I was in h&m recently and they had all these band girlfriend related shirts. One read, “I fancy the lead singer.” Another one said (yep) “Meet me backstage.” I couldn’t roll my eyes hard enough.
I want to find all the young ladies who would buy such a thing & invite them over to live with me for a week. It’s not super glam. Actually, I want to find the assholes who thought those shirts were a good idea & tell them to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that young women have way more going for them than who they date. Those shirts should say “I am the lead singer” or STFU.
There is a lot of mythology about being a lady who dates a band dude.
It’s both glamourizing and vilifying & usually simultaneously slut-shaming and infantilizing – and all of it is total garbage, of course. Come over & watch me play fetch with the dog a lot, make dinner for one, find another way to say “wish you were here.” The other day I was getting home after the bars closed & sent a drunk one-liner of an email to Nick, who was just waking up. We had a very hilarious skype conversation & that’s the closest thing there is in my life to an actual date.
I think the reason I write these posts is mostly to demonstrate that being a partner to someone who has a cool job is absolutely no substitute for being cool yourself. And because I have come across this far too often, I want to say right now that I don’t think that means that the girlfriends of male musicians need to also be in bands. There is more to life than music you know (but not much more.)
I’ve been reading through all the band girlfriend posts at Bossy Femme because there’s officially one week to go & the introspective part of me can’t resist the urge to see if my summer so far has turned out how I expected it to. Before Nick left I kept saying, “Four months is one quarter of a year and so much happens in a year.” How true that is.
Here’s my big truth: I am a little bit sad that my single lady lifestyle is coming to a close.
It has been wonderful to have total control over my time and resources. I decide if I am going out or staying home. I decide what’s for dinner & when it is served. I can immerse myself in my interests with an intense focus. I can stay up very late & get up very early without disturbing anyone. Single ladies got it going on, basically. In fact, I kinda think that the single lady lifestyle should inspire more people.
I was saying to a friend that Nick’s classic-country tastes will be a shock to my witch-hoppy system. I haven’t heard anything with a pedal steel in months & all the music I listen to rhymes “bitch” with “bitch.” Nick and I have a great deal of interests in common and I really miss being able to do “our stuff”, or to have someone around who “gets it” about something that my other friends aren’t into – but this has been a wonderful summer intensive of delving into the things I like that are solely mine.
I know that lots of people fear that they will “lose themselves” in their relationships & if anything this time to be alone feels like an absolute gift. There are an awful lot of people who only know me as “Nick’s girlfriend” & even tho many of those people have become great friends, it’s still been lovely to just be myself. And it’s been even better to spend a huge amount of time with my friends – being able to put my energies towards building support & trust & good times with these people makes my heart lighter.
Still: love is pretty rad.
I don’t want anyone to read this post & think that my point is somehow that this relationship isn’t especially important to me. More than anything, I think that the result of all this time apart is a great reinforcement that our relationship is based on this idea that we don’t need each other, but we do choose each other anyway, & that is fundamental to me.
Lots of the things that Nick and I talk about are dreams & plans for the future together and basically that future gets to start up again as soon as he is back & I am really excited to actually do all the things!
And another secret:
Next week is pretty much the pinnacle of band girlfriend perks. I get to spend hours doing some car-talk bonding, and I get to have hotel sex, and I get to see my friends and great bands and friends in bands pretty much for free, and I get to sleep on whatever floor all those pals are staying on, and I get to visit my best friend for a tiny bit of time, and I get to go to the ocean, & I think I get to listen to Nick Ferrio & His Feelings sing a few of the songs that Nick wrote about me when he was away last summer, too.
Band girlfriend lifestyle. Not glamourous. Not (that) slutty. But still pretty okay, sometimes, you know?
Last time I was at my parents’ house I ended up flipping through an album of photos taken of my parents and their friends when they were in their mid-20s. It’s strange to look at the people in these photos and see faces that look so much like my own friends. It’s wonderful to look at these people & think about all the awesome shit that will happen next that they don’t know about yet.
And I won’t lie – it is also amazing to see how much my parents *like* each other, and how that is one thing that hasn’t changed.
