Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The age dilemma

This morning, you may be relieved to know, I finally swapped out the Mojo CD I’ve been talking about since Saturday for something else. A visit from the Committee for Music Diversification seems to have been averted.

Relative to my CD collection, however, today’s selection is probably more mainstream — even a conservative choice on my part (then again, the RNC does come to New York next week). To be giving such heavy airplay to a blues CD was playing to the outlier in my collection: based on recent analysis, the blues account for only 3-4% of my catalog. But today, I confess, it’s back to the meat ’n potatoes, er, swing music (jazz and swing account for the largest single bloc of music, about 20%).

The last of the swingers?
Of course, there had to be some way of paying homage to yesterday’s taping of Last Call with Carson Daly, which featured Big Bad Voodoo Daddy as the house band. (Anna pauses to relish a big, toothy grin of sheer glee.)

I could only attend a half-hour taping, but the band looked great and sounded better. If you don’t feel like digging out your VHS of Swingers, the episode should air Sept. 1; BBVD is the house band all week.

I have to say, it was good to see they’re still getting around. Indigo Swing folded a while ago, and I get the feeling references to Swingers or the Gap Louis Prima commercial are what separate “my” generation from the kids who follow Avril and Jonny Lang (OK, that’s wishful thinking on my part; no kid his age probably knows who Jonny is, poor genius).

As my friend and I stood in line for the taping, she remarked upon the relative youth of the other audience members. There were older fans in the crowd when Jonatha Brooke played the show last spring ... but generally we were the “geezers” in the group yesterday.

Young at heart or old of ear?
So, in the spirit of one of my all-time favorite movies (High Fidelity), I feel inclined to ask: if you are what you listen to, does the real generation-gap hurdle present itself in chronological years, or in musical years vis-a-vis the gaps between your respective catalogs? For a gal who usually likes or dates men in the 7-8 years-older range, it’s a pressing question. Someone should really find a way to calculate musical age.

I haven’t done that yet, but the closest I can come is the recent analysis of my CD collection which generated the following top-5 genre list:
  1. jazz/swing (20.3%; 23.1% if you include crooners like Sinatra, Nat King Cole and HCJ)
  2. classic rock (17%)
  3. classical music (16.5%)
  4. soundtracks & compilations (8.3%)
  5. Christian music (7.3%)
Unfortunately I didn’t think to document original release dates for all albums included ... but at 375 CD cases and 412 individual CDs, that’s a heckuva lotta work. I’m not that bored (yet). Besides, I was interested in genre analysis:
  • Jazz songs are basically like country music, only set to much better music, and generally gifted with better lyrics. The man done her wrong, but she’ll still pine forever … He met a great girl while walking his dog, and guess what? Her dog took a liking for his. Now they’re planning the wedding. Etc. (That’s the vocal stuff; instrumental tracks often make me want to dance, or pine. One of the two.)
  • Classic rock is a little more tricky. This is love seen by the car-mechanic set, for whom a loud fuck and good beer seem to equal the good life (accompanied, of course, by bluesy guitars). But then you also have the Rip Van Winkle psychedelics of Talking Heads, who wonder how they got this wife, this car, this life. In short, it’s like a barbecue with a diverse array of side dishes and marinades, but only a few basic categories: meat, booze, and meat-accessories.
  • Classical music is basically another language, but most of what I collected during junior high and high school (the prime buying-season for this genre) was drawn from the Romantic Period: heavy on the Strauss, Rossini, Tchaikovsky. It covers the full gamut of emotion and experience, but all of it is intense and vibrantly colored. Life is passion, and drama.
  • Soundtracks-n-comps is a hard one; this covers all genres. Basically I threw out all the smarmy crap purchased during a brief spate of high school sentimentality, and now have such gems as High Fidelity, Swingers and Pulp Fiction. So, basically it’s drawn from the top-two categories, augmented by some fun, campy dance sets like The Full Monty and Grease (hey, I do have a shameless-indulgence side: Tom Jones, Ricky Martin, Lou Bega).
  • Most Christian music tends to be love songs for Jesus, but when leaving Arizona I managed to weed out the worst of it. So, it tends to be either religiously themed alt./contemp. music (Sixpence, Newsboys), or Beatle-esque introspection (PFR). I don’t listen to this much anyway. Some would consider David Wilcox a part of this group because he so frequently writes about spiritual themes, but I include him with Williams, Cash and Dylan: the folk crew.
Just for you, my dear readers, I may try to follow up on the musical age conundrum. Feel free to weigh in with more efficient ideas for calculating such a number if you think of any. Meanwhile, I’m trying to think of a more-populist song for this week’s Spooning Fork. So far I’ve covered R&B/Soul (2), disco (1), jazz (2 if you count “Do I Move You?)”, blues (2 ... if you count DIMY? here). Two I have in mind are Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and of course Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” Vote for your fave in the comments section below!

And finally ... a reader letter.
I am addicted to your blog. Is there anyone out there that can help me kick this habit? Eesh. Well I hope all is well Broadway.

-Overdosed on Sexless
Dear OD:
First off, thanks for reading my site so exhaustively. You didn’t learn of it on a bathroom wall somewhere, didja? Naw, I thought not.

If you’re concerned about weaning a voracious appetite, however, try checking out related links on the right, or buying some of the music I’ve discussed. That should lead you in new directions. An especially effective technique may be adding some of the Broadway soundtrack to your workout mix. If you don’t work out, start. I hear it’s a great way to cope with frustration (and we wonder why I jogged after Tuesday night’s date ... ;)).

Good luck! And don’t worry: if you only check the blog once a day, it’s really not a bad habit. These things take, what, 15 minutes a day to read? That’s only about 1% of the minutes in your day. Put it in perspective: how much time do you spend jacking off ... or, um, sitting on the can?



Nine Inch Nails
Downward Spiral
SwingersDVDsoundtrack I
soundtrack II (
Swingers Too!)
High FidelityDVDsoundtrack
Pulp FictionDVDsoundtrack