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From Hell's Heart
"From Hell's Heart..." is an editorial column written by the Metal-Rules.com team. Every other month or so we
pick a metal-related topic and share our thoughts, feelings and ideas on it.
How does metal affect your relationships? (June 2003)
I am Metal, You are Metal, He is Metal, She is
Metal, wouldn't you like to be Metal, too?
At first blush, when presented with the question of "How does metal affect your relationships?" my reaction was - it doesn't. And, with respect to my interactions with people who don't see me in "metal garb" and who don't really know me, metal doesn't affect the relationship. However, after thinking about the question for a bit, I realized that metal DOES affects most of my relationships, especially my significant relationships, in different ways.
With people who aren't into metal and who are open-minded, I find that the fact that I am passionate about something about which they aren't familiar serves to open up discussions and dialogues. I've talked with different types of folks, from young to old, from neighbors to clients, about my love of metal, and they always listen with interest and ask questions. They, in turn, will often open up about something that they enjoy that isn't completely mainstream-maybe a love of science fiction books, or gun collecting, or ballooning. Realizing that you share a passion for something, even if it isn't the same thing, opens people up and takes communication to a different level. It also makes people realize that they may need to re-evaluate their preconceptions of you.
My love of metal has introduced me to some of my closest friends. Through posting on metal message boards, I made friends with many people who turned out to live in my city, but who I probably never would have met if it wasn't for the fact that we share this same interest. In addition to the fact that we can get together and just listen to music we all love, or go to metal shows together, we've now traveled around the world together, taken German classes together, gone to operas together, and helped each other through times of personal turmoil. My local metal crew are all very different types of people-in age, socioeconomic and education levels, backgrounds, etc. The one thing that we all share, and which seems to transcend and reduce the importance of those differences, is our passion for metal. It isn't that all of my friends are into metal-in fact, most of them are not. But my love of metal has given me friends, both locally and internationally, whom I value and would not otherwise have come to know. The world of metal is not small, and it is not uncommon for me to be in a city on the other side of the continent at a metal show and run into someone I somehow know.
In terms of a spouse or boyfriend, my preference is that my significant other love metal. Not because I think that people have to love metal to have value or depth-no, they have to love SOMETHING to understand having a passion, but that something doesn't have to be metal. But there is value in sharing fundamental common interests with your significant other. Practically speaking, I like taking vacations that in some way revolve around attending metal shows. Since I'd like to take vacations with my significant other, it helps if he also wants to attend those same shows. More importantly, however, anyone who truly loves metal has had that moment, standing at a concert, when things are just PERFECT and you literally are transported. I'd like to share those moments with the person I share my life with, and have them actually understand and share the feeling. Having my significant other understand metal just makes him more equipped to understand me.
I won't hate you if you don't like metal, but I
doubt we'll be buddies...
As I've said before, heavy metal is pretty much the one thing in my life that I am obsessed with. I don't watch sports, so I don't relate to the ranting about "last night's game". I don't watch shitty TV like Survivor, or those other reality based bullshit shows that people are crazed about lately, so when people start talking about "who was voted off butt-fuck island last night" I have nothing to say besides "why do you watch that shit?" I am not into "getting wasted", so I don't hang with people who's sole form of entertainment is waiting for the weekend to see how many beers (or whatever gay substance they use) they can take before they pass out. People relate to one another based on common interests. When my common interests are so far removed from so many others, it's not easy to find many serious friends.
I do have some non-metal interests, but they are limited. Most of the books I read are not something anyone else is reading...at least no one I've met reads the books I do. I do like a lot of movies, so often when a conversation with a "non-metal" person turns to that topic I wake up, especially if it's movies that are sci-fi, war, fantasy, or horror.
When I was in high school I had a lot more friends since there was a group of us who liked metal. We all hung around together and people thought we were some sort of satanic horde....those bastards!! May their suffering be legendary, even in hell! Ha!
As I've grown older, free time is unfortunately more and more of a luxury. I wish I had more free time to do other things, but with free time being in short supply, I can only partake in those things that are the most important to me. Today, my closest friends are all into metal, each to varying degrees of course. When you become an old goat like me and you work 9-5, it's not like life leaves you with a load of time to devote to several interests...unless you have casual interests in several things. When you are obsessed, evenings and weekends hardly leave you with enough time to devote to much besides what makes you happy.
