flows." If it does not hit you in some sort of feel, I'm not sure what will. (Also, the slightly sarcastic cover art on this album is maybe some of my favorite album art of all time.)
"Donald and Lydia" — John Prine
I won't even play John Prine for people if I think they won't like him. I just don't need that kind of negativity in my life.
"Up on Cripple Creek" — The Band
I actually can't date anyone who has negative feelings toward Levon Helm, but this song is so delightfully rollicking that I can't comprehend a human not enjoying it.
So those are my musical deal breakers. Do you have any songs or bands that a prospective partner must like, or at least not hate? Are you a Stones or Beatles person? Have you ever ended a date over something music-related? Does someone's taste in music affect how attracted you are to them?