How do I get out of seeing my boyfriend's band?
July 30, 2010 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Can't I just stay home and make you a potroast instead?

I just started seeing a fellow about a month ago and we clicked instantly -- saying "i love you"s, basically cohabitating. Thought I've always been the lone wolf type, I can really see this one being the dude for me.

So -- he's gone on tour with his band for a month and is playing my town in a few weeks. I've never seen or heard them before. He's also a filmmaker -- something that I'm interested in so he can't accuse me of being unenthusiastic about his work. Now, I'm a little older than I used to be. I'm maybe in my tenth year of listening to the dudes I date talk about their bands, and going to shows, and that general sort of thing. Frankly I'm a little sick of it. SO -- it probably makes me a crappy person but I REALLY do not want to go stand through a few hours worth of probably mediocre music. I don't want to stand around and be 'the girlfriend' at this thing, I don't feel like going and being gracious and sweet and complimentary and blah blah.

So --- as a new girlfriend, is there any way I can finagle my way out of this? What are some plausible explanations I could provide to bail? He knows that i work nights, but I make my schedule a week in advance and can definitely get the time off. And please -- telling him the truth about how I just don't want to go is not an option. I know that's just mean!
posted by custard heart to Human Relations (44 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"I'm maybe in my tenth year of listening to the dudes I date talk about their bands, and going to shows, and that general sort of thing. Frankly I'm a little sick of it."

You're not a crappy person, but maybe you shouldn't date musicians any longer? I don't think you can finagle a way out of this - if this is something important to him, as it seems it is.

You could, possibly, claim an aversion to flashing lights, crowds, loud noise, or cigarette smoke. However, telling him the truth isn't "just mean" in this scenario - it's valuable info for him.
posted by HopperFan at 10:08 PM on July 30, 2010 [12 favorites]

Really? You can't spare 3 hours for the dude that you think might be "the one"? Bring a book, hang out in the back after saying hello. You can't duck this one.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:08 PM on July 30, 2010 [28 favorites]

can you hear some of his band's music (myspace? rehearsal cassette) then make the call? because maybe the fella you fell for is extraordinary in every way!

look, i hear you if you think it's going to be boring & not your scene based on past experiences. but i don't think telling white lies bodes well ... is there any way you can find a not-mean way to tell the BF exactly what you've told us? (on preview, seconding HopperFan)
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:15 PM on July 30, 2010

Yep, seconding the above comments. Your boyfriend is on tour with his band, and he's going to be playing a show in your town. So, you go to the show. It's pretty simple.

It seems like part of your aversion has to do with how you see yourself or how other people see you. But it's not your show -- it's his. It's not about you. It's about supporting and showing an interest in him. If you don't want to have a certain type of personality, then go ahead and don't have that personality. But you should still go to the show if you really want to be with him.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:17 PM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

You could easily invent some white lie about a sick dog/cat/grandmother/etc, or have a coworker conveniently call you that evening needing to fill in for them, or something along those lines. But what are you going to do the second time he wants you to come see a show? This issue is likely going to keep coming up as long as you're dating him, so the truth will have to come out some time.
posted by Lobster Garden at 10:24 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I kinda think you have to tell him the truth in the nicest way possible. Either that or what Jaltcoh said. But I think it's valid to say, "look, I hope this comes out in the right way, I think it's awesome that you've put this tour together and you're playing the music that you like. But if I go watch you, I'm going to feel funny, like a groupie, like I'm 'the girlfriend' at this thing. It's nothing personal; I'm even kinda taking a break from live music in general. I really care about you, you as a person, and I want to support you, and know this is important to you, and I really think it's great you do it. But right now, rather than being part of the audience, I would rather stay home, imagine you having a great time at your show, make you a potroast, and hear all about it when you get back." If it's true, you could also say, "but if it's really important to you that I come, I'll go."

You're not the first girlfriend of the musician that I've heard express these sentiments, and I don't think it's totally impossible for you to get away with an "I just don't go to his shows" policy, provided you're otherwise supportive and loving.
posted by salvia at 10:28 PM on July 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Why don't you just be honest -- tell him you're interested in him, not in his band, and let him decide if your lack of interest is a dealbreaker for him?
posted by davejay at 10:30 PM on July 30, 2010

"...provided you're otherwise supportive and loving."

