Dear Steff Metal
For the last six months I’ve been dating the sweetest, funniest girl. Everything’s perfect, except … she’s not into metal. She likes indie shit music.
I’ve never dated a “metal chick” before, and this has never been a problem for me. Except now I really like this girl. Recently, a lot of bands have been visiting my city, and I’ve spent tons of money on shows and tickets and t-shirts, and we stopped doing stuff as much as we used to, because I’ve been busy and broke and it’s pissing her off.
I feel sad when I see other dudes with their girlfriends headbanging away at shows. Metal is a huge part of my life, and I would love to share it with her, but she just doesn’t “get it”. So my question is, metalheads and non-metalheads, does it work?
In my experience, no.
I dated two non-metalheads. The first was in high=school, and I introduced him to Metallica and he fell in love and, while he likes a lot of “indie shit” he’s a guitarist, so had a real appreciation for metal. So that was OK, but it was high school so it all fell apart in a majorly bad way.
The second I went out with for three years – he was a musician too, and when I met him he was wearing a Metallica shirt and had long hair. I thought I’d hit paydirt. But, while Metallica had introduced me to the wonderful world of metal, he regarded them as the heaviest band on earth, and didn’t like any other metal bands, and couldn’t see the appeal of the bands I listened to. He was more into alternative rock, and I felt myself being pulled further away from the “scene”, into his world, and I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. As time went on, we just spent less and less time together as my interests went in one direction and his in another. This wasn’t just about the music, but it was a big part of it. I knew metal would always be a big part of my life and I wanted someone to share that with.
Having dated (and married) a metalhead, I would never reconsider this decision (and it was a conscious decision). I have always been attracted to a certain personality in men – and those qualities were things I did not possess, qualities that complement my own personality. I think this is a subconscious decision on my behalf to choose people who will fill out the areas in which I lack.
My husband and I are very different: I am very frugal (sometimes to the point of ridiculousness), whereas he spends money as soon as he gets it, so together we create a (mostly) happy medium. I am painfully shy and eternally optimistic, and he is very forthright and cynical, so we balance those aspects of each other’s personalities. I am the person he needed to show him he can do more with his life than he ever imagined. And he is the person who will stick up for me and protect me when I can’t do this for myself.
We “get” each other, in part because we both hear ourselves in the music, so we feel like we knew each other before we even met. Some of the best nights of my life were at gigs and festivals – I can’t imagine not being able to share that with someone.
My husband dated a number of girls before me, and he says.
“I never even contemplated dating a metal chick, because all the ones I met were scody. One of my girlfriends said she ‘understood why I liked metal, but just couldn’t get into it.” A couple of them liked that I had long hair and seemed “dangerous”. But metal was something I enjoyed by myself, or with mates while we drank beer and talked about our crazy girlfriends. I just thought that was normal.
“But with Steff, everything changed. She was totally different to those other girls; someone I never would have thought of dating if she hadn’t been wearing an Iron Maiden shirt. She wasn’t neurotic; she didn’t make everything into a big deal. She didn’t care about girly things – she’d ring up and ask if I wanted to do something, and it would always be fun. She introduced me to her mates and they were all metalheads, and they became my mates too, and before I know it I was playing drums again and my life had completely changed. And being a metalhead meant she liked all this other awesome stuff, too – archaeology, swordfighting, horror films, steak and chips – and we just clicked. Everything just clicked.”
But, I know a lot of guys (and girls) dating non-metalheads who find it works perfectly, because they share other things in their lives – medieval history, charity work, philosophies, industrial music – that mean more to them as a couple than metal. Many of my guy friends love going out to gigs with their friends as an excuse to hang out once a month, and have a big blokes night out. Others find metal cathartic, a way to meditate and let go of frustrations, a kind of inner peace they don’t want to share with someone else.
I know it’s harder for guys in the metalhead dating game, because while some research suggests an equal number of men and women listen to metal, men are predominantly the ones who go to shows, collect the albums, and obsess over the music. The girls who do this are either – to quote my charming husband – “ugly or taken.” So if you want a metalhead girl, you have the numbers stacked against you from the very beginning.
But that’s not the real issue here.
When you say “metalheads and non-metalheads, does it work?” what I hear is “Things seem perfect, but I’m starting to have doubts”.
People tend to embrace metal because the music speaks to part of them – it becomes a manifestation of who they are and what they believe in. Your girlfriend obviously loves music too, and she probably feels the same way about her indie music.
Do you call her music “indie shit” to her face? I bet it pisses her off. Don’t do that, because it’s like you’re calling her indie shit, since her music is as much a part of her as metal is a part of you. Feel free to call it “indie shit” here, though, because I 100% agree.
You shouldn’t give up on your girl because she doesn’t like metal, but you should call it quits if she actually doesn’t get you, and what you stand for.
If you really want to make it with this girl, I would make her a mix CD of metal songs. Metal songs that describe you, describe her and the way you feel about her (maybe leave “Pleasure Slave” off). Songs that got you through the hard times, and celebrate the man you are now and the man you hope to be. Write the linear notes explaining what each song means to you. Trust me, she’s a girl, she will think this is the most amazing gift ever.
Let her make a mix tape for you, full of indie shit, and see if you can understand.
When you hear a song out of context, and you’re not listening, you are bound to think its shit. When you go to a Deicide concert and you have no idea who they are, you’re going to find it scary. But if you show your girlfriend how metal makes you feel, . She will probably realize actually, she does like some of the songs you give her. And you will probably discover a few shit indie songs aren’t actually that bad.
Let me know how you get on! And also, if anyone reading has a question they’d like answered on the blog (or privately: I am on top of my email) send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
\m/ Peace, Love and Necromancy \m/