From my late teens through my 20s, rock and roll was my life. I wrote about it for publications like Mojo and Salon.com, and I spent several hundred evenings taking it in at sweaty, smoke-filled, live-music nightclubs.
Although I genuinely loved music, a major reason for immersing myself in the scene was that I thought musicians were the sexiest creatures on earth. I’d like to say it was because I was drawn to creativity and skill; indeed, I often went for talented songwriters. But, then, I also pursued drummers; so there goes that theory.
The popular culture typically envisions rock stars as choosing one or more different groupies from a smorgasbord of possibilities each night. I don’t doubt that there really are stars like that. Such sexual compulsiveness was especially prevalent in the 1960s, when men and women shed their inhibitions amid the onslaught of the sexual revolution.
However, as I spent my share of time outside dressing-room doors, I discovered something that went against the common wisdom. The rockers who did the most touring were the least likely to spend the night with strangers. Instead, they would have a girl in every port—one woman to whom they’d return whenever they were in a particular town. Sometimes this woman would travel along with her rocker “boyfriend” for a few stops on a tour before parting ways until the next time the band came around.
These women weren’t merely sex partners to their chosen musicians. When one of them met up with her special rocker, the pair looked to all appearances like a real couple—friends as well as lovers.
I understand now what I didn’t understand then: why a man with no interest in monogamy, who could have his pick of women, would purposefully limit his choices.
Men want home. Not just a home, but home—an indescribable feeling of being in a place where they are understood, where they belong, where they can rest in one woman’s love. The desire for home is so strong that a man will keep trying to capture it even when his chosen lifestyle prevents him from achieving it.
So, then, you may ask, if men want home, why don’t the rockers I mentioned seek it in one woman instead of having a girl in every port?
The answer lies in the nature of groupies. It’s a feeling I know quite well, and it’s not unique to women who follow rock stars. You’ll find it, too, in the women’s-magazine tales of ultra-devoted girlfriends who mother their boyfriends, even baking and cleaning for them, only to be dumped.
Groupies and other women who set out to mother men set themselves up as the giver in a relationship, so that all their boyfriend has to do is take. They suffer from a lack of self-esteem, so they sell themselves short. They long for their boyfriend to give of himself, but they live in fear that if they make such a request of him, he’ll just move on to a less demanding girlfriend.
If he’s a rock musician, such fears are well founded; there’s a good chance that, faced with responsibility, he will move on. But when nothing’s required of him, he won’t stay long anyway—nor will he whittle down the number of his girlfriends to one.
You can want a man completely, utterly, desperately, longing for him from the depths of your loins. But if you want him to be attached to you, you must require something of him in return. For a man to develop a bond, it’s not enough that he’s adored—he has to be appreciated.
For all the advances that the feminist movement has created for women in the working world, it’s created terrible damage in the area of relationships. Women are told that self-sufficiency means refusing to allow men the opportunity to do things for them.
A good man does admire self-sufficiency in a woman. But he admires it even more when that self-sufficient woman has the modesty to admit she needs advice, a shoulder to lean on, or just someone to carry her loaded-down backpack. •
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