Taking a break from committing suicide with food, Mike Pfeiffer will absolutely answer your questions on anything you put in the digital mailbag of firstname.lastname@example.org. Regardless of whether or not you think Mike is a mature adult, this column is probably best for Mature Adults. As a Mature Adult, you accept responsibility for any actions you take after reading this column. Just Dandy is intended for entertainment purposes only, and we’re sort of required to warn you not to try any of this at home.
Dear Just Dandy,How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?Love,Hallmark Holiday Hater
I’m answering two questions and I’m starting with this one because my answer is super quick: if you’re being pissy about people making a big deal out of Valentine’s Day then you are also making a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. Don’t be a ding-dong. All holidays are made-up holidays until eggnog scientists finally prove the existence of a Christmas Particle and the intrinsic Clausian nature of certain days of the year. Holidays have the validity that you assign to them. If you’re single and don’t have a valentine, my heart goes out to you. But how about just be really god damn nice to someone you love anyway? Is somebody bullying you about not having a valentine? If so, why are you hanging out with very romantic jocks?
It’s extra funny when people are like “Ugh, all these happy couples together on Valentine’s Day… Rubbing it in our faces how happy they are!” Because you know who really gets god damn stressed over Valentine’s Day? People in relationships! Being single for Valentine’s Day means that nobody expects shit from you and you get to order a giant catering tray full of chicken wings and you don’t have to figure out if saying you “don’t care about Valentine’s Day” is part of some complex mind game. Creating an expectation means that you create a condition for failure, whereas affectionate gestures for the other 340-ish non-holiday days of the year are all sauce for the goose. So chill with that.
Anyway, at the very least celebrate VC day, the day after Valentine’s where you can pull your pickup truck behind the CVS and they’ll fill the bed with discounted heart-shaped chocolates and candies for five bucks.
Dear Just Dandy,I’m a young, jet-setter/go-getter in the music business. As a result, life is pretty good, with one little hitch: girls cannot stand my favorite music. I have eclectic tastes – the more synths and gated drum reverb, the better – but nobody wants to relate. I’ve had girls turn off the brazen Minneapolis funk of The Time. The lyrical early-’80s New Wave of Squeeze has ladies hooking their bras back into place faster than you can name a song of theirs that isn’t “Tempted.” Some have even left the record store while I’m forearm-deep in a stack of Motown 45s.Pop music is my drug, my passion, my lifeblood – not to mention the thing that makes me not poor. Am I doomed to a life of solitude, crushed to death under a shelf of box sets? Or am I looking for love in all the wrong places?-No. 1 Single
Well Number One, let me say that it looks like you have exceptional music taste. Would that I could Ranma 1/2 myself into some gender swapping hi-jinks, because our choice in music is close enough that conspiracy theorists are probably already calling this letter a fabrication. Good job, and if anyone likes what they see then they can drop me a line and we’ll get a little missed connections action going.
The short answer is, stop looking for people who have the exact same taste as you because that’s not what’s important. Personally, I’m 99% consumer recycled catchphrases held together with Pink Slime® so just being in the room with me usually requires about 400 hours of television viewing. I once dated a woman who was able to identify RoboCop playing in the other room just from the soundtrack. Helped her choose lunch using Ghostbusters quotes. Theoretically this is the kind of mate I’d immediately buy a replica Legion of Superheroes ring for and propose at the official address of Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village, but I gotta tell you that despite liking the same things as me it still didn’t work out.
I tend to think that things work out more from similar values and attitudes than from sharing the same internal library. You’re passionate about music and I think what you really need is someone who wants to shove their hands in the 45’s (not a sex thing) even if it’s not the same bin. If someone reveals he or she has never seen Star Wars (or never heard Purple Rain) I god damn implore you not to let your jaw drop and squawk all “HOW COULD YOU NOT WATCH THE ULTIMATE SPACE FANTASY TRILOGY!!” (I don’t know if you do this, I just watch it happen constantly. My bad.) Take a deep breath. That is an opportunity. Your carefully curated taste is part of the museum of You, and could you imagine how fucked up it would be if you weren’t allowed into the Museum of Natural History unless you already knew about dinosaurs? You need someone who’s passionate about art in general, an active consumer even if they’re not into the same thing as you.
Plus there’s seriously magic in showing the things you love to people for the first time. Have you ever watched Terminator 2 with somebody who doesn’t already know that one of the Terminators is good? They lose their shit. It’s incredible. But you have to:
- Not push them into it.
- Understand if they don’t like it.
- Not talk over the whole damn thing.
Which brings me to my next item- please PLEASE make sure you’re showing the other person the kind of attentiveness you’d like. Don’t be dismissive to other people’s interests no matter what, but especially if you have very specific taste. Not to get all technical, but the stuff you like is no longer considered Pop music. Pop is short for popular and buddy I WISH that Morris Day and the Time were still on the radio. But nope. We’re mutants with eidetic memories, self-selected into niche tastes that have to be acquired on purpose. Even if you don’t like something your partner or prospective partner likes, try your best to understand why somebody likes it and why it speaks to them and make sure you ask them questions the way you’d want. It’s crazy how much people will be open to the things you like if you’re open to them, and I don’t mean “Oh we watched an episode of Gossip Girl, now for 44 minutes of Brian Eno!” The goal isn’t to transplant your consciousness into a body that looks better in heels, it’s to relate to someone and make them feel like someone cares about and understands them.
My parents (happy 25th anniversary!) are really great at this. When they met my dad was into scuba diving, and to be closer to him my mom did the damn thing and learned to scuba dive, taking the test with all the weights and the breath holding and I’m tired just thinking about it. More recently, my mom got super into Game of Thrones and my dad watched the pilot and fell asleep. But my mom couldn’t stop talking about it. So he watched again and fell asleep. My mom and I talked about it and he still couldn’t get into it BUT THEN. He powered through the first three episodes and found a toehold in the show so that he could share this with the woman he loves. A slightly different feat of physical endurance.
So that’s my advice to you, No. 1 Single. Let people in and you’ll find a b-side in no time.
That’s all for Just Dandy this week! Pfeiff will return next Wednesday to answer your questions about sex, pizza and rock n’ roll, or literally any topic you can think of. Shoot him an email at email@example.com or tweet @ModDelusion using the hashtag #JustDandyDS.