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These are the Soundtracks of Our Lives…

22 Apr


It started with our powder blue Oldsmobile’s 8 track and likely Barry Manilow and Stevie Wonder, and has been the one passion that has never abated. My love for music is truly everlasting. In Junior High School I used to dream of a smaller portable music player maybe even handheld so that the melodies in my head could be audible to the entire world. I understood and envied the “hoodlums” that my grandparents and  even parents complained of walking around with a refrigerator sized stereos on their shoulders (I can’t imagine what that had to cost in batteries, especially since those guys never looked like the rechargeable battery type). Portable music was the “jam” if you will. 

Decades later, enter the iPod that had external speakers and one of my earliest dreams was realized. I, however, am not Al Gore and will not claim that this genius innovation a la Steve Jobs and Apple was mine. The iPod was and is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, allowing my music to constantly surround in version audible outside my brain.

How does this relate to love, relationships, and dating or maybe even just life? Well in my life it is oddly straightforward if I pay attention. In everyone else’s it is the reason that the soundtrack makes such a big impact on a film or even TV show. Hollywood has known and worked with this since sound was able to be paired with film. We have all watched a film and then the music started playing “Bow chick a bow bow…” and thought wow that situation is not going to work out…

One of the most stark and mocking examples is according to JLo’s character Mary in The Wedding Planner. Sitting in the theater, I became sure that I wasn’t alone in my suspicion that music and relationship success are definitely related:


"Oh, oh, and "I Honestly Love You" as your wedding song?
You might as well commit matrimonial suicide right now."
 In summation: The music matters, possibly more than we think.

My first real relationship began my senior year in high school and lasted through my first two years of undergrad. Looking back via a musical perspective our first date should never have even occurred. He was a guy I met through my first job. He was nice enough and I knew he had a crush on me for about 6 months prior to our first date. From the moment I met him every time I was around him 99.7 the Fox would play “Better Man” by Pearl Jam. In retrospect that was the proverbial frying pan repeatedly hitting me in the face of our dragged out and absurdly painful relationship. He was uncomplimentary at best and an all-round douche-tard at worst.  “She lies and says she’s in love with him can’t find a better man.” Pearl Jam was right and the music gods were speaking to me as loudly as the could.

I didn’t take the hint that time or even the next 10-20. To their credit the powers that be didn’t give up on me.* In my last several relationships the overly repeated musical mantras (and I state this recognizing that stations far and wide play the same thing about every ten minutes) have been no less subtle than what Pearl Jam tried to tell me in the mid 90s.

*It is important to point out that these songs not only played on the radio, but in stores, amusement parks, restaurants, everywhere.

In 2002 I should have thought twice when my guy told me he always thought of Willy Nelson’s “You Were Always on My Mind”  when he thought of me. Yes we were still dating at the time. Maybe he had already broken up with me in his head. In 2008, Rihanna’s “Unfaithful” should have prevented a late night discovery that I was far from the only one in my guy’s little black book.  In 2010, Taio Cruz sang the fateful “I’m only gonna break break ya break break ya heart.” only 16 times per play in his catchy upbeat yet oddly dark hit (Players unite you now have a Pop Anthem that does not offend and possibly appeals to all of us white girls).  Actually, this was the first song that I truly thought was a sign. It played on our first date in a Peruvian restaurant and was the only NonLatin song during our dining experience. Instead of being giddy with the relief that they were currently out of beef heart (the one thing my date thought would be symbolic if we ate “heart” on our first date. Yeah, yeah, OK there were multiple signs.), I should have cabbed it home as soon as Taio started crooning.

Finally and most recently I met the Conudrum wine (what exact combo of grapes is in that stuff that makes it so very palatable and delicious?) of boys and musical influence. We mucked the pot by constantly listening to music of our own choosing all of the time via iPods, shuffles, iPhones, iPads, and once or twice his Kindle Fire.  We ate, drank, and hung out to Foster the People, the Black Keys, Cults, Young the Giant, and Vampire Weekend to name a few.  All of these bands maybe have had an odd album cover or video, however, all make great music and there was no overt badness. Plus there were so many songs; whole albums even. In the present theory this relationship should have ABSOLUTELY worked out right?

Ha! This relationship even ended on a musical note where there was likely some blatantly ignored foreshadowing with a Fitz and the Tantrums‘ concert and songs like “Don’t Gotta Work it Out”. He has not spoken to me again since two days after the concert. It was the same week that I heard Gotye and Kimbra’s “Someone That I Used to Know.” I still have very little idea what happened. He didn’t defriend me on Facebook so I gather it couldn’t have been my fault…

At this point, I am thankful that “Goodbye Earl”, The Dixie Chicks or  “Love the Way You Lie” a la Eminem and Rihanna hasn’t happened on a first date.  At least now I would know to RUN! Speaking of I have always wondered what Rihanna and Chris Brown jammed out to? Maybe they listened to 2 Live Crew or Death Metal (I don’t know any death metal bands off hand so I googled and was immediately partial to Fleshcrawl and Pungent Stench, here are the Top 100) or any of the Top 30 domestic violence songs as per A.V. Club (Eminem has 3 of those).  That might clear up the mystery that surrounds their situation a bit.

