An easy way to spot a dating trend? When the same thing happens to two women at The Frisky (we’re a small staff). The trend I’ve thus spotted? Men giving women mix CDs on or around the first date. How retro right? The truth is, giving someone you’ve just met a mix CD is a bold move. Chances are, you don’t know what the recipient’s taste in music is like and therefore have no clue if 10 emotastic indie rock songs will go over with a girl who likes hardcore hip-hop. Additionally, music sends a message; when you choose 10+ songs especially for someone, you’re asking for some “He’s Just That Into You”-style overanalyzation. Nevermind the fact that giving someone music is sort of intimate, often too intimate for even the first month of a new relationship, let alone the first date. But that didn’t stop two guys we just met.The Chicken Parm Guy, whom I have been dating for, uh, let’s see, six weeks now, gave me a mix CD on our first date, at the end, as we were walking to the train together. I was caught off guard, then a little concerned. My last boyfriend had really “meh” taste in music and it was always one of those things that bummed me out about him, though it was hardly a dealbreaker. But a guy giving me a mix CD chock full of classic rock would be, not that I don’t appreciate the occasional Allman Brothers tune. The funny thing is, if a mix CD is good, it can be a complete deal-maker. My first date with Chicken Parm Guy had gone well — he was funny and we had a lot in common and he had a beard and wore plaid and cute sneakers, thereby passing most of my dealbreaker checklist — but I wasn’t completely all aflutter over him. Yet.
When I got home and popped his mix in my computer disc drive (I told you mix CDs were retro! I don’t even have a CD player anymore…), no track names appeared on my iTunes. It wouldn’t have mattered if they had — I wouldn’t have recognized many, if any, of the artists. And it didn’t matter. It was the single best mix anyone had ever given me, and better than any mix I had ever made. That was the reason why he got Date #2. And the reason why he eventually got Chicken Parm.
Similarly, Rebecca, who works at The Frisky office, had almost the exact same thing happen to her, though her story is a little more rom-com worthy. She met a guy on the subway a few weeks ago on the way to work, they hit it off, talked a little about music, and the next day he suddenly showed up at the office, coffee and mix CD in hand.
“The mix is pretty rad. A balanced mix of classics, new skool, indie, mainstream, the whole nine. Because he’s also a musician, and plays a ton of instruments, I like to imagine him playing all these little jams. He was nervous after he dropped it off, and checked in during the day to see if it flopped because I joked, sorta, that the quality of the tape would determine if I’d see him again.”
So has she seen him again?
“It’s sick and corny, but we’ve spent 11 of the last 13 night together since. I haven’t liked a guy for real in years. But wowsers. This is on. Of course it is! Homie made me a freaking TAPE! It’s quite possible that if the mix tape had sucked, I would have passed on seeing him again. Then again, the fact that he made it, the fact that he scrawled ‘Rebecca’s Righteous Mix’ on the CD in a sharpie, the fact that he brought coffee and is the cutest sweetest guy ever, may have been enough to overlook a bad mix.”
So why might the first date mix tape be making a come back? Rebecca had a theory, that with courtship becoming practically obsolete in the wake of Facebook, and texting, and Google, a return to retro wooing methods is in order. “The internet has sort of ruined everything,” Rebecca says. “It’s texted or e-carded or Facebook status-ed. Back in the day making a mix was an art form. It took thought and time and more work than just typing on some keys. I mean, homie could have sent me a freaking ring tone, know what I mean?”