There’s a particular memory I always associate with the collision of music and romance.
Back in St. Paul I knew a guy who was the singer in a local rock band that played out a lot. He and his bandmates were all various, aggressive shades of cute, scruffy and jaded.
For a short time he dated a friend of mine, and as I recall it didn’t end particularly well. A while after that I ran into him at some show at the Turf Club or Big V’s, the two divey venues on either side of Snelling Avenue between which our crowd alternated evenings, and he told me that he was dating someone new–someone he’d met through work.
“I like her a lot,” he announced, beaming. “And it’s crazy. She doesn’t know anything about music.”
I looked at him, trying to discern why this declaration satisfied him so.
“I mean, she has no idea what bands are cool or trendy or whatever. It’s so awesome. I’ve realized it totally doesn’t matter.”
For him, it was a revelation: as though he’d spent his whole life thinking that taste in music and other such trivialities were of primary importance, when really there were other things–like values, maybe, or sex–that could render people compatible.
I don’t think I ever thought shared taste in music the only thing that mattered–or even mattered that much. But still, I always recall this conversation when I start dating someone and conversation turns to “favorite bands.”
“Oh geez,” I think. “Why should I care if we both like Cat Power? Just because you also love Paul Westerberg–that doesn’t mean we’re meant to be.”
Forgive me: in truth, I do think that because you also love Paul Westerberg, we probably are meant to be. (It’s that line from the David Brooks article I wrote about a while back–we all have an inflated sense of our uniqueness.)