Having a drink with an old friend and listening to some live music in my hometown pub a voice comes from the stage “hey young man, are you dating that young lady with you? Because if you’re not, I wouldn’t mind doing so…” I blush inwardly, I can’t help it, there’s a vain part of me that loved that attention; and to be picked out of a crowded pub did something for my ego as well (even if it was a rather small place). My friend not missing a beat says “she’s not mine, we’re friends”, and then turns to me smiling “you have an admirer”. I didn’t get too excited about this, sure this guy with shaggy dark hair, twinkling eyes, and awesome stage presence/confidence is really cute and is engaging us; but I have to remember: musician. I try not to paint all with the same brush here but it has to be understood, pub/bar musicians (male and female) have to turn it on and flirt with the audience to get them interested in their show and them, that’s how you create a following and fans so they will come back and see you. I get that… We were decidedly this night’s focus to try to get out to another show, during the set break my friend and I get the attention of this boyishly handsome musician. “I’m playing tomorrow night at a town only 30 minutes from here”, my friend quickly declines as he’s working but where this guy is playing is the town I am currently living in. I’m single, I have no plans, and I adore classic rock music which seems to be this guy’s main repertoire. “Sure, I may be able to make that”. “Great, I hope to see you there”, he responds then goes back to the stage to finish his set… It’s harmless, I get to give him the sense of accomplishment of accumulating another fan, and I have no plans the next night and get to go out rather than sitting at home alone on a Friday night.
A lot of my friends are married, with children or have partners, so finding a last minute date to go out to a pub on a Friday night was near to impossible. Well, just because I’m single and can’t find someone to go out to do something fun with, should I just sit at home? No, I’m quite confident and happy with my own company. And being in the same town, if I wasn’t having fun, it was easy enough to get home. I went to see this guy’s gig by myself. I went to the pub, sat myself at the end of the bar and took in the show. I love live music, and if the musicians are good it makes the experience that much more enjoyable, and if they have a broad repertoire even better! This guy was like a human jukebox, and quite impressive. First set done he came right over to me, I didn’t even think he noticed that I came in (this was a bigger place than the first time I saw him). He sat down with a drink and chatted, asked questions about me, asked what I did for a living, and in turn talked about himself, where he played, what he aspired to do; that was nice of him to sit with me instead of circulating and working the crowd, he had noticed I was by myself and took pity on me, and that was good business, every fan appreciated. He went back to do the next set of the show, and the bartender placed a whiskey and soda in front of me smiling and nodding toward the stage “from him”.
Admittedly, I swooned a bit from the attention. I still very much kept my head about me that it was flirting and part of the gig, but it didn’t stop me from giving my number when it was requested at the end of the evening. The allure of the musician, exciting lifestyle, and Mr. Wrong, were very appealing attributes at the time. I view myself as quite average, I work a day job, I can go out and party every now and then, I can even perform and have my own talents; but this guy travelled Canada, played numerous shows (this was all he did for a living). Maybe because this was exciting for me at the time, I could live vicariously through him, all while I had my safe and secure life.
We seemed to have quite a few common interests despite an age gap; which was totally unexpected upon meeting him as I had guessed him in his mid 30s (me in my mid 20s at the time). During a first date he was talking about his son to which I said “oh how sweet, how old is your little boy?” “Um, 19”, he replied with a bit of an awkward pause. I did a quick math in my head, okay wow, I only have 7 years on junior. Apparently Mr. Wrong was 17 years my senior. But in most circumstances age is just a number, I said most circumstance, not all (future blog to come on my views on this topic).
We went out for dates as often as his scheduling allowed, we had a great time together, even managed a trip or two in his down time. I think we kept the semblance of some sort of casual dating relationship for 8 months. And I did the good “musician’s girlfriend” thing, I went to gigs, I smiled and socialized with the fans/regulars, I listened to his recorded material, provided critique, encouragement, and enjoyed the time of something that I all the while knew was not going to be going far.
In retrospect, I can remember thinking about the red flags as they popped up, and still going forward. We all have that little checklist that we go through in the dating process and looking for that forever partner (“checklists”—another future blog topic), we don’t just focus on appeal, attraction and interests, for those of us who want that family some day we look for financial stability (or some semblance of it). Mr. Wrong was a travelling musician, had no real home base, and essentially lived on the road.. This was red flag number one.. Mr. Wrong travelled all of the time, he worked nights and I worked days, and driving all of the time allowed him very little communication as well. To nurture and grow a proper relationship, we needed a lot more time to spend together in something so new and getting to know eachother… That was red flag number two… And the last significant red flag was the places we were at in life, Mr. Wrong already raised his child, but for benefit of dating a younger woman I’m sure, debated having more at his point in life. Did any of these red flags make him a bad person or mean that he didn’t treat me anything less than great? No, not at all. We had a great time with eachother.
Why was any time put into Mr. Wrong do you ask? Why do some of us do this? Because I am not the first, nor the last to invest time into some form of relationship all the while pretty sure that it’s not going to go anywhere. I have a few theories, and again I cannot stress enough, this blog is reflection and speculation of MY experiences and analyze my personal situations.. Mr. Wrong had talent and excitement in the travelling and partying aspects of his lifestyle, it’s sometimes said that we crave in others what we are lacking in our own lives, well these things were appealing to me at the time, but not present in my life. Also though, because I recognized these red flags, Mr. Wrong was a “safe thing” if you will, he wasn’t going to get overly invested in me and I wasn’t going to get overly invested in him, therefore keeping an emotional hurt to a minimal.
I think these relationships are okay and can be a learning experience, and they can allow for a stress free companionship, as long as both parties are honest and up front. If you go into something and think you can change someone to fit your idea of “Mr./Mrs. Right” you could be fighting a losing battle. Be clear to yourself what it is you’re wanting and looking for, and if that ever changes, it may be best to let other involved parties know too. For what it’s worth at the time, for Mr. Wrong and I, at that particular point in life he was what I needed and I think I was what he needed.
BUT, if you’re looking for Mr. Right, I think you should put out there what you’re looking for and pay attention to those red flags, we should not be settling for anything less than what we deserve.
Maybe a simple practice can be found in this, it’s an easy thought to be honest with others and what you’re looking for and wanting in your life/relationships, but make sure you’re honest with yourself too. We will only get into the type of relationships that we allow ourselves to, whether right or wrong.