Maybe I should only look for a guy if the song seems favorable like during such IQ dropping hits like Jason Derulo’s  “I Only Miss You When I am Breathing”. Now that is dedication! It does risk the hazard of being the type of relationship that would be all encompassing and possibly stifling, but possibly better than the above.

The Top 5 Stop Dating this Douche Already Mantras (a la me)

1. A Lap Dance is So Much Better When the Stripper is Cryin’ – Bloodhound gang (Enough Said)
2. Flavor of the Weak – American Hi Fi (there also will be other signs, like that extra pink toothbrush)
3. Area Codes – Ludacris (watch out when dating traveling salesman of any types. Pharm and Device reps included)
4.  Still Not A Player– Big Pun (this guy is almost too arrogant not to tell you)
5. That Ain’t My Truck – Rhett Atkins (for the country fans and the ladies who drive by their man’s dwelling)
Honorable Mentions: What it Takes – Aerosmith (this one’s gonna hurt) and Glycerine – Bush (The title comes from the explosive applications of glycerine to stabilize nitro: in an interview Rossdale said the song was about how love was like a bomb). Another Boyfriend, Another explosion.

Top 5 Keep This Guy Around Although Your Love May Be Nauseating To Those Around You Songs (also a la me)**
** A category which would not surprisingly be dominated by boy bands if I extended it to a top 20.

1. Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden (I never said all or even any of these songs would be good, just that they indicated a musical agreement that this person wouldn’t hurt you.)
1.I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You – Savage Garden  (Let’s just take a moment and bask in the wonder that one band can be sappy enough has the top two songs and also to take deep breaths to suppress the feeling of nausea that we now all have)
3. I’ll Never Break Your Heart – Backstreet Boys (Excellent Promise)
4.  I Need A Girl – P Diddy (Where to apply?)
5.  Without You (feat. Usher) – David Guetta (It was on Glee, how could it be wrong?)

Honorable More Serious Mentions:  I Found YouAlabama Shakes (Check this Band and their album Boys and Girls Out! That is a command!), One and Only – Adele (it’s good to be the one and only, at least that is what I have been told), and  Angel – Aerosmith (classic adoration)

All in all we should likely pay attention to what lots of things in our live including the music in our lives is telling us about our relationships and even our perspective. It is possible that we gravitate towards what we subconsciously already know, that some higher being is telling us via pop culture what our outcome is going to be and thus making desperate efforts to save our time and energy, or maybe it there is a radio or even a government conspiracy that dominates and manipulates our relationship undertones and thus lives (insert Carmina Burana here). If the latter is the case then I have major issue with 93.3 because there music has provided the worst crop yet (they do have excellent Celebrity Gossip via “The Dirty @ 6:30”).

What are your top 10 relationship do and relationship don’t tunes?

The $28 Salad

17 Dec

While I was in grad school there were many restaurant follies and the following tale is no exception. I have pondered these incidences and have come up with reasonable explanations for most of them. This particular one just boils down to karma. I got what I deserved.

I had met this guy at a good friend’s wedding. He, as they usually do, came with at least one mildly positive recommendation (“He’s very tall with quite large feet”) from someone I didn’t know who was lucky enough to draw a seat directly adjacent to me and my plus zero. This +0 is unfortunately not a rare occasion in my life. Bringing a date to a wedding can be a semi-rigorous commitment. Sometimes you end up the babysitter (“I swear everyone was doing shots of tequila while you were taking bridal party pictures.”). Sometimes you end up the entertainer (“But I don’t know any of these people”), and sometimes you end up the chaperone (“Is that your date with his shirt off standing on the groom’s family’s table?”). In addition to the responsibility of a date for better or for worse there is the unfortunate rising costs and militant structure of the magnificent entity that is the stylish “to die for wedding” limits the likelihood that you will even have the option of date-age or even any free will associated with that  day/weekend. To quote a friend that recently got married, “How long have you been dating? 6 months? Look I am not going to pay for some guy to come and eat that I have never met.” Most of us have experienced this phenomenon in one way or another due to the rise of Bridezilla television. “It is my day and therefore you will wear canary yellow hoop skirts, puce eyeshadow, and ringlets, lots and lots of ringlets.” Maybe I will understand if I ever morph into the mythical creature that is “The Bride”.  Although I can’t imagine ever exclaiming “$100,000 for a few hours and a bunch of food I don’t have time to eat, sign me up,” if Justin Bieber can sell toothbrushes that sing, there isn’t much these days that is outside the realm of possibility.