Anti-sexism clarification: I'd say the same if the genders were reversed.

posted by salvia at 10:33 PM on July 30, 2010

I think if I were your boyfriend, I'd feel hurt and like you aren't "the one" if you can't suck it up and go to a band show once in a while. If you can't deal with that any more, then ah...go date accountants?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:44 PM on July 30, 2010 [10 favorites]

Response by poster: Sigh, I'll just have to go I suppose. they're breaking up after this tour as he's moving from vancouver to this town -- so i think it's just the one show I have to avoid. but to be fair it's true -- i DO hate the loudness, and the cramped spaces (especially during a heat wave), and i've been trying to stay away from places where I'll be left mostly alone in a place where drinks are served (due to my predilection for drinking them all).

it's not that i'm worried about being percieved as a groupie or anything -- i just find shows like this overwhelmingly boring. so THAT is what i'm trying to avoid saying. should i go with "dislike crowds/loudness"? is that a reasonable excuse?

(sigh -- totally using the hive mind for self-justification)
posted by custard heart at 10:58 PM on July 30, 2010 can't get out of this least not the first one...but you CAN make it easier on up late, have excuses, make it short and sweet. (listen, i am have fun, i'll run home and hop in bed...wake me up when you get home...wink wink nudge nudge) ...i know it can suck playing the third wheel to your boyfriends band, but you at least gotta show your face. also, if you can, try to meet another third wheel...their sound engineer, another girlfriend, etc...that way you'll have someone to talk to the next time. and there WILL be a next time, unfortunately.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:03 PM on July 30, 2010

You know, I don't think you should suck it up and go to the show. Not because I don't think it's important to support/sacrifice for one's SO (then again, I don't think this is the kind of sacrifice that is necessary to make, either). I just think this is going to create problems in the future if you sweep it under the rug now. Say it would bother him for you not to come. As your relationship progresses, either you will skip most of the shows, and he will resent you not coming to his shows and will feel unsupported and like you don't have this really important, meaningful thing in common ... or you will go to most of the shows, and resent the whole thing.

I just don't feel like the way to do this is to sweep it under the rug, and/or start off a relationship by telling "white lies." In fact I think this is one of the biggest reasons NOT to mislead the other person about seemingly inconsequential things at the beginning of a relationship -- by the time it is obvious that they are not inconsequential, you're so much more enmeshed. And I think the way you resolve this early incompatibility could set the stage for how you guys deal with incompatibilities in the future.

I think you guys need to resolve this well, honestly, and with a minimum of drama because it's really not that dramatic if you guys don't make it dramatic.

If I were you, I would just tell him the truth, that you get really tired at live shows, so even though you love him and want to support him, would he be okay with it if you came a little late? (Or left a little early?) That way you can show up, have a drink or two, see if it's not so bad after all, and then leave before you start feeling bored and exhausted. I really don't think you're a horrible person for not wanting to sit (stand!) through 2 hours of your boyfriend's show. Like I said, I do think we have to sacrifice sometimes, but I don't think being a supportive person means you have to do this, specifically.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:03 PM on July 30, 2010 [6 favorites]

unless, of course, the band breaks up ;P
posted by sexyrobot at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2010

And you know ... I have also had the experience of feeling like I was sick of being the Chief Applauder. Supporting your SO is good, but it sucks when 90% of the support/attention in the relationship is going from you to them and that is what is expected. Like ... is there ever a situation in your relationship where he spends 2 solid hours watching and applauding you? Like when you're making a pot roast? Obviously that's not necessary for a relationship to be fair, I'm just saying, sometimes there's an imbalance and it's normal to feel a little worn out by it.

And there are different kinds of support. Supporting someone by caring for them when they're sick or unemployed or when a family member has died is a different kind of support, in my mind, than the kind of attention/applause support some people need for their creative pursuits. I would never say you were a bad person for not being able to give the latter kind of support, or that someone was a bad person for requiring it ... just not compatible in that way. And ... different people have differing levels of ability to provide ANY support, regardless of what kind of support it is. I don't think that makes you a bad person either. Just, again, it's not something to sweep under the rug but necessary to deal with.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:14 PM on July 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Telling him the truth about why you don't want to go is not "just mean". It's what you do when communicating with the guy who might "be the dude for [you]."

That doesn't mean you have to use the words 'probably mediocre', but you do have to be honest that you don't enjoy the experience of going to live shows, and that you prefer to avoid situations that put you that close to alcohol.

Then see what his reaction is -- if he seems crushed then maybe you need to suck it up and go anyway. And maybe he needs to make sure you have access to backstage and people to be introduced to so you've got someplace to sit and talk rather than having to stand amidst a crowd of strangers all night.

