Boyfriend #1, R&B
I totally don’t remember hanging out with this guy. I don’t even remember his last name – something like Scott or Black. I was 12 and really into Dru Hill (or was Sisqo on his own by then?), Total, Faith Evans, etc. I’m pretty sure our entire relationship took place over the phone – and as far as I’m aware, this is something that you only do with your boyfriend when you’re 12, long distance, or the subject of an Usher song. Synchronicity achieved.
Boyfriend #2, Techno
This guy and I decided to date each other via AIM. We’d hung out once before that. He was one of those guys who would go to the mall to use drugs in the stairwells. It was really um, rebellious. The one time we hung out, he claimed to be on E. We listened to Robert Miles. A few weeks after meeting, I asked him out during an AIM conversation to make the guy “I was in love with” jealous. It didn’t work, so we broke up two days later.
Boyfriend #3, Rock/Rap/Alicia Keys/Sugar Ray
This boyfriend was the first guy I was really into. We dated during my Korn/ WuTang/ Orgy/ Ludacris years. It’s a jarring combination at first, but when you take into consideration the fact that I was 14 and having a severe identity crisis, the pieces start coming together. He was older than me and cheating on me, I’m pretty sure, actually I think he got someone pregnant while we were dating (or at least, while he was in the process of pulling the fade on me). We shared an intimate moment on the couch once that had nothing to do with Korn/ WuTang/Orgy/ Ludacris at all, but with Alicia Keys. We were watching the video for “Falling” for the first time, and he told me I looked like her. We spooned all night; there may have been a fingerbang involved. When we broke up, or when we stopped calling each other, I listened to Sugar Ray’s “When It’s Over” until I was able to heal. Sad times.
Boyfriend #4, Rap
This relationship was all about him driving us around while I broke up the crappy weed we went half in on. We were like a modern Bonnie and Clyde, except both of us were too high to actually break the law (aside from the marijuana thing). 8 Mile had just come out, so we were bumping Eminem and Obie Trice all over the suburbs. I bought him a fitted hat for Christmas. Possibly the whitest experience of my life.
Boyfriend #5, Indie Rock
I took a dating hiatus for about four years, and when I reemerged I was looking for someone stable and mature – which obviously meant I needed to date someone who listened to Pinback and Death Cab. Our two-year relationship consisted of taking photos and drives. My hand seemed to have taken up permanent residence on his knee when we drove around. We were big on making each other mix CDs. He introduced me to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and the Shout Out Louds. Toward the end, we seemed to be in a polyamorous relationship with the Silent Treatment. We’d get in some annoying, quirky fight in the car and I’d stare out of the window thinking, “Why me?” until he pulled over and bought me ice cream or something.
Boyfriend #6, Pop
This was the first boyfriend I was 100% myself with, which meant we spent a lot of time listening to 90s Billboard hits. I can honestly say that what initially appeared to be a ploy to attract girls like me (“Wanna listen to ‘Crush’ by Jennifer Paige?! How about ‘Love You Down’ by INOJ?”) was actually genuine – his taste in music was… not great, but it was refreshing to date someone who wouldn’t have rather been jerking off at some concert every time we had plans. I viewed the world like one big pop song when I was with him. It was happy and innocent. I’d hear “Teenage Dream” in a bodega and turn into a smiling idiot. Even though pop music is predictable, being with someone who makes you relate to those clichés is anything but. Besides, how many boyfriends genuinely enjoy Alanis Morissette? Few, I’ve found.