February 11, 2014 by NowhereButPop
Out of all my theories about life and pop culture, there’s one that sticks out as being the most concrete. Incidentally enough, it’s also one of my oldest theories about people and how we construct our lives between the intersection of real life and pop culture. The theory is that the two most revealing things about a person are the kind of music they listen to, and the kinds of people that they attract. The latter comes from the notion that one “attracts what they exude” wherein whomever we attract to ourselves is an overall and reflective interpretation of how we come across as. The kinds of music that we listen to is an ultimate demonstration in the illusion of choice.
Now, choice does exist, but in musical preference, not nearly as much as we’d like to think it does. We don’t choose to like a band or a song, as there’s no overt action of decision, and we can’t control it if an album or a song connects with us in a certain way that it never did before. For the music that we love, even if we think that we’re choosing to like it, we really don’t have as much control as we think we do. If I could choose to, there are some bands out there that I’d like to enjoy, but for whatever reason their music just doesn’t resonate with me. I didn’t choose to like Quadrophenia, I just listened to it one night in my sophomore year of college and immediately fell in love with it. The choice factor came later on in actively pursuing my interest in the Who.
As much as we think we can pick and choose our own music, we really can’t. People like the same music but for different reasons, and can dislike other bands for no specific reason. We have no control over what we connect with or when we do so, it’s then just a matter of how much it resonated within us, whether or not it chose to immerse ourselves in the rest of a band’s discography.
I had first listened to The Wall in junior high and didn’t like it at all, but once I listened to it again as a senior in high school, I suddenly fell in love with it; I understood it, and it understood me. Something as situational as that goes to show how little choice we exhibit in musical preference. My subsequent devotion to Pink Floyd is entirely dependent on my unabashed loyalty to The Wall because it was an album that I found relatable to myself at a certain point in my life. Had the factors that led me to appreciate The Wall not have happened, I wouldn’t be a Pink Floyd fan today. When, where, and how I connected to it were beyond my control as I didn’t just decide to like the album, rather, the album gave me a reason to like it.
What we do control, is whether or not we give the music a chance, and then how much we delve into it. However, how much we delve into it is emblematic of our personality. For myself, the fact that I immerse myself in a band to the point where I have to know as much about them as I can, including track listings of every album, is a telling sign of how obsessive and impatient I am. There’s a need to discover and turn over every stone until I’ve exhausted the musical resource, and there’s an inherent desire to do so in the quickest way possible. Further studying my own musical habits and preferences lends itself to a rather simple path to self-disclosure, and even if it’s to shallower depths or greater lengths than I go the music we “choose” to like and how much we like it, inasmuch as how far we explore it are representative of who we are as people.
The music we like, we like because we feel we can connect with it on some level, and to connect with something is a revelation of the self to the self. What’s even more of a revealing connection, is who we as individuals connect with…or rather who connects with us. Those how become attracted to us have a reason to do so, and most of the time that reason is ourselves. This other person saw something that you exhibited or demonstrated which then served as a catalyst for their attraction to you. Based on the way we act, speak, and carry ourselves not only attracts and repels people, but they are all demonstrative of who we are as individual human beings. As such whoever falls for you is doing so based on how you present yourself, which is a manifestation of who you are as a person. Ergo, who you attract, and why is thusly representative of who you are.
For some reason, I, and every other guy I know become very introspective and more self-reflective when we’re going out with someone. I don’t know why, but girls just make us think about ourselves more, and make us question every facet of our existence. It’s just a weird thing that happens. Whether it’s our own immaturity, ambition, perception of the world, or our overall demeanor, we just can’t help but analyze ourselves.
One of the biggest thoughts I have, is trying to figure out why exactly does this particular girl like me. What do I do that makes her attracted to me and want to spend time around me? In my overly sensitive, but innately analytical mind, there has to be a reason for everything in life; mixing emotion with reason then leaves me pondering why she is attracted to me, so as to verify my own emotions as well as satisfy a curiosity pertaining to self-evaluation.
With all of that being said, by my best estimations, I’d say that there’ve probably been only three girls I’ve been with that have actually liked me for me, or at least liked me enough to want to get to know me. Out of those three, either by accident or irony, two of those girls are the only two girls who I would say actually deserve to slap me across the face. With other girls, some have liked me because I was nice to them, others because they liked the fact that I would take care of them, still others because they liked the quieter more introspective side of me, but the majority of girls who at one point or another liked me, I would assume, did so because of the game show host persona.
I am a very fiery, energetic, hyper and comical person by default; the game show host is that taken to an extreme-a very maniacal, egotistical and over the top joker. What the fact that most girls are only enamored by one aspect of my personality says about me, or at least what I interpret this to mean, is that I have a hard time rectifying all the different facets of my personality into one holistic being. I may seem like a different person to some of these girls because however I acted, they assumed to be the general description of me. Any deviation from that original template that created the attraction then could possibly appear to be off-putting and unfamiliar.
Most guys, even if they don’t get the same way I do, get introspective, or more enlightened when they’re with a woman. I’ve seen it in myself, I’ve seen it in my friends, and I’ve seen it in guys I don’t know so well. For me, someone who has to have an answer for everything, my biggest thing is “how”. I think I have a pretty good understanding of the “whys” of why a particular girl is attracted to me but “how”. How is she attracted to me insofar as what do I do that’s so great as to make her fall for me? Part of this question is self-reflection, and part of it is self-validation, I’ll admit, but is a sincere question nonetheless. For the girls that I’ve really liked, the answer as to why do they do that’s so great to make me fall for them is because she’s who she is; I guess for me, it’s hard to believe that the answer for someone else could be the same one as mine.
 The biggest telltale sign is when I can go on a rant explaining how the Knicks could have won the 1994 NBA Finals, and she is sitting there engagingly and listening intently, not so much because she care about John Starks, but because she cares enough about me to want to hear whatever I have to say about it. Yeah, I probably fucked up with that one.