“So what kind of music do you like?” It’s the most generic question a person can ask on a first date. But in my experience, it’s an unavoidable question when meeting someone for the first time. As a guy, I hedge on the generalization most girls don’t care about sports and won’t be impressed with my encyclopedic knowledge of Stanley Cup finalists since the 1968 NHL expansion. So music is a nice, safe way to find common ground.
Sharing musical tastes ranks high on many people’s lists when sizing up a potential girlfriend or boyfriend or even “just a friend.” I’m really only a music snob in theory. My poor track record doesn’t allow me to outright dismiss anyone based on poor music taste alone. In reality, I’ve dated or crushed on a wide range of genres. My most recent crush said she listens to 94.5. (Mainstream hip hop music for non-Bostonians. And yes, I never brought up music again after learning that disturbing tidbit.) I had one girl admit she’s big on 80’s music. Another admitted to singing karaoke to Journey (and actually thought it was charming). A friend of a friend I was being set up with said she listened mostly to singers like Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor. (Not too bad) Of course, there was the country music fan. (One and done. I draw the line somewhere.) And a girl who introduced me to a few tracks from the Matthew Good Band. (“Apparitions” was a good tune at least.)
Probably the girl with the best music taste was someone I dated for a short time last year. I was overjoyed that she actually knew who Jarvis Cocker was and claimed Radiohead’s Pablo Honey was a great rock record. (As much as I like Radiohead, I disagree. But I decided to think it was cute at the time.) And one of my favorite moments from that time was hanging out with her at a Newbury Comics and having her let me listen to her iPod every time she spotted a CD I might like…and she happened to have. We exchanged music during that short time, too. She gave away a Blur remix CD and burned me albums from Andrew Byrd and Elvis Perkins. (In exchange, I burned her Stone Roses and The Jesus and Mary Chain.) She was really into Elvis Perkins and obsessed with learning to play his songs on her guitar. Of course, those CDs she left me serve as uncomfortable reminders that things didn’t work out and are well buried in my CD collection – not to be listened to for a few more years, at least. But I digress…
Music taste may not be all important, but it does add something when there’s common ground on that front. With that in mind, I suppose my ideal girl is someone with similar music tastes but could still introduce me to something new. Oh! And red hair and/or glasses are a plus!
Esteban Miguel writes C.V.S., a bi-weekly column on poor music taste, published on Monday. For any previous Columns on Shit, gander away.