by Tracy Moore
Don't know if you saw this Sunday's New York Times Book Review section, but it had an amusing essay on love and literary taste called "It's Not You, It's Your Books."
Anyone who cares about books has at some point confronted the Pushkin problem: when a missed—or misguided—literary reference makes it chillingly clear that a romance is going nowhere fast.
I wondered when reading this if music lovers would 'fess up to the same musical peccadillos in their romantic pursuits. What say you? The essay goes on to say this literary elimination round may be more the domain of women: "Let’s face it—this may be a gender issue. Brainy women are probably more sensitive to literary deal breakers than are brainy men. (Rare is the guy who’d throw a pretty girl out of bed for revealing her imperfect taste in books.) After all, women read more, especially when it comes to fiction." But I am still curious if, on this blog, where elitist taste and hairsplitting is the norm, if anyone has ever ditched on someone after finding out they liked, say, Widespread Panic. And I'm talking early on in the relationship, not after you have, say, a kid together.
For instance. I can't date someone who primarily likes jam bands, because I simply cannot abide. And it's not just the jammy-tastic extended jam-core jamminess of the bands, it's that the typical personality traits and values that accompany fans of it—peace, loving everyone, being "chill" and seeing both sides of every argument—are just so irritating.
But seriously. Isn't letting go of artistic taste as some identifier a part of growing up? Or is that if you were largely shaped by the books and films and records you listened to growing up, that it's critical to meet someone who reaffirms that art-damaged world view? Still, even for someone immersed in a culture of music obsessives, I figured out in high school that I didn't want to broadcast my particular taste on my shirt, backpack or car bumper anymore. So I guess I was surprised to read a piece exploring grown up people saying they ditched on a chick who had a copy of The Unbearable Lightness of Being on her bedside table.
That said, there are tastes that raise an eyebrow: no funk at all, too much funk, too much into Green Day, not even able to see what's not terrible about Green Day, no radio-friendly modern-rock guilty pleasures, too much into really watered down radio-friendly modern-rock. Not enough into pop, too much into the wrong pop. Don't get me wrong—these aren't dealbreakers. They're just reasons to withhold sex. Right? Am I right?