Why It’s Not Safe To Talk About Music On The First Date

He was introduced by a family friend. An overall good guy with a clean cut, engineering grad who just passed the board. I was a sophomore in college and kind of wondering if he was going to be my first boyfriend. Although he was a nice guy, we were not exempted from the awkwardness of a first date. I didn’t know the rules and I was hoping to wing it. Huge mistake.

Him: Do you like music?
Me: Yes. Do you?

I was somewhat disappointed with the question because I thought it is a given that everyone loves music. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t. That should make it a fact, not a hasty generalization. True? But then again maybe he’s too nice to be presumptuous.

Me: What kind do you like?
Him: Alternative.

Alternative in essense is the opposite of mainstream. Alternative was, and probably is, cool. Honestly, now, I believe alternative, just like any other genre, was created by the music industry moguls to create a new market. The one to sell Nirvana, The Verve, Suede, Blur records to. (Did I mix alternative rock and Britpop?) Of course, when moguls create a new genre, they will be sure to sell everything that goes with it: the apparel, the lifestyle (may or may not include illegal substances), ideas (may or may not be limited to sex, abortion, marriage, divorce, dating, suicide) Clearly, you can now see how clueless I am in this or how huge the genre is.

Since I was in college when this date happened, needless to say, I was impressed when he said he liked alternative music.

Me: Who’s your favorite artist?
Him: Westlife.

Aside from music, I also like sarcasm. He was funny! Because I was nervous during this time, I didn’t laugh. But I did grin, which genuinely confused him.

Him: You don’t like them?

Sh*t just got real. He was serious. He truly liked Westlife. I remember Westlife when I was in high school because Swear It Again was on the radio a lot. But back then, I was a Hanson fan because, hey, they write their own songs and play instruments. I would go as far as say that the only thing that kept Hanson from being alternative was that they were hugely popular plus they had indiscernible lyrics. Mmm Bop?

Me: No. I’m more Nirvana and Sigur Ros.

College was the peak of my pretentiousness. But back then I didn’t call myself pretentious because I believe that if I have faith in these artists’ music, then I’d soon enough imbibe a life that is full of art, depth and meaning. Yes, I was a whole load of bull crap. I actually tried to read Umberto Eco!

Needless to say, there was no second date. He now lives in the Emirates with his wife and two kids while I am still a walking dating disaster. Also, a friend just pointed out to me that I now have a terrible taste in music. Truth be told, that doesn’t bother me at all. My playlist now includes Britney’s From The Bottom Of My Broken Heart because she really sounded cute then. And I play Maroon 5’s One More Night while I take a shower.

For the life of me, I ccouldn’t understand why I wanted to be cool or deep or poetic. I certainly didn’t look the part. Maybe it’s a prerequisite of growing up. Being pretentious is so not cool. Not that I’m saying I’ve stopped being pretentious just because I now admit to listening to pop music. I’m looking at you Twihards.

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Soundtracking

When I was 16 and a college freshman, predictably, my favorite song was The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe. The song did not talk about living in a dorm, homesickness or studying your ass off for mediocre grades but still…

For the life of me I cannot remember
What made us think that we were wise and
We’d never compromise
For the life of me I cannot believe
We’d ever die for these sins
We were merely freshmen

On my 18th birthday, my friend, Job, sang Easy Tonight by Five For Fighting. It’s a dark song that talks about the pain of losing someone. Some say it is about death, specifically, suicide. An odd choice for my birthday at the very least. In fairness to him, he did not expect to be an acoustic performer that night.

You were dark.
As dark as night.
You were wrong.
Yeah, you were right.

When I was 20 and desperately working on my undergrad thesis, I kept All Apologies on a loop. Nothing could spell out the fledgling self-esteem of an overextended college student than this song.

What else should I be? All apologies
What else could I say? Everyone is gay
What else could I write? I don’t have the right
What else should I be? All apologies

You can watch the video here.

When I was 23, a friend told me that he thinks of me whenever he hears Rise by Samantha James. I am most flattered that he incorrectly associates me with empowered women.

Open your mind and see
We have everything we need
Dream or reality
Fulfill its destiny

You can listen to the song here.

When I get married, I want Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls to be my wedding song. It doesn’t have to be played though as I walk down the aisle.

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

And last but not the least, I want my funeral song to be Beautiful Day by U2 because I intend for it to be a beautiful day.

It was a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away
Beautiful day.

Touch me. Take me to that other place.
Reach me. I know I’m not a hopeless case

What you don’t have you don’t need it now
What you don’t know you can feel it somehow

Music video here.