Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Megan's Rules for Dating Boys in Bands

I don't seem to be able to leave the boys in bands alone.

Creative types in general, really. Once, for six weeks in 1998, I dated a computer programmer who was really into trains and had the biggest cock I've ever seen. But the rest have been writers or performers or musicians, possessing genitalia of various sizes. Since Chris in 1991, though, most of my boyfriends have been in bands.

Here, I would like to make a fine but important distinction between "boys in bands" and "band boys."

Boys in bands are well-rounded individuals who funnel their creativity and passion into instruments and amplifiers. Sometimes they're just in it for fun and are kind of bad. Often they're in it for fun and are really good. Sometimes they feel compelled to share the whole package with an audience, sometimes they don't. They may be driven, but they put people first.

Band boys are obsessed with music, their gear, their band(s) and usually have a voracious need for attention. They are single-minded and, in Greg's words, possesed of a toxic mixture of narcissism and insecurity. That mixture will gradually encroach upon your free time and energy as you try to fulfill their needs. Though I've met the occasional band boy who's got nuthin, they're usually highly talented. Their creativity is magnetic and can be super exciting to be around. Music and the rush they get from performing come before relationships with partners, lovers, and friends.

My options are to stop dating boys in bands so that I don't get suckered in by the band boys, or to develop a list of rules to keep me from getting suckered in by the band boys.

Since it seems highly unlikely that I am going to stop dating boys in bands, it behooves me to figure out how to do it sensibly. I'm sure there are those of you out there who could use this list as a template for your own. Writers don't have bazillion pound amps, but some of us have pretty heavy baggage nonetheless.

Qualifications: This isn't about any one person. Some of it is from my own decade and some of experience, sure, but some of it is intelligence gleaned from talking to other women, or watching other relationships. And I don't think that band boys are terrible awful people. But I do think that if you don't have pretty clear boundaries about what you will and won't do for them, their creative work can take over your life and you might find yourself working at every show instead of having fun.

With no further ado, here are my personal rules for dating boys in bands:

  • I do not haul gear.
  • I do not work the merch table.
  • If he plays a lot of shows, I will probably not go to all of them.
  • If I am tired, I will not wait for him after a show. If he tells me his gear will be packed and stored in 10 minutes, I will leave in 10 minutes.
  • I will not hang out with him in the smoky gross basement of a bar.
  • If we're on a date and he starts an involved technical conversation about gear or the current recording project to one of his friends who happens by, I will go home.
  • I will not give up getting groceries because it will take "just 20 minutes" to get his gear from the bar.
  • I will not lend him money.


  • I will help him write lyrics and arrange songs.
  • I will listen to rough mixes and give an honest opinion.
  • I will give him kind and truthful feedback on his shows.
  • If the show is over and I'm not tired, I will stick around for a beer.
  • If we're on a date and he starts an interesting conversation with me about gear or the current recording project, I will stay.
  • If he plays shows irregularly, I will probably go to all of them.

I think that's it. I feel like there are some things I'm missing.

The above, of course, may go for girls in bands too. I've only ever been on a couple of dates with a girl in a band. None of my friends have dated girls in bands either, at least that I've heard. Do "band girls" exist? If you know the answer, drop me a line to tell me if you think this list would apply to them too, or if it would need fine-tuning.


susie said...

oh megan. why didn't we hang out more?

about girls in bands, I've known plenty. I haven't dated any of them, but they've been my best friends. None of them are like the band boy you've described. They will on occassion get wrapped up in their music/gear/band friends, but they're considerate and never expect me to wait/haul/work their show.

As for the band boys, I'm sure I'm still going to date them. I think I'd have to go back to 1997 for the last boy I dated who wasn't a musician. I'm a groupie at heart. Next time I do, though, I'll be keeping this list of dos and don'ts in the back of my mind.

ps - Greg is so wise!

Aggie said...

An excellent template you have here, Megan.

madkevin said...

You should get Minxer from Babycakes to help you out with the Rules. She's been dating S. for five years, I think, which in non-musician years is like dying and being reincarnated with the same mate three times in a row.

Asteroidea Press said...

What? 5 happy years? That Minxer is going to have to start an ashram and be our guru. She must make us wise in the ways of her knowing.

Aggie! Why thank you, I do hope you can find it useful. And what a pleasure to have you comment.

Last but not least, our sweet 'bama Sue. I do not know why we did not hang out more when you lived here. Probaby because I had not developed my rules for dating boys in bands yet.

What we need is some kind of meter to know when a boy/girl in a band has turned into a bandperson.

I have it on good authority that there are indeed band girls out there. Maybe the ratio is the same, and there are just fewer girls in bands to start with.

susan said...

hmm, yes, you may be right about the overall fewer girl musicians = fewer bandgirls. Also, I try not to hang out with assholes, so naturally my musician friends wouldn't be jerks. But if I'm getting some nice action, my jerk tolerance is considerably higher.

I don't know about a meter, but I'm learning to look to my friends for some sound judgement. Some friends will tell me their (sometimes harsh) opinions outright, while others convey their concern through silence (if they can't say something nice...). But how my tried and true friends react to a person I'm dating is something I'm paying more and more attention to the older I get.

ps - I'm having posting issues, so forgive me if I've submitted this over and over and over..

minxer said...

Unfortunately, I've broken 5 of your 8 rules. That makes me 37.5% enlightened. It doesn't sound like very much, but I don't think I'm band boy whipped. I don't enjoy hauling gear or standing around while he talks about sampler widgets, but he indulges me when I want/need to do Minxer stuff. We balance out, I think.

Asteroidea Press said...

Yes! Friends are the meter! I have also learned to be cautious where my friends are cautious.

Minxer, obviously you have got a good system going on. Maybe balance is the key?