Dateland: The “G” Folder
The demand came shortly after we got married, and it chilled me to the core.
“You need to cancel your Spotify account and join mine,” she said with casual authority, as if this wasn’t the most terrifying thing she’d ever said to me.
I stared at her for a full minute before I was finally able to speak. “No,” I yelled. “No! No! No!” It was the only word that would form. It came from deep within my primitive reptile brain, the ancient center that controls flight or fight.
“Why not?” she asked. “It’s stupid to pay for two subscriptions.” Now, she was just being cruel, bludgeoning my hysteria with sensibility.
In a panic, I started shouting random alarms that might distract her from the topic. “Fire!” I yelled. “Tornado! Snake! Let’s have sex!”
In response, she calmly peered over her glasses and raised an eyebrow. She’s a psychotherapist, and I’m pretty certain she learned that look as part of her doctoral training. It has the effect of leveling me when I’m acting particularly nutty.
“Why don’t you want to merge our music accounts?” she asked.
“Because then you’ll see what music I listen to,” I said.
“But I already know what music you listen to,” she said. “Showtunes and songs sung by Sinatra and other mid-century crooners who treated women terribly.”
“Umm, I also listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, and Sarah Vaughn, and they weren’t misogynists,” I said.
“Stop trying to change the subject,” she said. “Why don’t you want me to see your music playlists?”
“Because,” I admitted, “I have a terrible secret.”
When you get married, you’re supposed to share everything. This, frankly, is anathema to me. I’m fine sharing finances, household duties, and stuff like that. But there are certain things related to my elemental nature that I’d like to keep private.
And a Spotify playlist titled “G” is one of those things.
“G” stands for “guilty.” Initially, I labeled the playlist “Guilty Pleasures,” but after having a nightmare that my playlists were made public, and my enemies could easily access them, I changed the folder to “G” hoping that it would fool those looking for new ways to humiliate me.
The folder contains songs that I would never admit to listening to. These are the songs that I sing loudly while driving alone, usually at night so that passengers in neighboring cars can’t clearly see my face and read my lips.
This folder doesn’t host the fun, stupid, sing-a-long songs that everyone admits to loving. “I Think I Love You,” by the Partridge Family, for example, is not hidden. It’s in a folder called “Fun, Happy, Good Times!”
The “G” folder is reserved for songs like “I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack, which is so emotionally manipulative that you should be required to get a doctor’s prescription in order to listen to it. And the folder also holds “Baby, Baby,” by Amy Grant, a song that was released in my 20s and was responsible for one of the most traumatic moments of my early lesbian career. It’s too painful to discuss, but suffice it to say I will never again admit to knowing all the words of an Amy Grant song on a first date.
After revealing the contents of the “G” folder to my spouse, she took my hand in hers and quietly led me to her Spotify account. There she clicked on a folder called “Private!!!! Don’t Touch!!!!” The first song on the playlist was Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love.” I sighed in relief and joined her account.