Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

I don’t just like things, I love things, and I especially love to geek out about those things.  Whether it be music, sports, or food and drinks, my interests are rarely casual.  While I’ve done no research on the matter, my experience has taught me that those who share my specific geekery tend to be men.  Most of the record store workers, draft prospect followers. BBQ fanatics, and  beer / whiskey snobs that I’ve ever met have been mostly guys,  so when a girl happens to enjoy these topics on a similarly fanatical level, she tends to be look at as something like a unicorn.  They exist, I’ve had my heart broken by a couple of them.  I also have a friend that fits that description and she can quickly amass quite the fan club.  My girlfriend is not on of these unicorns, but when we first started dating, she took an interest in learning about the things I love, and that proceeded to get her into some very awkward encounters.

A couple of months into our relationship, she went to Coachella with her friend.  During some downtime, she decided to go to the record tent to see if she could pick up a gift for me.  A random guy struck up a conversation with her, asking her what she was looking for, so she told him “The Replacements”, because she knew I was looking for their new covers record.  This, and also his possible interest in her friend, caused him to start talking about his appreciation for The Replacements which somehow quickly segued into him talking about how he was also a Canadian folk musician, who was unfortunately not Neil Young.  She told him that she was also looking for Husker Dü records, also per my request, and that caused him to scoff “Nobody who likes music would admit to liking them.”, which is a strange thing to say about a non-mainstream punk band.  My assumption is that he didn’t actually know who Husker Dü was or that Husker Dü and The Replacements came out of the same music scene so they shared a lot of fans, but my girlfriend wasn’t equipped with this information.  She just shrugged it off, but her and her friend were stuck with this annoying guy following them around and trying to talk about music, all because he thought he had an “in” when he heard her mention The Replacements.

A couple of months later, she was waiting on a friend for happy hour at a gastropub.  When she looked at the beer list, she said that they had Pliny the Elder on tap, and she remembered me mentioning once that it’s one of my favorite beers.  She ordered it, and immediately that caught the attention of a guy, who took that as a cue to strike up a conversation with her about craft beer.  My girlfriend likes sour beers, she’ll even suggest checking out breweries in the area, but she’s not someone that regularly talks about beer.  While it’s possible that he would’ve hit on her anyways, the chances of him approaching her in the first place would’ve been much lower had she ordered a more nondescript and less classy drink.  He thought he had found a unicorn, and became agitated when he found out that my girlfriend didn’t want to talk about hops and IPAs.

While my girlfriend may not be a music geeking, beer drinking unicorn, she manages to put up with music geeking, beer drinking me, and that’s more than I could possibly ask for.  At first, I felt bad, or even a bit responsible for the fact that she had these encounters with these guys, but in a way, these encounters opened some sort of window to who I could’ve been, if I had continued to be so hung up on trying to find someone who was exactly like me, looking for that someone who shared the same amount of enthusiasm for all the same things.  While my girlfriend may not know who The Replacements are, she’ll willingly go to a music festival that The Replacements are playing at, and while she may not try to figure out what makes a certain beer so good, she can at least appreciate different kinds of beer.  She knows enough to understand my geeking and in the end, I’m glad that I understand that’s all I really need.  Let the others chase after the unicorns.  I don’t need one.


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