Sunday, June 19, 2011

The things we do for love

There's a very good reason why I avoid dating musicians and actors. Everyone comes with a little bit of baggage, but get involved with someone who sings, plays music or acts for a living, and you have to be nearly as committed to what they do as they are.

But what if I hated my rocker boyfriend's music? Even if I loved his work, I still couldn't imagine having to sit through all of his gigs, applauding after every song, pretending that I'm happy to be supporting him in the crowd when I'd much rather be propped up on a bar stool anywhere but there. How does Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson and all those starlets who fall for rockers do it? I love Coldplay and Muse, but how many times do I need to see them live in one lifetime? Then again, I suppose that if Chris Martin has to pretend to love his wife's work on Glee, and if Matthew Bellamy had to sit through Something Borrowed, the least Paltrow and Hudson can do is stand by their men.

Dating can be complicated for me because I tend to be attracted to creative types because we generally have more in common. It would be so easy to date a banker because he'd never bring his work home, and even if he did, I wouldn't mind an evening spent looking at cash. The color of  money is pleasing to the eye, but what in the world would we talk about?

My first boyfriend was an artist. Going out with a painter was relatively painless because experiencing his work required a minimal time commitment. I'd look at every new canvas for a minute or two and come up with with some insightful point of view. He painted donkeys, so it wasn't easy. But at least I didn't have to get dressed and go anywhere. Accompanying him to museums and old churches in New York City, Boston and Europe was so much more time consuming, but I was in love, so I tagged along cheerfully and even started reading biographies of Willem de Kooning, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cadmus. I never got around to those books on Pablo Picasso and the two Franciscos -- de Goya and de Zurburán -- and thankfully, we broke up before I had to.

Writers are trickier, and I sort of feel for anyone who dates me. Not that I require boyfriends to read everything I write. I'd prefer that they check out my work because they want to, not because they have to. If I were to date a journalist/blogger like me, chances are we'd probably both be too headstrong and opinionated to make a good match, but at least reading his work wouldn't take up more than 10 or 15 minutes of my time.

Falling for a novelist would be tougher. There already are so many books on my to-read list, I couldn't imagine having to move his to the top just because he's the love of my life. And then I'd have to read it, too! I'd rather wait for the movie, which would make dating an actor easier, except that the ones I've always had access to performed on stages and not in films. I've seen so many dreadful Off-Off-Broadway productions starring friends and acquaintances that I'd do anything to never again have to sit through another one.

All that said, I believe that when you love someone, you are automatically interested in what they do. I may avoid dating musicians and actors, but if I ever fell in love with one by accident, I imagine that I'd want to go to every show, see every play. I've always had something of an aversion to poetry, but I suspect that nothing would reverse my fear of rhyming prose like falling for someone who writes it for a living.

I recently met a guy whom I told all about this blog. He asked for the URL and said he'd check it out. I didn't think he actually would, but when I saw him the next day, he had so thoroughly read through it that he brought up things about it that I didn't even remember writing. Either he had a lot of free time, or he was genuinely interested in me. I like to think it was the latter.

I recently was involved with someone who had neither the time nor the interest. Eight months after we met, he still had never read a single word I'd written, unless it was in an email or text message. He said it wasn't me, it was him. He's just not much of a reader. "Maybe I'd be interested if you wrote something about me," he had the nerve to tell me when I called him on it once and for all. That comment told me everything I needed to know about him and what he thought about me, and none of it was good. Strangers and people who barely know me are more concerned about what I do and what I think than someone who claims to care about me.

Ironically, now that I'm finally writing something about him, I couldn't care less whether he reads it or not.
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