Let’s NOT Talk About Sex:
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The Dating Life of the Modern Musician
IN a piece tomorrow…
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I will look at the idea of net neutrality: there are plans to ban it and, with that, it would take power from independent musicians and eliminate free-speech. I am concerned there are higher-ups who are trying to take powers and expression way from people. It is a subject that will rage on and will reach its peak next month – protests will be held on 7th to stop the FCC killing the Internet as we know it. I will talk about the effect this will have on musicians – and the ramifications of possible changes – but it got me thinking about the safety and rights of musicians. I wanted to raise a subject, now, that has been put to the front of my mind the last couple of days. I know many female musicians and quite a few of them are single. The demands of the industry means the day is spent working (at a regular job) or promoting your sounds: the nights, often involve social media time and more promotion. If the weekends, to most, offer a chance to run into the wild and neglect the need to obsesses over work we hate: for musicians; there is no such relief and downtime. I am in that boat, too. I spend most of my available time, away from work, writing.
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Sat at a laptop – with a wall for a view – is, perhaps, not the best way to spend my time on Earth but the rewards I get (seeing musicians get their work to new audiences) provides satisfaction. At the end of it all; I have the desire to make this thing a full-time career and give up the daily drudge. The female artists I know have this desire and hunger – there are men who fall into this argument, too. We all need to relax and kick back: dating and love is a good way of doing that. Even if you’re in an industry as hectic and demanding as music; you need to think about relationships and yourself – it cannot always be about work and stress. The modern way of working means artists/music creatives have to rely on the Internet to find love. There is an array of dating websites that cover all tastes and demands. Whether you pay for a subscription – or have a free trial – it means you have access to thousands of available singletons. I think men are at risk of this but it mainly applies to women: the dangers of the Internet and the type of ‘catch’ you will find there. It seems odd mentioning it on a music blog but I feel musicians are among the busiest around. Their lives are packed and it can often be hard to schedule any time for sex – let alone love or anything long-term.
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It might seem sexist saying females are more vulnerable but is the opposite: it is men who create the danger and have raised alarm. I have heard stories, over the past few weeks, of female musicians taking to dating sites in the hope of finding a companion – the horror stories and testimonies that have come back go beyond the comical or peculiar. I know one or two women who, after trial-and-error and a marathon, have found someone who isn’t a complete degenerate. There are, however, so many who are either being bombarded by lurid comments and innuendo; sent explicit pictures and asked to perform pornographic acts – all before they have even met or spoken to one another! Maybe this is the way the modern world is changing: the Internet means there are more people out there; more ways people can get in touch; fewer barriers and vast opportunities to commit crimes and behave appallingly. The fact the Internet creates great access around the world is a bittersweet blessing/curse – it can be great for music and promotion but not so reliable when it comes to human relationships! I am not talking about some harmless misunderstandings and ill-advised comments: there are actual offences and perversities committed! That may not seem shocking or unusual in this age. That, in itself, says a lot about our generation and the way they abuse technology/others. I was affected by a recent story – she will remain anonymous – where a female musician set up a date with a man and came away having to report a crime.
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The details were not disclosed but it left her shocked, appalled and scarred. That is something nobody wants to see and it makes me wonder how many women are at-risk and vulnerable. I mention this in the context of musicians because they have so little time free – the Internet can be the easiest option and a way of connecting with others. Even if the interaction (online) is agreeable and pleasant; that does not mean the person you will meet during that date acts the same way. I guess that is the risk with any blind dates but one can find a lot more seediness and unseemly men on the Internet than via the conventional blind date channels. I have heard similar stories from someone who is a successful beauty blogger – she has been on a string of dates and, with each man, has found things that have turned her stomach (not so much to turn her head!). Maybe this is a problem consistent with other industry but it seems creatives, musicians especially, are falling prey to some horrible deplorable characters. Maybe songwriters/musicians go for a particular type but I am concerned the industry itself is becoming less sociable. My proposed solutions are a little contradictory: having a bespoke, and safe, dating website; making sure there are more social outlets for musicians who are busy with work. If one has to go down the Internet route – the cost of endless dating and commuting means electronic contact is more practical – that does not mean they have to subject themselves to a torrent of smut, creepiness and, at times, assault.
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I have mentioned a couple of women but, when talking about their experiences, there has been actual abuse and criminality. I cannot guarantee that any new dating website will keep the creeps out; nor will it guarantee those who join are dependable and decent – there needs to be something done that protects women. I know there has been some specialised music dating websites. I do not think any of them are that successful or discussed. Certainly, from my experience, websites like Match.com, Plenty of Fish and eHarmony UK are the big boys. If you have the need - and feel like you need something more highbrow – then you can join websites where they are more thorough with their schematics and algorithms. All of these sites have their pitfalls and traps – Tinder, actually, seems to be the worst of them. I cannot say whether there is a psychological correlation between the type of man that frequents Tinder – and those who go on to make women feel uncomfortable. If there was a website that was reserved to musical personnel – D.J.s, musicians and D.J.s; producers, directors and the like – then that would erase so many potential misfits; mean there was a common thread and the users would instantly have more in common with one another. The name is not easy to get – one feels the word ‘strings’ would have to come in; No-Strings-Attached might suggest something casual and sex-based – but that would come in time. We need something that provides this safe haven and is properly invigilated. Moderators and ‘Internet police’ can keep an eye on comments and make sure there is more thorough vetting when people subscribe. It should be charged but not so artists/musicians are priced-out and feel pinched.
