“On your first date, do not hand him your vagina, polished and thirsty. Do not allow him to rub your back or your shoulders. Do not overdrink. When he offers to come home with you, do not think of your ex-lover’s chest. How it peeked from behind the open neck of a pressed J. Crew buttondown. How you still masturbate to this. Over dessert, do not think how smooth this man’s thighs will be. Do not think how lovely their dark will lay against your sheets. Do not ask to touch during sleep, it smells like love and you have a suitcase to unpack. You have laundry and dishes and a dog to walk. You are busy. Stay busy. Don’t muddy your days with honey whiskey. When the boy at the club buys you a beer, yanks you hard from your disappearing waist, remember you owe no one. Even if he is all your favorite music. Keep your tongue inside your mouth. Stop his wandering hand even if it’s the only thing good in New York City tonight. Say no. When your boss suggests you meet Nate from Accounting who is recently divorced, say no. Say bones break. Say love is expensive. Remind him you have a dog and no time. You’re busy. When a friend explains, women have children at 45 these days, girl, you’re good, smile. She is lying. Press her rosewater skin under your nose. Press hard. Pretend it is the skin of a newborn. Steal this moment. She won’t mind. When Friday finally arrives and your friends leave early, let them go. Keep your tab open. The bar has been your longest friend. Churns out warm bodies like a factory. When the bar closes, remember you are busy. It’s time to walk the dog. When you dress for your first date in two years, don’t call it date. Call it friend. Do not let him pay. Share a bottle of your favorite wine, you deserve this. When the wine makes words slippery as butter, tell him everything you shouldn’t. Your diagnoses, how you have no insurance. Count for him all the men you used to escape your husband. The time you almost got a boyfriend arrested on West 4th Street. The tryst with a colleague. Describe the miscarriage at 13. Abortion at 25. The train engineer you fucked in Penn Station, how his son had Leukemia. Tell how you waited six hours at a roof party in Brooklyn one summer just to take the drummer home. How you ran into that drummer weeks later and couldn’t recall his name. Carefully detail your unending appetite for drink/fuck/fight, everything nasty you keep under your skin. Do it precise. Calm. When he runs from this quiet grenade, find the bar. Tell yourself you did it for his sake. Besides, you’re busy. Smoke another cigarette. Take another honey whiskey. Let it curdle your face. You haven’t been beautiful in years.”
“So let’s go back and look at what it would have cost you to ethically and legally support the artists.
And I’m gonna give you a break. I’m not gonna even factor in the record company share. Let’s just pretend for your sake the record company isnt simply the artists imprint and all record labels are evil and don’t deserve any money. Let’s just make the calculation based on exactly what the artist should make. First, the mechanical royalty to the songwriters. This is generally the artist. The royalty that is supposed to be paid by law is 9.1 cents a song for every download or copy. So that is $1,001 for all 11,000 of your songs. Now let’s suppose the artist has an average 15% royalty rate. This is calculated at wholesale value. Trust me, but this comes to 10.35 cents a song or $1,138.50. So to ethically and morally “get right” with the artists you would need to pay $2,139.50.
As a college student I’m sure this seems like a staggering sum of money. And in a way, it is. At least until you consider that you probably accumulated all these songs over a period of 10 years (5th grade). Sot that’s $17.82 dollars a month. Considering you are in your prime music buying years, you admit your life is “music centric” and you are a DJ, that $18 dollars a month sounds like a bargain. Certainly much much less than what I spent each month on music during the 4 years I was a college radio DJ.
Let’s look at other things you (or your parents) might pay for each month and compare.
Smart phone with data plan: $40-100 a month.
High speed internet access: $30-60 dollars a month. Wait, but you use the university network? Well, buried in your student fees or tuition you are being charged a fee on the upper end of that scale.
Tuition at American University, Washington DC (excluding fees, room and board and books): $2,086 a month.
Car insurance or Metro card? $100 a month?
Or simply look at the value of the web appliances you use to enjoy music:
$2,139.50 = 1 smart phone + 1 full size ipod + 1 macbook.
Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?”
One of many responses to our intern’s essay.
In fact her maturity and blood kinship converted her passion to fever, so it was more affliction than affection. It literally knocked her down at night, and raised her up in the morning, for when she dragged herself off to bed, having spent another day without his presence, her heart beat like a gloved fist against her ribs. And in the morning, long before she was fully awake, she felt a longing so bitter and tight it yanked her out of a sleep swept clean of dreams.