Photo credit: Shani Silver.
I used to have a type. Tattered jeans wearing, unwashed hair waving, rollin' through town for two nights band dudes. Yum. A mixture of personal taste and pure lifestyle jealousy, these guys were my jam, no pun intended. This went on for the majority of my late teens and mid twenties, in full disclosure I will say I loved every minute of this relaxed romantic attitude of mine.
I haven't come close to dating a musician in years. In days of yore, I gravitated toward guitar-wielding dreamboats (lots of them), because we had a lot in common. Shocking. I loved to go to shows. OMG they play at shows! I liked music. They loooooved music. I didn't look/act/dress like a "normal" girl. They hated normal girls anyway. But things changed, my tastes evolved, and now they're literally filtered out of my dating efforts. Though I miss them (sometimes), I'm really happy to keep my distance. There are reasons why.
1) Distance -- Hey babe I'm gonna go on tour for three months, OK?
I don't care how many PBR-drunk chicks come up to him after a show. You either trust him or you don't, and I did. What killed me was distance. I felt like I was always dating my phone. Or worse, I felt like I was single, and we all know how I feel about that.
I date guys to date them. To spend time together. To have someone to do all the stuff couple-y people are doing and annoying me with. There's a constant development of a relationship, of getting to know someone, that gets instantly halted for as long as it takes to drive from Miami to Boston. I guess I just don't do distance. Distance is kinda all they do.
2) Priorities -- I don't care if you're having your appendix removed. I've got a show, OK?
I was never, never the first priority. The band comes first, no matter what. While this is fine at 23, it's a slap in the face at 30. What if you're on tour and I go into labor? What if you get asked to play Lollapalooza on our wedding day? I know where I stand in the priorities lineup and I don't like it. I certainly don't want to have a family with it. And I want a family, with a husband who will put family first. Crazy, right?
I've never known professionals to have passion like musicians do. There is nothing, literally nothing that can stop them from pursuing not just a dream, but the simple act of performing, of having the chance to create music for an audience or an album. I admire their passion, I just don't want it sleeping next to me, wishing it was out playing a show.
3) Exhaustion -- Hey, we don't go on 'till 1am, even though it's a Wednesday, OK?
I want to be an awesome girlfriend but I also want to still be employed in the morning. Don't do this to me! Even if I skipped shows, I'd still be up all night. He'd text. Or he'd call. Or he'd come home at 3 am all loud and clanging gear around. If you think I'm guilty of dating discrimination, go a week with 4 hours of sleep each night. (For this reason, not something awesome like feeding a baby.) It just doesn't work with who and what I am now. I'm 31. And I'm tired.
To be fair, if my professional schedule was different, I'd have no trouble dating someone who plays music, tends bar, sous chefs, etc. But the whole "when I get off work, you go to work" thing just isn't realistic for me. I know some people love/prefer it, but not me. I like a little time and dinner together after a long day is done. Again, it speaks (at least to me) to the development of a relationship and really getting to know someone. It takes time, a joint effort, and a bunch of drunk wine nights on the couch.
4) The Pigeon Hole -- Hey, you like musicians, I'll fix you up with my friend who's in a band, OK?
Do not -- DO NOT -- call me a groupie. A) It's not the 70s, and B) Screw you. I have good, really good friends who still think of me as the girl who likes guys in bands, even though it's been years since one has laid a guitar string-callused hand on me.
And imma let you finish, but let me say this: People would love to criticize my dating habits while they were still my habits. Insisting I stop dating "those guys," lecturing me ad infinitum. I've since changed my dating habits and priorities, but still somehow I'm still "Shani, who likes guys in bands." I can't win. Is it my bangs? I mean is it?
5) The Un-wakeable Dream -- Hey, I know I've been doing this for ten years and haven't made any money, but I'm going to keep trying, OK?
Lest you assume I'm a gold digger, let me say this: I don't need a guy who makes a ton of money. I need a guy who's driven, hardworking, and realistic. All the things that I am, too. Things of a financial/professional nature should be equal, in my mind. And while I'm happy to contribute to or support my beloved's dream, there is a point at which we should both wake up. Musicians sleep for eternity. And good for them, for not letting anyone (me included!) tell them to stop. I admire them, I just don't date them.
I can no longer date someone who dumps all their money into their band, their tour, and their equipment, with little return. Forever. I've failed at careers and made (sometimes really difficult) changes for the better. But the band passion is unwavering.
Scream at me in the comments if you like, I said it. I wouldn't have said it at 23, but I ain't 23 anymore. People, and habits, can change.