17 Things You Must Know If You're Going To Date A Songwriter
You find this weirdness just about anywhere you go when you're a songwriter and you're single and brave enough to venture out into the dating pool. I hesitate to even tell people I write songs when I first meet them, because you know that the first weird thought that comes into their brains is something along the lines of, "OMG, what if she writes a song about me?1?!?!!" I guess that's a legitimate thought to have, but like, chill out, tiger. We've barely shared some beers. As a songwriter who lived in Nashville for awhile, I can attest to the endurance of the most overused pickup line of all time: "Ah, so you're basically Taylor Swift," which is always said with this look that I suppose is meant to be both charming and forgiving, like they're totally ready to "take you on" despite the profession you happen to have in common with the infamous ex-darling of country music. I'm sure the fact that I happened to be both blonde and a songwriter did not help matters much, but yeesh, up your flirting game, humans of Music City.
This isn't so much a problem for me anymore, now that I'm not pursuing music professionally, but I notice certain things happening to my songwriter friends in relationships a lot. Some people just aren't fully prepared for what they're in for, even if they think they are. So here's the official PSA, y'all. If you're dating a songwriter, here are some of the things you can expect (and not expect) to happen:
We are going to be out late...a lot
90% of our work takes place after 8PM, and if a songwriter is really gunning to succeed, they've gotta be out there every night, like it or not. Being insecure and jealous and controlling about where we go and when is simply not going to work. So leave the light on, please.
Our schedules make absolutely no sense
Between co-writes, writer's rounds, workshops, and -- oh yeah -- our day jobs, we are basically human pinball machines. Don't try to guess where we are. Just know that we're coming home eventually.
We want to make long-term plans with you — but we usually can't
This always seems to be another big problem in relationships for songwriters. Our lives are so unpredictable that we can't tell you where we're going to be next week, next month, or even really in the next hour. Opportunities are fleeting and letting one go is our literal worst nightmare, so we are slaves to our hectic lifestyles. If we don't want to plan a getaway weekend with you, it's not that we don't want to go. It's just that the anxiety of missing out on anything even for that short of a time will drive us up the freaking wall.
Not every single song we write is about you
...And you're going to have to be okay with that. Songwriters have years worth of songs under their belt, so you're going to be listening to that time they were in love with someone else at 17, or broken-hearted about someone else at 19, and just accept that they have to relive those emotions on stage as if they are still real even if they are way far in the past.
But we will also totally write songs about you
I mean, duh. People were doing this long before Taylor Swift made it cool and will continue doing it long after we're all dead. Where the hell else would songs come from? So yeah, this is something to prepare for, but if the relationship is going well, then it's nothing to worry about, anyway.
Strangers are probably going to know a lot of stuff about your relationship
Oh, yeah, whoops. We basically go into co-writes with strangers and get naked every other day, and by "naked" I mean "we will tell them anything and everything about ourselves, our lives, and our dirty little secrets for the sake of a song's integrity." We all trust each other in that room in a way that songwriters can't even really explain. You don't have to worry about them blabbing all of the intimate details of our lives, buuuut you do have to deal with the fact that they will know them (and they'll probably run into you at our next gig).
We are alarmingly upfront about our feelings
We're so direct and about we're thinking and feeling that you might even find yourself missing your passive-aggressive ex once you start dealing with us. We are as honest in our lives as we are in our songs, and if we have a problem, we'll let you know — for better or for worse.
We are going to be hanging out with people of both sexes a lot
Again, the jealous type need not apply. Songwriters are a mixed group of people, and even when we're "hanging out", we're networking, helping each other, and making new opportunities. It might look like we're out and about with other people in a social way, but really, these interactions are vital to everyone's career in this business.
Nobody is going to be more fun to hang out with drunk than our friends
That being said, when we are actually all hanging out, WE ARE THE BEST. Nobody has drunken fun like a group of weirdo songwriters, and LUCKY YOU, you just got invited to every insane drunk bonfire of the year.
We do not expect you to be our biggest fan or "groupie"
Our shows are exhausting. Please, for the sake of all that is good and holy, save yourself. Do not come to every single one of them, because we know you love us and you don't have to prove it by falling down the rabbit hole, too. (That being said, we'll always be happy to see you; we just don't have any wild expectations about it, either.)
We actually appreciate your honesty on our work
If you think a line in a song is crap, TELL US. Nobody appreciates this kind of honesty more than a songwriter. We take criticism on the daily. It is literally our job to take criticism. Anything you tell us can only help us in the long run, because you are in the very audience of humans we are trying to make an impression on.
Caffeine is the quickest way to our hearts
Songwriters get a full night of sleep maybe once a month. There is basically a tattoo on our foreheads that says "Will Put Out For Coffee".
We are going to whine, probably a lot
I wish I could tell you we were all a bunch of tough cookies who never let the rejection get us down, but that's never the case, even with the toughest cookies of them all. You're going to see the behind the scenes cry-fests and seasonal existential crises. It is inevitable. Buy a box of tissues now.
But you will also be the first person we call with happy freak-outs
Maybe get some earplugs with those tissues? Because when we get good news, we will immediately speed dial you and start shrieking before you can even say "hello". You'll always be the first person we want to tell when something awesome happens.
We are the brokest of the broke
I mean, most of us are working café jobs or temping, and you have to be ridonk successful as a songwriter before people consider paying you enough money to live on. We're not going to be able to do crazy, extravagant stuff with you, but we are totally on the pizza-and-Netflix bandwagon every day of the week.
But we do not want anybody's charity
Important to note: We might complain about being broke, but we also don't want you to pay for stuff. We are a fiercely independent bunch, and although we appreciate it, it just makes us feel like we're taking advantage of you.
We will appreciate you more than you will ever know
We are aware that we are not the easiest people to date. We are flighty, incredibly hard to keep track of, and tend to be very passionate to boot. But there will never come a day that we don't show you just how much we appreciate you for enduring all of it and loving us just the way we are.