With the band breaking up and all, you're looking at missing out on what might be your only chance to see this guy on stage. That seems like the sort of thing you might come to regret if he really is the one for you. If you're really genuinely worried about alcohol issues then maybe that's a regret you have to live with -- but if you're mostly not wanting to go because you're jaded and over the whole rock band girlfriend thing, well, I think you should go. Not that you asked me.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:15 PM on July 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

In my opinion you pretty much have to go. At least to one show, just to see. What if you had a comparable "semi-pro" sort of interest, and your guy didn't ever go out to support you, or even attempt it? Wouldn't you think that was weird?

Because of this sort of thing (just about everyone I have dated has had some kind of creative career and/or side project), I've started vetting the creative output before we ever get to the I Love You and cohabitation phase. If I don't like your work, it's not going to work out. Part of being part of a relationship, is supporting your partner's various life endeavors, and if I can't in good conscience support yours, it's not going to work out. No matter how otherwise awesome you are.

Are you sure that his band is "mediocre", or is it just your generalization based on past experience with dudes who are in bands? Is it a matter of taste or genre preference? And how serious is he about this? Is he a budding professional or is it just something he does on the weekends for fun?
posted by Sara C. at 11:18 PM on July 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm in agreement with most of those above, ie, yeah you probably need to go, if only to show support. But hey, if he's a really cool guy, he'll probably end up doing the same for you, right? (Added note -- do not bring it back up as a bargaining tool. That's not cool.)
posted by Gilbert at 11:21 PM on July 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

"The other guys like you, who I had fun with before you came along, used up my enthusiasm for having the kind of fun you like with guys like you" seems like a deal-breaker in so many ways.
posted by orthogonality at 11:30 PM on July 30, 2010 [15 favorites]

I think it's more a matter of the seriousness with which you accept or decline. It would be bad not to go because the Simpsons reruns are on and, whoops, you forgot. But if it actually feels important to you that you not go, it would be bad to lie about that.

"Meh, I think it'll be boring" sounds like an edge case, maybe even one leaning toward the Simpsons end. But I'm assuming that since you're posting here, it falls under "important to me not to go" in some way. I'd say, skip it if you can articulate in some meaningful way the reason why skipping it is important to you, but don't skip it if it's just because you couldn't be bothered.
posted by salvia at 11:33 PM on July 30, 2010

It sounds like your distaste for the environment / secondary stuff is the reason you don't want to go. I would feel fairly comfortable bringing that up, in a context of being willing to go or even wanting to see him perform but not wanting to deal with the crowd/drinks/noise. It may help if you can approach it in terms of looking for ways to deal with that, or even wanting to drop by to maybe see him play for a few minutes and say hi without having to deal with everything else. I don't know what sort of venue he'll be in, though; for large concerts my trick is earplugs (hear the music, don't wreck your hearing) but for something smaller in a coffeehouse or club it might be easier to make the appearance and give him a hug between sets. He might have an idea of how you could stop by and show your support without having to put up with an environment that's unpleasant to you.
posted by Lady Li at 11:45 PM on July 30, 2010

I guess saying that you don't like crowds would probably be the best and most plausible excuse, but really to get out of it all together it would have to be an epic dislike bordering on phobia. I do think it's a pretty good excuse for arriving just in time for the band and leaving straight away. Just fess up about disliking crowds, ask his patience in letting you come and go early. He might even say you don't have to come - take it up if he offers, but be prepared for fallout. If you do go, get your bf to message you when they come on. When you get there, make a beeline for the bar to get a huge NON-alcoholic drink and sip. Band finishes, give him a kiss, go home.
posted by ultrabuff at 11:46 PM on July 30, 2010

Best answer: I've been on both sides of this as a musician and as a musician's wife, and I don't see how you could get out of this without really hurting his feelings. I'd understand if you'd been going to dozens of his shows and would like to scale back, but this being such a new relationship and your first opportunity to see him play, you need to at least give it a chance. Yes, you may have seen many mediocre shows in the past but you haven't seen *him* perform, and that's what's important.

What I would recommend to ease your pain for this show is:
- Bring earplugs to help cut down on the loudness problem. (These cut the volume without adversely affecting the sound, I like them much better than the foam ones.)
- Bring a friend to keep you company since he'll probably be busy most of the time.
- If you think the alcohol might be an issue, have a plan beforehand for what and how much you'll drink.
- If at all possible, get your hands on at least a couple of their songs for you to listen to ahead of time, so the music won't be entirely unfamiliar. It's always nicer to recognize a few songs than to hear everything new for the first time. Plus, maybe you'll discover they're better than you expect.
- When you're there, watch the performance. Smile at him every once in a while. Not because you like the music, but simply because you like him. Sitting in a corner and frowning the whole time or reading a book is just as bad and maybe worse than someone opting to stay home.
- Even if you don't like the music or the band overall, you should still be able to come up with a little positive feedback for him. You don't have to overdo it, but try to find one or two nice things to say.