Oddly enough, even though I was in my mid-20s at that time  and so were the bride and groom, the two of us were the only single people. I am from the south, so it makes a little more sense. At the end of the night this gentleman jumped in my cab bow tie and all (Note to any

readers that are male or give male fashion advice: If you are not wearing a tux, suffering from a particularly cruel Bridezilla attack, 80 years old or older, or in a barber shop quartet and you are wearing a bow tie you are downgrading any potential hotness you may possess by at least 300%). The cab ride was likely disappointing to him. He attempted to make a bow tie-type slobber kiss move and got a mouth full of hair that I had to wash immediately upon entering my hotel room due to the copious amounts of saliva he left me as a parting gift. At least he paid for the cab. I left somewhat relieved that I had escaped basically unscathed and may have even directly benefitted from the spit shower due to saliva’s multitude of nutrients and acid fighting ability.

Much to my dismay and despite his failed attempt at slobberfest 2006, he procured my digits from the Bride and groom when they returned from their honeymoon.  I was hesitant to go secondary to my lack of attraction to him when I had imbibed several glasses of champagne (if they are not attractive A. at a wedding when even Where’s Waldo might look kind of sexy or B. after multiple glasses of quickly swallowed bubbly… Warning bells that sound like a Tornado Alert or worse should be screaming.) combined with the unexpected super unappealing bath. As it turned out, he knew my schedule better than I did because he had discussed it at length with the groom, a classmate of mine. When he initially called I thought maybe I was wrong at the wedding and I should give him a chance, plus he was suggesting a pretty great date. Shouldn’t all people get a second chance? My intuition screams, “Negative Ghostrider!” Every friend I have that wants me to join the world of serious coupledom says “Of course.” Some of these misguided individuals even believe that every guy deserves a turn in the sack, this is after all the 21st century right?. So our first post wedding date we went to a nice place which was admittedly the final reason that I accepted. The date was bland. Vanilla to use a common description (although I really enjoy Vanilla from a gustatory perspective so I am not sure that this is fair to this magical taste). At the end of the date I was spineless at best, “Oh I had a good time (at the time omitting the word “really” was my code for boredom) but I am so busy for the next several months with school (playing the grad school card was usually my ace in the hole).” His response, “I am available whenever. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, I am game.” Arrggggghhhh!

So what did I do? I wish I could say I manned up and told him that I was not a worthy investment because I felt nothing and was just honest. I didn’t do that. I would guess most people out there do the same thing even though when it happens to us it is the worst feeling in the world. How many times have I just wished someone would just say what they mean and mean what they say?? “I don’t like you in

that way” surely wouldn’t hurt so bad if  all of us practiced this never before tried idea of honesty.  However, I should leave this imaginary land of sense and sensibility with open communication in relationships, stop talking nonsense, and continue with the story. The quick and dirty: I got talked into another date.

Now I had a choice. I could be honest on the second date or I could do anything and everything to get him to tell me that he didn’t think it was working out with me. The 13 year old girl that still occasionally hangs in the depths of my soul reared her ugly head and picked the latter. The first “end the attraction” tactic was maneuvering so I could choose the date location. So I got to pick because I was “busy”, and had to of course “study” so I could continue my purely selfless goal of saving the world.  My choice: A grocery store with a salad bar and limited fluorescent-lit seating.

We arrive at the store and it turns out that he thought I was joking, a valid idea. Who goes on a date in a grocery store? Point me. I smiled, acting as the gracious hostess, directed him to the salad bar, pointing out the sneeze guard and the dressings exclaiming, “I have an idea! Let’s go Dutch!”

I then proceeded to race through the bar serve myself very little food, sprint through the line, pay for my own and find us a table for four in the very center of the seating. To my credit, I did wait for him to start eating (if eating a few edamame doesn’t count, after all he was taking a quite a long time).  Eventually he appeared sans nourishment, explaining he had forgotten his credit card and he only had a 20 dollar bill. Since my salad had only cost $4 I was somewhat confused. I followed him back to the register with my wallet to see what the issue was and alas

his salad cost $28 (at 7 dollars a pound). Me: “You got a 28 dollar salad? Can you even lift it?” He: “Yea I don’t get it I only got a little bit of lettuce.”  Me: “The fact that it weighs 4 pounds emphatically argues against that.” He: “What is emphatically?”

I pay for the salad making sure I don’t use any more large vocabulary words in yet another caper of  a Walletless boy. Point him. After we are finally seated he takes one bite of the most expensive salad in the history of grocery stores that are not named “Whole Foods” and says, “Wow! I really don’t like salads.” Picks up his tray and dumps the whole thing in the garbage. 1000 points him.

The Player:  “28 dollar salad” guy.

Take home message:  Eating in a grocery store is about as unromantic as you can muster on the fly (unless there is a dirt bike race during the day time (stay tuned for more on that adventure). Use this mood killer wisely when you are too weak to refuse a date. Best case scenario you don’t even get to this point and you actually find your spine, stick to your guns, and very politely tell a guy how you really feel in a gracious unmalicious way.

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and other awful dating dilemmas.

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