Six Tips for Dating a Musician: Female Edition
Editor's note: Yesterday we published a blog post entitled Six Tips for Dating a Musician, which was well-read and (mostly) well-recieved, but we did get some blowback, and accusations of sexism (most notably, in this lengthy post from singer / pianist / composer Normandie Wilson). We gave the issue some consideration, and you're right! Please accept these new tips for dating female musicians, with our apologies.
The author, Cassie Kohler, and his girlfriend Ryne Watts of the Hobosexuals
Musicians have an uncanny ability to send shivers down the pants of even their most a-sexual of onlookers. Even the ugliest asshole on the planet, wielding his/her musical weapon of choice in front of a crowd, can garner the underwear-throwing attention of an audience. Musicians uphold, perhaps even created, the "cool affect." Some people simply want nothing more than to be a part of their club. I spent the last year head-deep in that club as a boyfriend-of-a-musician -- these are the lessons I quickly learned. All of these tips work just as well for girlfriends of male musicians too, by the way. Or girlfriends of girlfriends, or boyfriends of boyfriends -- whatever turns you on, as they say.
1. Don't Yoko Ono
Seriously, it's the biggest cliché in the book -- do you want to be a part of it? Your girlfriend is a wonderful musician. She works very hard, but she is not always better than the rest of her band. She does not need to branch out and gain more recognition and individual praise from the music community. That is what you are there for (see The Support Factor).
In short, she is not always the best part of the band. The band unit is a highly important force -- their bond fuels their collaborations and it is the combination of their ideas that make their music. They need to fight, they need to get trashed together, or break things or do whatever it is that feeds their inspiration. They need each other, and it is your responsibility to make sure that you don't get in the way.
Do not beg her, in your infinite neediness, to stay home from band practice. Do not yell at her and tell her scornfully that the band is more important than you are (if it is more important, you'll find out the hard way). Do not bogart her attention at shows (see Proper Show Behavior). In fact, do not bogart her attention ever, but especially from people within her music community. Music is a part of her that she cannot explain to you. It makes up a large part of who she is, how she looks at the world and how she sees herself fitting into it. To be a part of that, you must learn your place.
2. The Support Factor
You must support her music. After all, it is likely the reason you were attracted to her in the first place. In that case, there are areas wherein you can extend a helping hand. Help carry gear or merch if you can. Musicians have a lot of baggage (and more than just the emotional kind that seems to shine through in their songs). Instruments, amps, merchandise: They all need to make it to the gig. If your car is needed, offer it. And after you're done loading it all it, stay. You should go to as many shows as humanly possible (see Proper Show Behavior). Your presence there is very appreciated. Encourage practices, bookings, writing; encourage the good stuff.
Part of the local scene is networking. She needs to not only book her own shows, but also to go to other people's shows. Her friend's, the local DJ's event, this party, that party; she needs to show her face around town. Everyone knows everyone in St. Louis, and the more people she knows in the local scene, the better. Be the pretty face on her arm that understands her and her music. Be her networking buddy.
In order to not Yoko Ono, you must be on board for whatever she needs musically. Lastly, if you don't like her music, you are dating the wrong musician. Do not try to veer her a new direction. She creates what she wants to create -- bottom line. Which leads me to number three....