If I try to look at my interests from an outsiders point of view, I can see why people who are not into metal wouldn't find much to talk to me about. I look the part of a metalhead with the long hair etc. I wear metal shirts every other day, dress in black 99% of the time. It's not like I'm "trying" to be this way, it's just who I am now. I listen to metal in the car, at work when I can, at home when I can. I play guitar, jam with other metal minded people, etc...so where do I have the time to do anything else un-metal or relate to someone who is not metal?
As for romantic relationships, thank the metal gods I have a woman who is also into metal! She's nowhere near as obsessed as myself, but she likes many of the same bands as me. She never asks me to turn off metal (maybe some death metal that's too insane for her tastes haha), she never tells me to cut my hair or dress "nicely", she never tells me that I'm stuck in the past or whatever other negative comments other metalheads have to put up with. So I count myself as very lucky in that department. I can't imagine having a romantic relationship with someone not into metal to some degree. If I was nagged to "turn that shit off", or questioned about "how can you listen to that noise", or "why don't you cut your hair?" - I'd lose my mind and feel more like beheading them rather than loving them!! And on the flipside, If they had to deal with me saying stuff like "turn off that fucking pop radio garbage", then I'm sure the relationship would not get too far as I'd have them driven to madness with complaints pretty quickly.
So there you have it, a brief glance into my world and why all my meaningful relationships are with those who are also into metal.
How does metal affect your romantic relationships?
On the whole, metal has been pretty positive in my relationships. It's brought me together with people, and also served as a common bond in existing relationships.
Given a choice I'd prefer to date a metalhead. While liking metal isn't an absolute requirement, metal is such an ingrained and important part of my personality that it seems unlikely I'd find a strong bond with a woman who didn't understand me on that level. Plus, a shared interest always strengthens a relationship. With another metalhead there's always something to talk about, new CDs to try out, and places you can go (record stores, concerts, Wacken, etc.) to do things together. That's what I like doing in a relationship, so someone who's into metal is a definite plus. Also, since I find the metal "look" attractive, chances are better that I'd be attracted to a fellow metal lover than I would some random person.
I've dated non-metalheads. A girl I went with for a few months wasn't into metal, but she tolerated my love for it and was eventually curious about it. I took her to a Megadeth concert one time, and she enjoyed it more than she thought she would. Another time I dated someone who wasn't into metal, and we just never talked about it, although she did mention a few times that she thought I was "stuck in the '80s." However, my most meaningful relationships have been with women who also like metal, or at least have some background in it, even if it was a long time ago.
I think it's less a question of metalheads dating non-metalheads than it is a matter of interests. If two people have a lot of common interests and they connect on a pretty substantial level, but that doesn't happen to include music, I don't see that as being much different than two metalheads who share that interest and understand each other. It's all a question of compatibility. Maybe it's more likely than not that I'd be compatible on a long-term basis with another metalhead; I just don't know.
How does metal affect your relationships?
Interesting topic! I suppose some regular readers might expect a long-winded dissertation on the nature of metal and relationships but in this instance I don't have much to say. The reason being is that metal does not, oddly enough, affect my relationships! Manowar put it best. "If you're not into metal, you are not my friend!"
Overall, I live a normal life. I have short hair! I have a large circle of friends who don't even really know I'm into music. I play sports, do volunteer work hard, play hard and do my best. My friends and family accept that. Metal just happens to be the soundtrack of my life. The secret is to develop other interests, keep the volume low when others are around, and don't tell your Grandmother that you are a Cannibal Corpse fan or you will get cut from the will.
So in a sense the opening quote by Manowar holds true. If you are going to judge me by something as ludicrous and trivial as musical preference, well then, you are probably not the kind of person I want to associate with and are probably not my friend. I generally don't associate with those types of judgmental people so my original comment holds; Metal doesn't affect my relationships.
How does metal affect your relationships?
