April 21, 2010

Real Talk: I Don't Like Your Band

Okay, I love saying it: I'm dating the lead singer of a band. I feel like I should throw on a fur coat and a hippy dippy headband and jam to "Tiny Dancer" like it was written just for me. I want to watch you from the stage wings at every show and sing along to every song and smile back at you when you play my favorite one.

There's just one problem: I can't stand your music.

I don't know if it's the lyrics (they're incomprehensible) or the tunes (or lack thereof), but your band makes Nickelback sound like the freaking Rolling Stones. I realize singing your own songs is a way of expressing yourself, but before you told me who inspired this song, I thought it was about HOV lanes and possibly buying printer cartridges at Office Depot. This chicken scratch is inspired by me? It's like the musical equivalent of hieroglyphics except I have a better chance of decoding ancient Egyptian symbols than discerning what the hell you're screaming about in this song.

And your voice is so lovely when you're singing along to the Beatles in the car. Why does it sound like you're possessed by a muppet when you're on stage? I'm half-expecting to look up at the balcony and see two old dudes heckling you about this awful music. I hope that a giant hook pops out from backstage and pulls you off so Kermit can introduce the guy who throws boomerang fish. I'd watch that over your band any day of the week.

Also, what do you expect me to tell my family when they ask what's the name of your band? My grandma found your MySpace page and all week she's been asking at a LOUD VOLUME where you got the name "Hot Carl & the Rusty Trombones" from. I finally told her you changed your name to Radiohead. She was less curious about that one.

I thought dating the lead singer of a band would be glamorous but it's been torture. I'm not sure this is going to work out. Oh well, there are plenty of other muppets in the sea.


Anonymous said...

"I thought dating the lead singer of a band would be glamorous..." Nope. Don't fake it just for points. I don't expect you to like my art, I just expect you to be honest about it. If you're actually embarrassed by it, do me the favor of dumping me immediately. For me it is fun/goofy/serious/cathartic/whatever and I'm not embarrassed at all. I'm actually embarrassed to find out I've been going out with someone faking it the whole time. No thanks.

Anna said...

Oh, calm down. I'm not going to love EVERY creative endeavor my guy does. I've dated writers where I wasn't blown away by his prose, but I liked the way he'd impersonate Borat.

Maybe there's other things she liked about him. Who knows?

And, there's no harm in faking liking something. Sometimes that's for the best.

Anonymous said...

Rarely it turns out for the best to fake liking something you don't like. This generation is so afraid of hurting people's feelings, just be honest and people won't find themselves in awkward situations all the time. I'd love it if everyone loved my band, but I'd love it even more if I knew everyone who said that truly meant it and those that didn't just said it wasn't their thing. I get more out of understanding what someone does and doesn't like about what I'm into and what I create than I do a blanket acceptance of every little thing. Be a discerning adult, people will respect you more for it.

Her motives are pretty clear from beginning of rant to end that she thought she was signing up for some special lead singer treatment. Who knows, maybe he promised her more blow off the back of the toilet or something. We can only go on what she wrote. Love the site and the opportunity to throw my $0.02 in! OXO

Eric E said...

Not to take sides, especially about music, but I agree with "Anonymous" above. Fake is fake. Honesty is the gold standard. If, for instance, a shmitten kitten is willing to fake enthusiasm for her dude's band, then what else does she fake? Moreover (and this probably separates me from the majority of Shmitten Kitten readers), what does a willingness to be deceitful say about the long-term potential of a relationship?

A woman who'd want to date me despite a lack of enthusiasm for my "art" is downright sexy. It'd be like dating Susan Sontag or the Diane Keaton character in "Manhattan." Moreover, if she were honest and fair in her critique, my "art" might actually benefit from her negative response.

In contrast, a woman who fakes liking something would give me the false impression that everything is okey-dokey. I would be in a stasis of mediocrity. At the risk of disagreeing with the Kitten in Chief, that is harmful. And I'll feel horribly duped when I find out, which she'll make sure happens eventually.

Save the fake smiles and cynical duplicity for your business meetings. Fakery and pretense in a relationship are the true bonerkillers!

Anna said...

As someone who has dated my fair share of artists, painters, musicians and writers, it would be impossible to be brutally honest with a guy about his work at all times. There's no point. I'd rather say, "I love it, honey" and kinda fake it. Maybe I'll grow to love it over time because it will remind me of him even though at the time I first interacted with his art, I was less than thrilled.

It's not deception or fakery, as you charge. It's about making my honey feel loved and supported in his creative endeavors. That's more important in the long run.

Eric E said...

Anna, can't someone express love and support for their honey without falsely claiming to love the mediocre results of their efforts?

This issue extends beyond personal relationships and art to include science and education. If my writing student shows me a crappy essay, can't I praise his efforts while trashing his thin and shallow argument? If my research team generates data that go only half-way toward an actual discovery, can't I praise their hard work but encourage them to try even harder for true excellence?

In my mind, actual love and support should include sincerity and honesty. Kinda faking it is entirely for your own convenience. In the meantime, your honey is harmed by the imaginary standards and parameters you're setting. Unless he enjoys working in a vacuum, constructive feedback would be more beneficial to him than false encouragement.

C'mon, stop pretending that you're faking it for his benefit. Also, it's not so much the quantity of artists dated, but the quality of those relationships that is the useful metric. I'd be more interested in learning whether any of the artists you dated were happy when they discovered that you were just pretending to like the results of their creative efforts.

Anna said...

Your role as a teacher is not the same role as a significant other. I'm not buying that.

