Thursday, November 11, 2010

This is a Long Entry About How I Have Mixed Feelings Towards the Magnetic Fields

Recently I discovered that Amazon's MP3 store has one hundred albums every month for five dollars.  This is dangerous for my bank account, but it's really interesting to see what they pick to lower the price on.  Usually there's some lesser-known or formerly popular artists they're attempting to drum up business for.  For November, one of the albums for five dollars is by the Magnetic Fields.

I like the Magnetic Fields, I really do.  However, the circumstances under which I was introduced to them were honestly horrible, so they are forever tainted in my mind, regardless of how much I've ended up liking their music.  Here's what happened:

I was introduced to a seemingly nice young man during winter term of my freshman year.  We hit it off pretty well, and after a few weeks he asked me out to dinner.  Now, I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about this young man since I'd only known him about a month or so, but it was the first time anyone had taken an interest in me, and it wasn't as if I had a reason to oppose, so I agreed.  Said dinner went just fine, though I still have next to zero dating experience to this day, so maybe I'm not the best judge.  Anyway, we ate, walked/talked around outside, hung out in my dorm a while, and then he left.  All of which I assume are normal freshman dating activities.

Side note: In case you haven't gathered from reading my past entries, I'm not the most relaxed or trusting person you're going to come across.  I'm certainly not the type who can just jump right into a relationship.  I need to be convinced, or coaxed, if you will, like some kind of overly excitable forest creature (picture a deer or squirrel).  End side note.

Second side note: Before this young man asked me out, we had begun something of a music trade.  I had given him something of a trail mix CD containing all my favorite stuff, and he had promised me one of his favorite albums in return, the Magnetic Fields' "69 Love Songs", since I had never heard of them before.  At this point in the storyline, he had yet to give it to me.  End second side note.

The day following our date, I did not see or hear from this certain young man at all, which really didn't worry me much.  I've never been the type that needs to talk to people every day.  Plus, I was fresh from thirteen years of Mennonite school where hardly anyone did any dating, so I had no idea what was supposed to happen.  Two days after our date, this young man called me and asked if I wanted to grab lunch.  I did.

Lunch also went perfectly fine, or seemed to in the moment.  After lunch he walked me back to my dorm, delivered the long-promised "69 Love Songs", and proceeded to explain to me how he no longer wished to date me.  He went on to imply that he was not only going to stop dating me, but that he had someone else specific in mind that he wanted to date instead of me.

Having been somewhat blindsided, and not quite catching the meaning of everything he said, I just sort of nodded along until he asked is I was alright.  I said I was, and we parted amicably.  Once he was gone, my internal dialogue went something like this: "So he doesn't want to date me, that's fine.  We'll probably be better off as friends anyway, so... wait a minute.  Did he just mention some other girl?  What the hell just happened!"  From there I went on a rather exasperated rant, but the young man was long gone, and there wasn't anyone else in my hallway yet, so most of it was expressed internally.

By the time my roommate came back, who was the one who introduced me to this young man in the first place, I was pretty much done feeling upset.  I wasn't particularly attached to the young man, what upset me was what I allowed him to get away with saying to me.  However, my roommate was friends with this young man and, perhaps more importantly, had a crush on one of his friends, so she wasn't interested in hearing bad things about him.  When I told her we weren't going to be dating anymore, she expressed token sympathy, but quickly moved on to her plans to capture the so-and-so she had her eye on before I had much chance to explain what all happened.

It was only two dates, after all, so I don't completely blame her.  Who gets upset over two dates?  The fact that he was so tactless was something I never got to fully detail to anyone, and since a dorm full of freshman girls has more than enough drama swirling around, I just classified it as some unfortunate sideshow in my life and moved on.

I completely forgot about the Magnetic Fields CD until spring term, when I finally took the CDs I had accumulated over the year and began putting them in my iTunes.  When I came across it I glared a little, but figured "Hey, I still have it, and it's still music," so it ended up on my iPod.  From then on it came up on the shuffle occasionally, but I never went out of my way to listen to the whole album.

Until, actually, the eight hour drive back from Atlanta last week.  That was the first time I played a whole disk (it's sixty-nine songs, so there's three disks) and really listened to their music.  I realized two things: one, I really like the Magnetic Fields.  Two, "69 Love Songs" is really a terrible thing to give someone right as you're telling them they aren't worth your time to date.  Seriously.

But now I have cheap access to another Magnetic Fields album, so maybe I can disassociate them from my bad experience?  We'll see.  But it's crazy how someone who was only a big part of my life for about a month has had such an impact on me.

Moral of the story: don't be a douche bag, because people will remember it forever.

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