Dating a musician: relationship DON'Ts | Bleader

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Dating a musician: relationship DON'Ts

Posted on 02.09.13 at 12:13 PM

In the spirit of our Valentine’s Day issue, which is brimming with love . . . of cynicism, here is a guide to relationship DON’Ts when dating a musician in a band.

Don’t go to their band practices. Even as a girl, I wholeheartedly defend the no-girlfriends rule. That goes for boyfriends, too. I’ve certainly been that girl who's gone to a dude’s band practice. I’ve sat on an amp against the wall and wondered what I should do. Should I look interested? (I’m so bored.) Should I look at them? Should I look away? Should I just write all affectedly in my goth diary? It’s just so awkward. Being on the other side of it is still just so . . . awkward. Band practice is for getting work done. We’re trying to share a creative energy and work out ideas, and some of them are bad ones. On top of that, we’re worried about you and how bored you are. And how you are now a witness to our weird, dysfunctional-family dynamic. We were secretly hoping to keep those types of moments to a minimum and only expose you to that sort of thing at, say, family holiday parties.

Don’t go to load in or load out. Unless you’re a hot fireman. I mean, if you’re gonna show up with a crane and a ladder and you're strong enough to carry an Ampeg 8x10 bass cabinet over one shoulder, you’re definitely invited. But for normal people, carrying heavy things up and down stairs and then trying to Tetris them into a van that’s too small is a pain in the ass. If you’re going to help, by all means, you’re more than welcome as long as you don’t break anything. But if you’re just going to stand around and watch, well, then you’re an added dead weight that we’re metaphorically carrying.

Please, for the love of God, don’t go to sound check. The only exception to this rule is if you live together and sound check is an errand you must run in between going to Walgreen’s and going to Costco. Or if the show is way across town and your only ride is with the band. If you are attending a sound check as an event, turn back now. Not only is it, again, distracting for the band, but it’s, again, boring for you to hear each individual drum head hit over and over and over. Trust me, there’s nothing cool about it. I’ve been dragged to enough sound checks to know that the only one I should ever be at is my own.

Do not expect to go on tour. Seriously. Most likely, you’re really cool and a great person to hang out with for days on end which is why our bandmate is dating you. But the thing is, there are already too many people in the van. And even if your SO really wants you there, the rest of us don’t. No offense; just sayin’. It makes some people uncomfortable and it changes the group dynamic that we rely on to play shows. And while tour has its moments, it’s not vacation. In fact, it’s kinda like work. Think about this for a minute: do you really want the four of us to stand over your shoulder at your job where you’ve convinced your coworkers that you are a professional, upstanding member of society? No. You don’t. And do you really want to be trapped in a van with a bunch of people who haven’t showered and who keep cracking the window because they farted after eating dinner at a gas station? No. You don’t

*Exception: If your SO is in a band that has a tour bus, roadies, catered meals, and stays in five-star hotels, then you should definitely go on tour.

Do not, under any circumstances, except for certain circumstances, discourage your partner from being in their band. If we told you you’re not allowed to watch football or garden or make films or build tiny ships in bottles or work out at the gym or do whatever it is you like to do, you would probably be super bummed. Band practice may take your SO away from you for a few hours a week—or even a few weeks or months if they’re on tour—but you went into this relationship knowing this person was a musician. In fact, it’s probably something you liked about them in the first place. We all need a passion and an opportunity to indulge in it. Here’s a fact: personal freedom and supportive encouragement make people happy. When your special friend gets to do the positive things he or she wants to do, this benefits you because now you are involved with a happier, more receptive person, which makes for a better relationship.

*There are exceptions to this rule as well. Like, if SO’s band practices are used purely as an excuse to be a drug addict, or if dude quits his job to be a full-time musician when his band hasn’t even scratched the surface of the local music scene, then fine, you can get mad all you want.

Don’t worry that your SO is going to cheat on you while on tour because most likely they won't. Probably. Here’s why:
1. When you’re on tour you don’t have much time to A) meet someone and B) convince someone to sleep with you. And C) the people who throw themselves at you without any convincing are usually the gross kind who make you wish you were at home with your nice girlfriend/boyfriend.
2. Even if you really want to get in someone’s pants, chances are they’ve already gone home by the time you’re done loading out.
3. It’s kinda hard logistically. Alone time is a concept that doesn’t exist on tour. Sure, you can hook up in the van, but that’s not ideal. And even if you manage to escape to a second location without your bandmates, you still have to coordinate with all of these people about how they’re going to find you in the morning. Plus, now your bandmates think you’re a dick for cheating on someone, which makes for a long ride home.
4. If that person does cheat on you on the road, then guess what? That’s the kind of person he or she is, and that behavior will exist in various forms on and off the road. So basically, you should worry about it all the time, not just when they’re on tour. The good news is that, ultimately, the power is in your hands—you get to decide if that type of person is the type of person you’re cool with dating.

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