Lessons from SXSW: 8 Things I’ve Learned About Dating Rock Stars

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“Don’t date boys in bands.”

This was the response I got from every musician I asked at SXSW about what advice they could give me on dating boys in bands. “And never go for the drummer.” Great. I thought. Are you kidding? Those are my favorite. But I knew they were right. I have learned this the hard (but very interesting) way.

As far how to pick up boys in bands, the unanimous reply was: A girl can say ANYTHING. Pickup lines don’t matter. My friend Wes of The Family Records suggested that saying something like “I like Easter!” is effective.

Uhhh, okay. I then decided to stop ASKING them what their advice would be, and instead extrapolated advice from my actual experience hanging out with a bunch of bands during SXSW. I’m pretty sure everyone thought this whole “writing a piece about dating advice from boys in bands” was a farce-driven pickup move, which was embarrassing. For them. Seriously? Get over yourselves. (But actually, that isn’t a bad idea, which I’m noting for the future.)

Related: 7 Advantages To Hooking Up Out Of Town: SXSW Edition

 Here are the 8 dating lessons I’ve learned, taken from interactions with old band friends, new band friends, and “when we’re in the same city” band friends — including, but not limited to, members of I Am Love, Savoir Adore, Das Racist, Oberhofer, Diplo, Cubic Zirconia, Bearstronaut, and The New Highway Hymnal.

Lessons unattributed because I don’t want to blow up anyone’s steez, and also as #1 suggests, I’m keeping the mystery alive.

1) Be mysterious.

Two of these boys in bands were texting me some cryptic things. One was totes because we were going to make out. The other wasn’t even romantical* but oddly enough I was really into it. The “what does that even mean?!?” factor kept me intrigued and entertained. Keeping things a bit mysterious makes it a little exciting.

*Side note: romantical is my new favorite word for romantic, which I picked up from my genius word-making business partner. Word.

2) Be direct.

Okay, so at some point you have to just cut the chase to actually get what you want. It’s called closing. Being confusing is fun and flirty, but if you want something, at the end of the day you just have to ask for it. ‘I am at this party. Come here. This is what I want to do.’ sort of vibes.

Related: What Your Taste In Music Says About You On A Date

3) Break the rules.

Band members are, by nature, pretty rebellious. Break the rules and you can have the best time of your life, as evidenced by breaking into a closed pool with one of the bands, because everyone decided that they wanted to after-party in the hot tub. It was a great idea! …and definitely couldn’t have been done if rule following was a thing. On the same badass rebellious note, two of those bands all bought switchblades on their ride down to the festival. Illegal weapons? NBD. It was cool… and boys with knives are hot.

4) Stay aloof and don’t give a f*ck.

As Penny Lane in Almost Famous says “I always tell the girls, never take it seriously, if ya never take it seriously, ya never get hurt. Ya never get hurt, ya always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” It’s true. This thinking alone has sustained a “relationship” that I’ve had with X band boy, because we’re kind of just like ‘whatever.’ It works, and we do have fun.

Related: Could Someone Please Explain ‘Casual Dating’ To Me?

5) Learn to love

There’s something about being passionate and really caring that’s attractive. I mean really, what are you? A loveless robot? Who wants that? Don’t be afraid to love. As one boy whose band name this statement may or may not have been derived from, said, “We are love after all.”

6) Learn to let things go

I went to a few shows in which I had to be in the presence of a once ‘lover’, lost. Being around that, and their new gf (or whatever), made me really think about having to let it go. You can’t move forward if you’re constantly looking back, and you can’t torture yourself agonizing over something that’s lost. On this trip I also lost my backpack with all of my clothing and my laptop in it. Instead of freaking the eff out, I was pretty chill about it. At the end of the day these are just things… and sometimes these things are people… that you can replace once you just LET IT GO, and LIVE YOUR LIFE.

7) Don’t read into things

STOP OVER-ANALYZING EVERYTHING. This is going back to cryptic-yet-intriguing text message band boy. As I said, I didn’t think it was romanticals, but at one point I was so into the idea that maybe it was, I started reading into these messages. I had to stop myself and say “OMG this is all in your head. WEIRD TEXT MESSAGES, A CRUSH DOES NOT MAKE.” (I speak like Yoda in my head.) Unless it was flirty times, in which case HEY GUY IN BAND I’M REFERRING TO, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. GET AT ME. (See what I did there using this piece to try get a piece? See lesson #2.)

Related: What Jack White’s Previous Bands Say About His Solo Future

8) Don’t be afraid to get dirty

As someone who ended up sleeping in a tent in the backyard of a gypsy’s house (with a goat and a rooster across the fence), and also spending two days tour bus (excuse me — a prison bus converted into a tour bus), I definitely learned this from personal experience. Bands get dirty. Deal with it, and stop being a prissy kitty.


So at the end of the week, what did I actually learn?

If you didn’t notice these lessons are A BUNCH OF CONTRADICTIONS! IT’S CONFUSING AS HELL! You can’t really generalize musicians. I picked up these tips from different bands, and different bands consist of different boys who like different things. I also just went against lesson #7 by reading into random events that occurred, to write this.

It seems the only thing they all agree on is DON’T DATE THEM.

At least they’re self aware. But let’s be real here. Telling me (and girls like me) to stay away from boys in bands is like telling Superman “Maybe you should stop saving lives for a while.”

Bianca is a co-founder of Small Girls PR and lover of cotton candy, whiskey, dancing, rocking out, and boys (not necessarily in that order).  Dating is her favorite.