There are critics that are PAID to give their honest opinion about creative endeavors. There are teachers that are PAID to push students to fulfill their potential. Those are different roles and one that I shouldn't have to assume while I'm dating someone.

Phil said...

Haha just wait till one of you guys have kids and they do a shitty crayon drawing...

Eric E said...

Anna, the way you presented your objection makes it seem as though you might be willing to respond sincerely and honestly to your honey's creative efforts if you were PAID to do so. In the absence of any financial compensation, you'll keep your actual opinions to yourself.

In other words, you get what you pay for. Which is a really lovely thought when discussing significant others.

To point out that the role of a teacher is different from the role of a significant other is like pointing out that cats are different from dogs when the relevant issue was about how living animals need food and oxygen.

Stating that you're not buying my argument doesn't prove that your empty cheerleading is for anything other than your own convenience. I'm not saying it'd be bad if true. Rather, I'm suggesting that if I, for example, wanted to date a woman because she's the lead singer in a band, it'd be better for everyone if I resisted the temptation to gush about her lame songs. My feelings for her might be different from my feelings about her songs, but my willingness to deceive her demonstrates nothing but contempt.

If you want to make things easier for yourself by lying to your honey, just say so. But don't pretend you're doing anyone else any favors.

LG said...

Oof, guys. When did this become ExistentialistKitten.com? The whole point of this blog is to poke fun at our flaws when it comes to dating. If we wrote about how perfect we were at relationships, the site would be a real snoozefest.

The point is, I've dated a lot of dudes and it hasn't always been for the right reason. I unfortunately wasn't born a mature adult so I have to do a lot of learning to get there. Can you blame a girl for being intrigued by the thought of dating a dude in a band?

And criticism like that? Are you serious? I might as well tell him I hate his grandma. Music is the pride and joy of dudes in bands. Just because the music isn't my cup of tea doesn't give me the right to tell him to change it. So instead… cut & run. He didn't do it for me anyway.

Anonymous said...

It is totally cool to make a fun post about pointing out flaws in a public forum, but if you're accepting comments just expect that some of them will give another perspective. Isn't that cool too? Yes, none of us are completely mature, just expect if you're going to make a post making fun of this guy's band, can't we have a reasonable discussion about it?

And Anna is right, she shouldn't have to assume the role of critic if she doesn't want to, but that doesn't excuse acting like you love something that you don't. At the same time you can be kind and loving to your lover without being fake. No, don't tell him you hate his band so bluntly, there's something called tact, which I admittedly lack at times, but its used in situations like this.

As for Phil's comment, it is hilarious, but I think there's a difference in expectations in those relationships. I hope that my lover doesn't feel like she has to be my mom and put my shitty finger-painting on the fridge. A little creepy if you ask me. I would rather have a mutual adult relationship, but hey to each his own. Some people are into the weird power thing.

Still love the site and the discussions generated! Hope I'm not being too much of a prick; if I am, just let me know and I won't comment anymore, promise! OXO

dani said...

i may not love a painting my dude has painted, but i love that he loves it and i love how it makes him feel and that the dude i love MADE it! so i in turn, love it, because i love him. if he gave it to me, id love it because he made it. i dont know, i dont think its really all that amazing.

just like if a girl made dinner and dessert and everything for her dude. what if it sucked? would you say 'oh this meal you spent 5 hours preparing just for me to be romantic was awful?" i highly doubt you would. unless you hate getting laid. the end.

Phil said...

i hate getting laid. HATE IT!

Anonymous said...

uh, yeah that's common sense. you people dont even know the difference between loving something (for any reason) and faking it. in this posted rant, the girl clearly hates the band and doesn't love it just cause her man made it. so your example doesn't work. she didn't say i love his band cause he made it, she says she hates it and insults it in a pretty nasty way...

in other words, are you being fake? did you go to all your friends (or the internet) and tell everyone how awful the dinner was? or did you eat it and love it cause it was made with love? i bet you'd be hurt if someone acted like they loved you to your face but then bitched about you behind your back.

you really don't know the difference? for real?

Robin said...

Art in any form is a subjective experience and there's no accounting for taste, which gives you the ability to dislike something, be honset, and still be supportive of the person who made it.

For example, I don't like hardcore, so when you scream lyrics I can't understand in your hardcore band, it could be great for all I know! "Not my type of music, but it was a good show, had a lot of fun!" True and supportive.

But if it's not as easy to sidestep as that situation, what is there to say? What if they just butchered a style of music you really do love? If you've never been in the situation, you might be surprised what comes out of your mouth when put on the spot.

To those who think Anna and LG should fess up to not liking the art of the person they are dating, what is an appropriate thing to say? I agree that you shouldn't lie, so I want a magic phrase that doesn't make any false statements but also shows support for a person who is doing something they love.

Btw, I'm pretty sure while your support is appreciated, I seriously doubt he wants constructive criticism as Eric E. suggests. Nobody needs a Yoko Ono. If asked a specific question as in "more or less distortion in this guitar solo, what do you think?" sure, but I am not giving out unsolicited constructive criticism on *your* craft. I think that's what Anna meant about a significant other not occupying the same role as teachers and critics, not that she wants to be paid by boyfriends for her advice.

Anonymous said...

To Robin: I agree with everything you said. To answer your question, There's no magic phrase, it entirely depends on the situation. When I support my friends who do stuff I'm not into I choose to either focus on something positive in the performance/art that I genuinely enjoyed, or nothing at all. No point in criticizing what someone genuinely enjoys, but there's nothing gained by faking it either.

Maggie said...


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