|Bad taste in music can be a dealbreaker for some singles. A recent survey found Nickelback, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga topped the list of musical turnoffs. (Fotolia.com)
If music be the food of love, then Nickelback is the aural equivalent of liver and onions, or the deeply contested Brussels sprout.
According to a recent poll by Tastebuds.fm, a dating website matching singles according to their musical tastes, Nickelback is at the top of the list when it comes to musical turn-offs. Justin Bieber is a close second. And unless you want a bad romance, be sure to stow away the Fame Monster before your date comes over; Lady Gaga came in third.
“Music can be as much of a turn-off as a turn-on,” says Dr. Kip Pegley, associate professor of the school of music at Queen’s University and the author of Coming to You Wherever You Are: MuchMusic, MTV and Youth Identities (Wesleyan University Press, 2008). “It’s quite important to a lot of people to have at least some kind of shared preferences or shared tastes around music.”
In some cases, a romantic evening can go horribly awry if someone makes their wildly divergent musical preferences known.
“I once was really into a guy until he put on Lamb of God on our second date, followed by some other song about wanting to commit suicide,” says 22-year-old Kristen, who primarily listens to hip hop.
There was no third date.
Kristen considers music to be a huge part of her life and believes musical compatibility to be an important aspect of a relationship.
“Music makes things in my life more enjoyable, and when you can’t share these experiences and feelings with someone you care about, it creates a void in a relationship,” Kristen says. “I don’t buy the argument that judging someone on their musical taste is shallow. There are a lot worse things in the world to be judged on.”
Some online dating sites include sections where singles can include their favourite music and even specific bands and albums. And many a romance has blossomed at a rock show.
“I would say that all of my significant relationships blossomed because of similar taste in music,” says Lisa, 35, who admits she would probably never date a Nickelback fan. “Music is at the forefront of the way I both meet and judge new people. It would take someone pretty amazing to get me to be interested in them if I didn't respect their taste in music.
“I'm sure that for the majority of people out there, music is just an added bonus. For me, it’s a crucial element of a partnership, just as important as shared morals or physical attraction,” Lisa says.
While I probably wouldn’t rule out dating someone because of their embarrassing record collection, I might initially think less of them for it.
“We personalize music in such a strong way that it becomes a really ideal place to make assumptions and judgments around somebody else,” Pegley says. “If somebody were to say, ‘I’m a big Britney Spears fan,’ we take the artificiality of (Britney’s music) or any judgments, positive or negative, that we have of Britney and we tend to project them onto that person.”
Such snap judgments are hardly fair. Some of my dearest friends – women in their 30s – love New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys in earnest. They happen to be among the loveliest, smartest and most enjoyable people I know.
While it’s nice to date someone who you can talk endlessly to about Diamond Rings or the new Florence and The Machine album, musical tastes do not and should not define a whole person.
Writer Tabatha Southey put it to me best: “Some people seem to be a collection of impeccable taste and not much else.”
Sexy Typewriter blogs about her dating failures – online and otherwise – at Sexytypewriter.com