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One could, quite easily, create an online portal/website that was a community for music-lovers and musicians. It need not be anything as defined as a dating website: a lot of artists, who are single, are looking for friendship and company as much as love. There is that option where one could easily communicate with someone who shares the same passions – those passions are kept pure (until appropriate) in an environment that is warm and friendly. Anyone caught contravening and contradicting the codes of the site would be swiftly and permanently ejected. I have been speculating and playing with the idea of a music website for a few years now – maybe that is an incorporation I could make! What we do need (myself included) is a site where the artist/creative can go and chat if they want to; they can agree to meet for a chat; they can organise a date – without fear of discrimination, attack or abuse. That might sound simple but, in reality, most of the dating sites around will feature the worse elements. The new site – whatever it will be named – would be a lot firmer with regards those who perpetrate false morals; provide greater surveillance and ensure any women (or man) who is being spoken to in degrading terms would be protected. I, for one, would welcome a dating/friendship site that was reserved for people like me; where I could get quality and familiarity – getting that convenience and conviviality into the bargain!
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Whilst is paramount we purify Internet dating and make sure female musicians – and anyone who uses them – do not feel threatened and unsafe; there is a school of thought that argues getting out into the ‘real world’ is a better option. I have said how many artists/writers do not have a bag of time to go out meeting potential mates. If we were to combine music/work into a more sociable environment then that, one would hope, gets rid of the issue?! I know there are gigs and bars but they can often be crowded and reserved for those who want to watch artists – rather than chat and flirt. Coffee shops are an option but is there something especially for a musician? Whether it is as extensive as creating bars/cafes that tailor to the dating/work-life demands of musicians/artists, I am not sure. It would be good to turn existing venues/spaces into places those harried and stressed can go and relax. Maybe having a dating/socialising night would be a solution. There would be music but the atmosphere would be curating to promote fun and a degree of peace–keeping the sworded types out of the door and making the environment sociable and secure. There are dating nights and special events for people to meet others but so much of the time people have to use the Internet for their dating needs. There is, as I have outlaid, ways of making a site that erases (most of) the dangers and is a spot where similarly-minded folks can chat (and more).
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How does one replicate that for the real-world streets?! One need only walk through a city like London and realise how busy and sociable it is. A lot of this ‘socialising’ can involve a lot of alcohol and the liaisons born from this can be rather brief and forgettable – where one picks up their underwear with a sore head and regrets everything. The focus is not on sex and instant gratification: ensuring musicians/artists can find love/companions that last a long time. Not only will that strip away the degradation experienced when navigating the likes of Tinder: it means they have stressed relieved and get to experience love. I am seeing too many people – mainly females, to be honest – who are meeting dodgy men and bemoaning the lack of quality out there. Their time is precious and the strike-rate on dating sites is not always that high. I would welcome a new website but feel one could easily utilise somewhere like a café and host dating nights. Maybe it does not need to have that pretence: organise a sociable gig/gathering and singles, if they choose, can go there and mingle in a space they feel comfortable in. The Internet provides a place where those shyer and more nervous can project confidence and not have to feel intimidated. I know many balk at the concept of chatting to the opposite sex in intimate terms. The Internet prevents instant nerves but, in the long-run, it makes bonding a lot harder.
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I agree modern dating and socialising is expensive; we do not all have time of an evening to go out and meet people – or go to bars in the hope somewhere, someone will be spark a fuse. The problem with relying on the traditional dating sites is there are too many bad experiences. Some of these might be amusing but, when you put them all together, what effect is this having on confidence and emotional well-being? A man/woman might be lovely and attractive but, given the way others treat them, be fooled into thinking they are the problem. The immeasurable psychological impact means many will stop dating and trying to find someone. That can then lead to severe emotional issues and depression – they might never feel safe and confident meeting anyone. Music demands attention and passion but there are so many out there who have passion and time left to give to someone else. Creating nights/spaces where people can dance, chat and meet – like a club/pub but better music/people there – would be a good idea. With so many venues closing; one wonders how people are spending their nights. Maybe the cost of licenses is an issue: maybe people are going out less because they find it cheaper staying in. I know there are artists, musicians and talent out there who are being hurt by Internet dating and want to connect with a nice, decent human being. I am concerned the Internet is not protecting people and, for those women who are victims of predators and the perverse, the penalties are either non-existent or not strict enough.
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Let’s create – either a dating website or bespoke nights/locations – where we can feel comfortable in and, one hopes, discover people a lot nicer and more attractive (than what lurks on dating sites). If we can do that, and allow musicians a better and more sociable balance, that will not only impact on their wellbeing and happiness – it will result in better music and an industry where those looking for love are not frustrated and depressed to the extent of serious emotional damage. It is another concern that needs addressing but it can be done. In it 2017 and single people should not have to feel bad about their status: they should not, if they choose to change it, have to struggle so hard to avoid catfishes. The world is getting darker and more stressful: the need for love and togetherness is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Dating and love is not reserved to a particular class or human…
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IT is something we all deserve!