Good luck!
posted by platinum at 11:59 PM on July 30, 2010 [8 favorites]

If he's the dude for you, you'll go to his show. End of story. That's what you do for the people you love, i.e. the "dude for you." Otherwise, let him go and find someone who does love him. DTMFA and let him get on with his life.
posted by sanko at 12:18 AM on July 31, 2010 [7 favorites]

It's one show. Just one. Ever. That is three hours.
Does your love not extend far enough to give three hours of your time doing something you find boring because it is important to him? And do you have so little expectation of him as a musician that you think he must be just the same as all the other musicians, and that you aren't even slightly curious what he sounds like and acts like on stage?

Love is what you do. I say one three hour sacrifice of boredom on the sidelines is worth the message it sends to your boyfriend: "I don't care much for shows like this but I'm going because of you."
posted by Omnomnom at 12:31 AM on July 31, 2010 [7 favorites]

BTW, I don't know if you're talking about the same guy from this post or not but considering your general feelings about going to shows, I think this qualifies as a "grand gesture." Is this guy worth a grand gesture to you?
posted by platinum at 12:34 AM on July 31, 2010

Go. Bring a friend so that you have someone to chat with and won't be inclined to drink alone.
posted by studioaudience at 12:54 AM on July 31, 2010

go once or twice, smile when you think you should. then next time make an excuse
posted by the noob at 1:53 AM on July 31, 2010

Don't go and tell him why. Or just break up with him.
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:50 AM on July 31, 2010

2nding everything platinum said and wanted to add that you don't have to stay for every single band on the bill. Come a little later or leave a little earlier, depending on his time slot.
posted by corey flood at 7:17 AM on July 31, 2010

If you can't bring a friend, bring earplugs.

Best. Invention. Ever. (in these circumstances!)

But please, do go. It means a lot to people when the folks they love(ish) come to events that are particularly 'them': art exhibits, drag races, music shows in smokey bars.

He'll be sometimes doing things as a show of support for you, right? Right?

I thought so. Even if you don't have fun, you'll be building social capital. Heck, it's vaguely possible that one of these guys could be best man at your wedding, godfather to your child, or something. Don't go over the top, but do be a recognizeably pleasant part of your boyfriend's life.

Everybody wins.
posted by bilabial at 7:29 AM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's one show! For YEARS I drove bands and and their equipment around, then stood around for hours in crappy nightclubs to watch my friends' bands. This is your boyfriend! Sometimes you have to do things you don't necessarily want to do in order to support those you care about. It's not like he's asking you to tour with them, it's one show. There is no graceful way to avoid going, nor SHOULD you avoid going even if there were a graceful way to do so, this is an opportunity to see him do what he loves.
posted by biscotti at 7:48 AM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I disagree that you have to go. I think it depends on a few factors: how much it matters to him that you be there, how concerned you are about the drinking issue, how much hot/cramped spaces affect you physically, and whether or not there's anything you can do to mediate the negatives while still attending, such as bringing a friend or only attending part of the event.

I think it's totally ok to say, "[Boyfriend], I love you and think you're awesome, but rock shows are a place where I inevitably drink way more than I intend to, and my solution for the past several years has been to just not go. I want to be a loving and supportive girlfriend, but I'd really prefer not to attend your show because of the drinking issue." (Or make it about whatever other venue-related concerns you have--the noise, the crowding.) And then see how he reacts. However, I also think you should make a little more effort to find ways to make the experience better for yourself in case it really matters to him that you be there.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:24 AM on July 31, 2010


That your first impulse is to seek guidance on ducking out from strangers on the internet- instead of engaging in honest, adult conversation with new guy says a lot. Especially if you immediately cohabitated and are exchanging 'I love you's.'

Do whatever you want- since it seems that it's all about you, your preferences, and how you are perceived.
posted by mrdaneri at 8:56 AM on July 31, 2010 [5 favorites]

So you can say "I love you" after a month but not the truth? That's fucked up.
posted by Fuego at 9:17 AM on July 31, 2010 [5 favorites]

I'm maybe in my tenth year of listening to the dudes I date talk about their bands, and going to shows, and that general sort of thing. Frankly I'm a little sick of it.

I don't understand this. You like dating dudes that look like they're in bands? Why can't you just find a non-band person and dress up in leather & denim & t-shirts all the time?

I don't feel like going and being gracious and sweet and complimentary and blah blah.

