Strong relationships are built on a foundation of trust, respect, affection and, of course, MUSIC! So naturally, the record store is a great date spot, whether it be your first date, or one of many nights on the town. We’ve witnessed many a couple shopping these isles, together, and we’ve seen how a shared love for music can strengthen those bonds. We’ve also seen how some shitty behavior can make that first date quickly turn into a last date. So, here are just a few Do’s and Don’ts when choosing the record store for your tryst.
Personally, I prefer to shop alone, stuck in my own thoughts, browsing at my leisure. But, if I’m going to make the choice to share that experience with someone else, I need to make sure that I am working to make them as comfortable as I feel in that space. While I don’t want to hover (we’ll get back to this), I want to be mindful of my date’s body language. Do they look uncomfortable, or lost? Maybe show them your favorite section to browse, first. Are they super comfortable and know exactly how to navigate on their own? Ask them some questions about what they like, or about their most exciting record store find.
Don’t Walk In Like You Own The Place
Last I checked, Kimber Lanning owns Stinkweeds and she’s way cooler than any of us will ever be. So, just be excited to share something owned by the coolest person in town. Just because you knew about it first doesn’t mean you have any more ownership over it than anyone else. You’re bringing someone here to share in the awesomeness. You’re not showing them your personal collection! So, bring yourself down a peg and have a good time with your date!
Make a Game of It!
Maybe challenge yourself and your date to buy one thing you know about and one thing you’ve never heard of. Maybe hit that bargain bin and see who can find the weirdest album cover. Sure, music is great for all those nights spent alone, crying in your mac and cheese, but it can also be a fun adventure for two people!
You both have your own taste and might be looking for totally different styles of music. Don’t think for a second that this has any bearing on your relationship or potential relationship. As we’ve learned from Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat, “We come together, ’cause opposites attract.” So, while you need to let your love interest be their own person, make sure to be mindful that you are your own person also. Don’t be constantly looking over their shoulder, wondering what they’re looking at, or (even worse) criticizing their taste because it’s not the same as yours. That’s garbage behavior. Knock it off!
Swap Some Records!
This is low stakes intimacy at its finest! Offer to lend your date a record that you really like! Maybe they’re up for loaning you one of their favorites. If this is a first date, DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT offer to buy them a record! That’s long term relationship behavior and you don’t want to come off too strong on a first date. You’re still just friends and we don’t usually start buying our friends stuff the first time we hang out. But, letting them borrow something that means something to you can really send them home with something to think about. It’s like loaning a jacket when it’s cold, or an umbrella when it’s raining. You’re showing that you care enough to make someone’s night a little better, but it doesn’t have the baggage of currency exchange. This exchange is probably best when it’s mutual, with both parties lending out a favorite. That way, the responsibility is balanced and no one needs to feel more awkward than the other.
Don’t Be A Showoff!
This is the one that I’ve seen end some dates in my many years working at a record store. Now, I don’t want you to think I’m eavesdropping on all of our customers’ date nights, but it’s really hard to ignore someone running their mouth off about how “Led Zeppelin is the best band ever” and how “You’re an idiot if you don’t like Led Zeppelin, while the other person just stands with their hands folded, eyes rolled to the sky. You’re not just ruining your date; you’re ruining Led Zeppelin and you’re ruining music. Just don’t do it.
Keep it lite!
Music can be a very personal and sometimes painful thing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep those memories and emotions bottled up. But If this date goes well, you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future to talk about the records your ex “stole” from you, or about how The Mountain Goats album “Get Lonely” helped you get over your ex leaving you with all your records, or how much you used to love The Cure, but can’t listen to them anymore because it was your ex’s favorite band…and also they stole your Cure records. In fact, maybe don’t bring up your ex, at all. That’s just some free, general dating advice. INSTEAD, talk about the music you love and why you love it! Talk about the bands you would drive out of town to see and how far you’d be willing to go! Show your date that you have a zest for life and that you might be someone who can open up some new worlds, and would be open to learning about their world.
Most of these rules cover this, but It still needs to be its own rule, because it’s the most important. Your taste in music doesn’t make you cool. Being cool makes you cool. Your date will learn more about you from the way you share the things you like than they will from the things you like. The record store is a great place to show someone the things you love and to learn about the things they love. But, show that love by not being snobby or territorial. Instead, be welcoming and open. Our doors are open to everyone, without judgement or expectation. We hope this attitude sticks to everyone who walks through the door. Music is something we all claim to love. Love is about giving as much as it is about getting…if not more so.
Happy Valentine’s Day!