Dear me at 18:
I don’t know what it is about musicians that you find so magical.
Your parents are musicians. You have grown up with musicians. You understand better than most that the music industry isn’t all champagne wishes and caviar dreams. You understand that most musicians, even those that have experienced moderate success, still wait tables through the week and live in crummy basement apartments that smell like Nag Champa.
So why, oh why are you so impressed with this one?
Okay, okay. I kind of get it. He plays bass in your favourite band. You’ve listened to their music for years. While you took the bus. While you studied. While you brushed your teeth. It’s kind of been the soundtrack to your life. So yes, it’s understandably a bit of a thrill to meet him. And yes, it’s also understandably a bit of a thrill to discover that he is interested in you.
“He said I’m beautiful. We had a whole talk about vegan cooking and leftist politics. He invited me to the after-after party. He said he wants me to come and visit him in California, for Pete’s sake. He’s definitely into me!” you might say.
Sure. He’s into you. I’m sure he does think you’re beautiful, and he probably did enjoy your conversation. But here is the thing: He is into you the way that you are into a new pair of shoes. You buy a new pair and you really like them. You might even wear them two days in a row. And when you’re wearing them, you might even believe they are your favourite pair. But the fact is that you also have a huge closet full of many, many other pairs of shoes. So. Many. Shoes. And although you like the new ones, you also like the other ones, and you will probably like yet another new pair very soon.
He might play a show in Toronto once every 6 months, if you’re lucky. And in between those shows, you are sitting around, pining away for him, counting the days until the next Toronto show. Imagining your life together in California. Imagining being married to a rock star. Imagining a brood of little rock star babies. Jumping through the roof every time he sends you an email. Waiting, desperately for him to send another email. Praying To God Above that he will send you another email.
Don’t you ever wonder what he does during that time?
Honey, don’t take this the wrong way. But I can guarantee you he’s not sitting by the computer, waiting for your emails.
You rationalize it to yourself like this: Even if this is just a silly fling, you’ll be able to say that you had a silly fling with a member of your favourite band. Bragging rights.
True. You will be able to say that. But you won’t want to say that because you will be so embarrassed about the fact that you had a silly fling with a member of your favourite band. Because ten years from now you will mention their name and people will say, “Who?”. Because there really is nothing sillier than having a silly fling with a musician. Because silly flings are really just that: Silly.
Here is the good thing: You will only need to learn this lesson once. You will have your silly fling and realize that the whole silly fling thing doesn’t make you feel very good about yourself. You will realize that it doesn’t feel good to spend your time waiting around for someone who doesn’t really care to throw you a bone and pretend that they care. You will realize that when you meet someone, and you are wearing a t-shirt with their name on the back, you’ve already lost in the realm of power dynamics. And you will move on to bigger and better things.
So no. I’m not saying that you need to throw away their albums. I’m not saying that you can’t wear their t-shirts anymore. I’m not even saying that you shouldn’t go to their concerts. You can do whatever you want, provided you have the strength to draw the line with this dude.
But the next time you run into Mick Jagger or Jay-Z or Justin Bieber or whichever rock star professes their love for you next, just do me a favour: Politely thank them, smile, and walk away. Believe me, you’ll feel much less silly in the long run.