I hanker for a lot of things from my dating days and my youth. But one of the things I don’t miss is the awkward feeling, early on in a hook up, that the men I wanted to fuck were playing music at me. A fairly common scenario involved me sitting on my hands and trying not to lean in for a kiss too soon, while a hot guy commandeered the stereo, picked an album and told me: “you’re going to love this, I know it.” Few of my dates ever let me pick the music.
This doesn’t really matter, in the long run. I didn’t go home weeping because I didn’t get to pick the music, and apart from a couple of awkward moments when weird songs came on mid-fuck, there were rarely times when I wanted to turn it all off completely.
But when I was in my teens, straight boys I knew would ask me for advice about girls: how do I get so-and-so to like me? How do I get whatsherface to snog me? And I realised that maybe part of the answer lies here.
When I was at University, I fell hard for a boy who loved his music. He introduced me to sad American singer/songwriters and dragged me along to gigs. I’d bop my head and enjoy some of it, hate some other bits, and all the while he’d look at me with this dopey-excited grin that said “you’re gonna love this – I know it.”
Meanwhile guy friends kept asking me: how do I get this one girl to like me? How can I impress so-and-so?
A sea of eager straight men, bopping their heads and grinning with music-inspired joy, showing women they fancy the songs that they love, crossing their fingers and hoping the tunes will impress them.
What did they want, these men? They wanted, genuinely, for us to love their music. They wanted us to bond over the songs they played, shout an instant ‘YES!’ of delight and start dancing along with them. Perhaps they’d been taught that the way to a woman’s heart was through the right catchy chorus or the perfect refrain. Maybe they just loved their music so much that they couldn’t imagine me not feeling the same feelings they had when it started to play.
But they’d ask me, these men: how do I get women to like me? And now: how do I get women to fuck me? Get my wife to try my fetish? My girlfriend to love my kinks? My brand-new-date to see that there’s more to me than shyness, and when I’m comfortable I’ll be confident and fun?
They grin, and they press ‘play’ on their favourite track, and they cross their fingers and hope she will like it.
It’s very straight, this blog post, and it’s niche as fuck in other ways too. It’s about guys who want to fuck girls, ones who do so by playing music. There’s a possibility that the music analogy will only really work for people exactly like me: who crushed on too many indie kids when they were younger, and wondered why this music ritual was necessary before almost every fuck.
But fuck it – sometimes these examples make you realise something broader about the whole. And other times you can ignore them because they don’t apply, no harm done and you can move on with your life.
The other night, as I was dancing with my partner to a playlist I’d made ten years ago, it struck me that there’s a piece of advice I had never given before, which may have made a difference to the men who used to ask for advice:
If you want to play music that someone will love, give them control of the stereo.
Want to impress a date with tunes? Let them pick the music. If you want them to feel comfortable and happy and loved: let them pick the music. If you want them to fall into your arms and snog your face off with enthusiastic glee… let them pick the music.
It’s no guarantee, of course. No matter how good the track it can’t make you fall for someone you didn’t like a bit to start with, but this music thing… it matters. Because men I met from my teens through my twenties had all been told the same bullshit thing: that you’re in control and it’s up to you to do this ‘seduction’ thing right. Choose well or fuck up. Put the stereo on, play her your music, and you’d better hope you’ve picked a decent track.
Not one guy ever offered me free rein on the stereo. Very few asked what I actually liked. All of them, at some point, told me: “you’ll love this, I know it.” Meanwhile I was squirming and hoping and calculating just how overjoyed I needed to be about the latest shitty Radiohead album, wondering why I had to dance this dance and play these games when all I wanted to do was lie down with him on top of me and frot until one of us came in our pants. Their music – their seduction – was actively getting in the way of what I really, truly wanted. But I didn’t know how to say so, because I’d been taught to be polite, and quiet, and patient.
And maybe this is just me, but I doubt it. For every straight guy who’s been taught that they should be a mindreader when it comes to romance, there’s a straight girl who’s been taught that she should smile and be polite.
There’s no guaranteed way to get snogs, to get laid, or make someone fall in love with you, but it can’t hurt to start by listening to them. Instead of juggling your favourite stories and tricks and ideas and albums, hoping that one of them might hit the right note, consider asking instead: what do you like?
How about you pick the music?