I will make one unequivocal statement before we start. Metal is one of the most important things in my life and one of the things that define me. I am a metalhead. Plain and simple. Does metal affect my relationships? Of course it does but since I consider metal an integral part of who I am its all part of the package that is me. The relationships that I have with my family are no different than those of anyone else. To them, being metal is as much a part of me as anything else. It hardly comes in to play in that relationship at all. Same goes for the relationship I have with my better half. I was a metalhead before I met her and I am sure in some small way that is one of the reasons we are together. She is not a metalhead but is one of those people that understands that it is part of who I am. Colouring on the palette of life experience. Not just something that can be exorcised and sent on its way because she doesn’t like the new Voi Vod CD that I have been spinning lately.
As for the relationships that I have with my coworkers, metal rarely affects any relationship that I have. They can either accept what I am and the things that I do and listen to or they won’t. Which leads me to one of the only ways that metal affects any relationship that I would have. I cold never have a relationship with anyone in any capacity that thinks less of me because of being a metalhead. To me that would be as bad as hating me because I had brown eyes or black hair. Why would I waste my time with a person that can’t accept me for what I am? Life is too short for that.
How does metal affect your relationships?
When it comes to doing any WRITING for Metal-Rules, I usually run the other way. But when the staff chose the topic for this months "From Hell's Heart", I thought I'd give it a try. "How does metal affect your relationships"....
Since I was a teen, I loved Heavy Metal. Not really the metal that seems to be so popular today -- Power, Black, Death, etc.. but the traditional "bang your head" genre. My walls were plastered in Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the like. My mother never really said too much, she was cool about letting me express myself as I chose, but the day I walked out of my bedroom with the concert-T I bought the night before.. WASP -- I FUCK LIKE A BEAST! She just about died!! The way the neighbors always looked at me, the way the kids at school treated me, it was pretty cruel at times. I was always dressed in black, leopard, or tiger skin garb, skull earrings and spikes around my wrists. It definitely caused me to stand out amongst the rest. So the few of us that loved the music hung together pretty tightly and would do just about anything for one another. So, I guess if I look back on the actual relation ships I had -- the music gave us an unbreakable bond. I still spend time with my High School "head-banging" partner in crime. We're both parents now with careers and responsibilities but when a band that was at the top of our list comes around... we drop all that adult BS and head out the door!!
As an adult.. things change. I don't dress "metal" anymore but my love for the music still seems to get around. Maybe it's because the volume on my pc at work is high?!? :o) I started a corporate job last September and things on the outside appeared to be very yuppie and trendy... but when a few people over heard me on the phone (that happens in such tight spaces) that I was going to DIO, a handful of closet metalheads came out of there offices to talk to me -- including the Director, Senior and Executive VP's!! Because of that, I was able to build more of a personal relationship with them instead of being just one of many faces of the "little people". Within a few months, a position opened in my department that would normally be for a college graduate or paralegal, but the SVP called me in her office and offered me the position. She went right over my bosses head and came to me direct. (Boy, was he pissed) I mean, I work hard, have a good work ethic and deserved the promotion but so do a lot of others. Sometimes it's hard to be seen in such a large environment. I definitely believe that Metal gave my career a very nice jump start!!
When it comes to romantic relationships.. I used to think it was crucial for my significant other to love what I loved. However, I've changed that point of view. It's still important that he love MUSIC, but for it to be metal is not that important. Sure!! It would kick ass to have a partner who loved what I did, but there are so many more important factors involved. If a guy works hard, is good to his/my children, honest, caring, etc... that's good enough for me. I don't want a man just because he's "metal".
As a part of Metal-Rules.. I have met a few really great people and have built a couple of solid friendships. Friendships, that I believe will last a lifetime. One of those is all about the metal... He just can't help himself!! He's metal to the core and I wouldn't have it any other way! The other...we may have met through here but our friendship is hardly about the metal. We actually joke about it quite a bit. We say things like.. "You are so fucking metal!" or "Are you metal enough?" It makes for some really good laughs. But, our friendship is more about "life".
So there you have it. Metal has definitely had it's "cause & effect" on every relationship I did/didn't have. Both pain and joy at different times in my life. Would I ever change it? Not a chance... \m/ .... METAL-RULES!!!