It’s also kind of funny to see how much my taste in vintage clothes is so similar to what my mom wore the first time around. Or how my sort of “retro” decorating style matches the apartments in these photos. In one of the photos I didn’t scan, my dad’s friend was wearing an embroidered denim button-up that was identical to one I sold to a customer at work a little while ago.
The first time I saw this polaroid I thought it was a picture of me. My mom is an original bossy femme type – always in charge & taking care of everybody. It’s nice to see her looking quiet & contemplative.
This photo is from a bit later – around the time that my younger brother was born. The pals my mom is with in this photo live in the same city as me & sometimes all four of us get together for coffee. Maybe one day Gretchen will look at party photos of me and Desiree & feel All The Feelings too.
Straight up, my dad was a babe. People like to tell me about my hot mom (I know right?) but seriously.
Aww look at this! The dude on the left is still friends with dad & he turned out to be a professional photographer. All you vintage camera nerds can eat your hearts out.
This is a very zoomed-in crop of a mirror photo but I couldn’t resist. Tiny Iris with – an asymmetrical bowl cut! How’s that for personal style? Look how young my dad is in this picture! I feel like he looks younger than my friends are now. What the fuck! (Okay, it’s true, I am now the same age as my mom when she got pregnant with me, but I am in denial.)
Do you have “vintage” family photos? I wanna see. Someday I will scan the pictures of my fashionista great-grandma (my namesake) & your minds will be blown.
Back home. My whole house is covered in empty iced tea containers & abandoned coffee cups & receipts & bits of yarn & discarded clothes.
It’s hot. Fashion doesn’t exist when it’s this hot. Priorities: no sunburn, no chafing, no heat exhaustion, no sweat stains.
No underwire no shoes no pants no problem.
Yesterday it thunderstormed & I sat on the porch and watched the rain. Gulls struggling to stay aloft. Horizontal wind.
My plants are slumped away from the windowpanes & my dog is hiding under the dinner table. The weather creeps in.
Today is the first day of the summer and I feel like more has happened in the last few days than in the last few months.
Here are a few excellent moments:
- Arriving at my friends’ apartment while they are at work. Laying in their hammock in the middle of the city, drinking beer, knitting, not thinking about anything.
- Waking up to a power outage and walking over to a hip little cafe hidden in a residential neighbourhood. All the neighbours were there too, wearing as little as possible in the heat, thankful that someone’s coffee maker still has power.
- My friend shared her favourite childhood dessert: little baked pods of dough filled with honey that you have to tilt your head back to eat.
- Chatted about grown-up shit with my younger brother. Tattoos and art and jobs. Love. Cities. Anxiety.
- When strangers become new friends. When you find yourself sitting around a kitchen table with some old friends, wondering why it has been so long…
- Sorted through some things I’d kept at my parents’ house. Dug out some embarrassing and lovely millennial pre-teen ephemera. Fairy wings & poetry books. Hand-beaded jewellery. Smiley faces on everything.
- Time to think. Compliments from strangers. Happy friends with good news.
- Showed up to Toronto with bare nails because I was betting that Claire would suggest a manicure party – and she did.
Okay babes. Let’s keep in touch. Stay hydrated. If you go somewhere to keep cool, make sure to tip huge! Cuddle your animals for me.
Right now Nick’s season of faraway touring is about halfway over. This feels like two things:
We’re already halfway through!
We’re only halfway through…
I’ve been taking stock a bit about what has happened since I wrote this post in March about the beginning of tour season. And again about whether I still agree with what I said at the beginning of May, when the European part of the tour started.
Have I been doing everything I thought I would do? What have I learned since then? What has happened in my life? Is Nick missing anything I haven’t been able to tell him about?
We are pretty good at keeping in touch long distance but not being able to actually touch is the part that is difficult. More than all the sexy makeouts, what I miss most is some physical proximity. Being close enough together to hold hands. Sitting at the same table at a cafe.
I think that was probably the most accurate thing I have said about this issue. Two months in I am less likely to make a sexy makeouts disclaimer – I totally miss those. But also I am most lonely when I see couples doing regular stuff. Totally jealous of people who can pick out produce at the market side by side, who can hold hands in the car, who can lean into each other sitting at the bar. I miss making Nick perfect at-home cappuccinos. I miss listening to him play the same song over & over so he can get it just right. I miss stealing all the blankets in the middle of the night.