Sounds like true love.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:44 PM on July 31, 2010

I almost never subscribe to the whole "there is some other subconsious feeling underlying your actual feeling" school but -- I think there's something else going on here. Obviously, you must know that going to your new boyfriend's first show as a couple is a social obligation you're not going to be able to get out of. So what is it that's making you so adverse to it? Why don't you like the roll of "the girlfriend"? Is it playing the very visible social role you don't like at this point in the relationship, or is it being "the girlfriend" you don't like, period? Is it the alcohol? Is it that he seems just like another boyfriend-in-a-band, and you're tired of that? There's something else going on here...
posted by yarly at 3:04 PM on July 31, 2010

All "you can't really love him" stuff is unnecessary, MeFi. Someone said it once, the rest just feels like snark and doesn't really answer the question. The OP is probably evaluating that anyhow because she asked the question. *gets off soapbox*
posted by ShadePlant at 3:09 PM on July 31, 2010

Girlfriend of musician here.

Do it this time. Even if you don't like it, you can find things to like or find interesting about it. When he asks you how you liked it, you'll have things to talk about -- "I really liked how you can switch back and forth between Danny's songs and Adam's songs, even though Danny is kind of mumblecore and Adam is sort of death metal. You make it work somehow." "It was really cool seeing everyone get excited for the show, both in the band and in the audience." Eventually, you'll find cool patterns and pick out your favorite songs, even if you wouldn't ordinarily pick them out in the car when you're on your own. And, of course, there's always a well-placed "I love watching you play." Because mmmmmm, sexy sweaty drummers.

But no, you're not expected to go to all of the shows. Get to know each other, and then talk to him about the things you like and things you don't like. Find out what he thinks are the really special events, and go to those for at least part of the time, and do it gladly, but it's okay to duck out on the more run-of-the-mill ones. It's like Christmas cookies: why gorge yourself on chocolate chip cookies or brownies when there won't be any room for the special sugar twists with brandied frosting? Enjoy the good ones and don't push yourself for the rest, and you'll be genuine in your enthusiasm.

You're not going to like the same things. So what? Find the things you do like and enjoy together, and then give each other support for the other stuff. It goes both ways, and I know you'll appreciate it when he comes to your art show/choir concert/mom's family's Thanksgiving dinner.
posted by Madamina at 3:33 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's only a couple of hours, and you think he might "be the one". Go. Or suck it up and try actually being honest with him. If you go and he sucks and you never want to go to another one again just tell him that you love him but you think his music sucks, or it isn't "your kind of music" or whatever. Maybe I'm just too blunt but I would go to the concert to make the effort (I mean, you've only been together a month how much effort have you actually had to make in this relationship?) and if he was awful, I'd be honest and tell him and if he broke up with me, then that's his problem. But I'd rather be the asshole that told him he was an awful musician (if it's true) than lie and bs and find excuses not to ever go to his gigs. I don't get why people have such a hard time with honesty.
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:37 PM on July 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

you're gonna let him skip your sister's wedding right?

All good.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:49 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

He's the one for you, but you write all his musical shit off just like that? You aren't even curious?

There's a chance he's pretty invested in it. Consider this the less snarky version of fcm's comment above.
posted by Wolof at 7:35 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

they're breaking up after this tour as he's moving from vancouver to this town -- so i think it's just the one show I have to avoid.

What if he joins another band? I wouldn't assume that this is the last show he'll ever play. If you don't address this now, there's no guarantee it's not going to happen again in the future.
posted by lucysparrow at 9:50 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

there's definitely more to your story than you're letting on...

and it's more than not wanting to listen to a band, isn't it?

you say his music will be "probably mediocre"...are you implying that you have not even listened to any of it yet?

what it is that you're actually trying to avoid?? (it's not the concert)
posted by DavidandConquer at 3:11 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ultimately, if being in a band is something he's very passionate about, you're going to have to support that if you want to be in a relationship with him.

My wife isn't in bands, but she directs choirs and has various music gigs throughout the year. I'm not really particularly interested or disinterested in her music, but that's irrelevant. If she needs me to be there, I'm there. In return, I expect her to really be there for me when I really need her and to not expect me to be there when it doesn't really matter. She's good at saying, "I really want you to come to this." and "You'd be bored, just stay home this time." depending on the gig.

Basically, the two of you have to meet in the middle. And you have to tell him that the bar-band thing is a pretty uncomfortable scene for you. That way he can decide which gigs he'd really like you to come to, while understanding that every single gig is going to be too much for you.
posted by specialnobodie at 1:52 PM on August 2, 2010

« Older big printer   |   Stick figure family decals? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.