Men Explain Music to Me

Men Explain Music to Me

“Are you buying this for your boyfriend?"
November 7, 2016, 4:23pm

"What'd you get?

"Saxon Japanese import, a Planxty record, and, ah, babe, you've gotta go in there and check out this sweet Ride the Lightning picture disc I found. It's fuckin' sick. Pricey, though."

"Alright then, you watch the dog—be right back," I replied, leaving my boyfriend and our big, antsy puppy on a bench outside as I headed back into the little record store. It was my dude's birthday, and upon hearing the excitement in his voice as he described this particular LP's intricate cut-out sleeve design, I'd immediately decided to buy it for him. We both love records, but he more so than I; even as I stealthily fill every corner of our apartment with books, he silently counters by adding to our unwieldy vinyl collection. We generally like the same kinds of records, too (though his NWOBHM LPs are starting to outnumber my black metal and country ones) so it was the most natural thing in the world for me to pop in and buy him something that we could enjoy together.

The person selling it didn't seem to think so, though. Despite the fact that I look pretty much exactly how one might expect a heavy metal fan to look—long hair, tattoos, piercings, black jeans, band shirt, leather jacket, and so on—the clerk seemed to think that I'd never heard of Metallica​. I was wearing an Acid shirt that day, and yet, this bespectacled, tousle-haired norm decided he needed to educate me on thrash/speed metal. As he rummaged around in the New Arrivals bin to help dig out the record in question, he kept up a nonstop patter, informing me of his preferences for Ride the Lightning and "the other early ones, like Master of Puppets," ignoring me when I tried to interject, "Right, the first four" and going on to drop such dazzling truth bombs as, "Cliff Burton, who was the bassist, was really into melody, and you can really hear it on this one."

"Yeah, I know, that was kind of his thing," I edged in, wanting to end the interaction before I started seeing red. "Anyway, my dude is gonna love this, he was freaking out about it out there."

"Oh, you're buying it for your boyfriend?" he said with satisfaction "You're one of the good ones." I stared at him. The "run along now, little girl" was implied.