In past years I suspect I’ve felt resentful that Nick’s bands essentially press the “pause” button on our relationship, but I no longer think that’s true. We are closer than we were months ago. With nothing but email to go on we have become focussed & active listeners. We have more opportunities to talk about what we want to do next. I have to figure out so many synonyms for my feelings or I risk repeating myself. How is this sort of progress different than a couple of months would be like, in person? I’m not sure. But I know that my sense of trust in us, together, is stronger than it has ever been.
Some days I feel like there is so much that I’ve accomplished & that I wish I could share. Other days I feel like my life is minuscule compared to the stories that arrive in my inbox. My guess is that those things are simultaneously true.
Nick has been to the end of the country, & back, and across an ocean, & everywhere. I left my city once, to visit my parents about an hour and a half away. Nick’s life is so global and mine is hyper-local. He could be two hours away from me & I would not have noticed any difference. Even around here I don’t go anywhere that I can’t even walk to. There are such drastic shifts in perspective between the two of us, I’m not sure how we do it. I used to be astonished that this dude would be able to be with a person who didn’t have some travel stories to reciprocate. Now I’m just very thankful about that.
Once Bridget asked me what I planned to do with the time apart & I said I wanted to knit a bunch of sweaters. “Like a sailor’s wife!” she said. I find this comparison somewhat pleasant, tho most of the sweaters I’d want to make are for me. The most accurate way of understanding the distance between Nick & me would be to calculate how many yards of yarn I’ve knit, how many stitches. How would those compare to the kilometres between the two of us? At home Nick wants me to stop knitting so we can just cuddle, but now there are no such interruptions.
I brought home Margaret Atwood’s Penelopead from the library last week. I hadn’t thought about this before I took the book home, but it’s also about a lady who makes things while her partner is far far away. Perhaps the right books find you at the right times. Peggy! Thank you.
In all though, looking backwards to the middle of March when I had a live-in boyfriend seems so long ago I don’t even really remember what it’s like. Getting through the same amount of time again is simultaneously something I know I will have no trouble doing and something that I don’t know how I will manage.
I don’t have any big events or projects planned, but in the meantime Nick is talking about visiting a record-breaking number of places & also recording an album. Will I get through my Age of Acid Empires Dress? Will I be able to find some time and some money to visit my friends who live a couple of hours away? In the next province over? By comparison these are such small things but I have the tiniest budget.
I feel like at this point I’m over being self-righteous about how independent of a lady I am & I’m willing to do some absurd bargaining. What would I trade for a chance to just sleep in the same bed for one night? To have Nick show up on the patio for a beer sometime? To be able to walk the dog together? I’m still disappointed that no one has figured out teleportation. How I would love to be able to just have a quick lunch with Nick before work sometime. There are so many mundane & spectacular things I want to chat about.
I’m just going to try to be myself, stay in touch, and try to be patient.
The bio for this website promises many things, not least of which is some content about my best friend here. In fact, Julia sent me an email requesting that I follow through with some puppy photos already. In most cases, any photo you try to take just ends up being a fuzzy blur with a slobbery tennis ball being shoved at the camera lens. Bitch likes to exercise. Today I think the humidity did her in.
I think I mentioned that I’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible outside… this makes a huge difference to be but especially to this lady. Any time she’s home alone she sits in front of our living room window watching the world go by. When I open my curtains in the morning I tell Geraldine that I am turning her tv on. Being able to actually be out on the porch pretty much blows Geraldine’s mind – I’m pretty sure she thinks she is inside the television. Everything is in 3D!
What a coy little bitch. This dog is absolutely as bossy and vain as I am. She is growing out those dreadlocks between her toes & won’t let me get anywhere near them.
I often find myself talking about my dog as if she’s a person… and sometimes don’t notice until halfway through a story about her that whoever I am talking to doesn’t know that she is a puppy rather than a human roommate. Geraldine has a heart as big as her appetite, which is to say – enormous.
There’s absolutely something reassuring and healing about having her around – it’s a little bit tactile & a lot about having some extra company. I couldn’t get through these months-long boyfriend absences without this cuddle buddy, even if she does get her fur on all my clothes.
Please link me to photos of your pets too – I wanna see!