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.