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Dear Little Bobby: Bummed by Bitches and Squeezed in San Francisco

Dear Little Bobby - Pyragraph

Got questions for Little Bobby? Send them to dearlittlebobby@pyragraph.com.


 

Dear Little Bobby,

I play in a band with a bunch of dudes; I’m the singer and keyboard player and the only girl in the group. I have a long-term boyfriend and two of my three bandmates are married or in long-term relationships. We all get along great like 95% of the time and we all like to get our whiskey and 420 on, etc. All good.

The problem is that two bandmates have partners (one a girlfriend, the other a wife) who are friends and they are totally vibing me out. I feel it’s because I’m a female in the group and I party with their dudes. Needless to say there is ZERO going on between me and the dudes but still, I get the bitchiest vibe ever from these chicks.

When we all started playing together about five years ago it was cool and we all used to hang out a lot. I’m not sure why things shifted but over time the two ladies became a unit and I hate their thinly veiled bitchiness now. I’m considering quitting the band but I really like my bandmates. What should I do?

—Beaten Down by Bitches in Portland

 

Dear Beaten Down,

Why are You playing music NOW? That is a question that I have asked myself, more than once.

About five years ago I held a band meeting where I told my bandmates that I was wanting us to be “Shoulder Voices” for at least five more years.  I was about to buy a VERY large van for touring us and our many stuffed animals and I was trying to gauge where my bandmates were in terms of who might not be interested in being in this band that long. I was trying to justify my financial investment by seeing “where we were,” but I made it clear that a LOT of Life can happen in five years, and everybody was free to quite anytime, for any reason. I just wanted it to be clear how I felt.

Everyone said “we are in” and then I bought the damn van.  Several months later, however, I began a VERY tumultuous, sexual relationship with our guitar player, which ultimately lead to her quitting the band within a year and us BOTH having broken hearts. I have spent the last four years writing an album which, for me, is about her.  When SHE quit the band I almost threw in the towel.  She and I shared our lives, and then before I knew it I was left with what felt like a “three-legged dog” of a band.

Despite my intention to “do this for at least five years,” barely a year into those five years, I found myself almost closing up shop. I almost quit being happy too. But I didn’t quit…even though during those four years I lost another bandmate to her suicide, another bandmate to his “semi-retirement,” another moved out of state; I lost my job and have had many many other obstacles.

This year, not only did I turn 40, but it also marks five years since that “five-year” band meeting.  I still have that damn van, which I’m currently trying to sell, but not one other person who was at that band meeting, aside from me, is still in the band.  But the band is still going because my newer bandmates and I enjoy playing music and want to share it.

My point is that people quit bands for many reasons: family, illness, job, etc. Are you going to let a couple of “bitches” make you want to quit a band?  If so, I think you’d regret it.  If I were you, I would stay in the band as long as it worked for me, my family and my bandmates and I wouldn’t give a damn what anyone else thought. For all you know, your band might out last the relationships your “dudes” have with their ladies. I am not hoping for anyone to split up or get a divorce, and neither should you—but things happen, Life happens. Or you and your bandmates might call it quits at some point for some other reason.  There are already enough obstacles in our creative lives as it is.  Sometimes life itself seems like an obstacle. For me, music is what helps me pave the sometimes bumpy road. Keep rocking…until you don’t want to or can’t.  Their shitty attitudes are theirs alone.  Your attitude is yours.

—Little Bobby
Shine on


Dear Little Bobby,

I live in San Francisco and I’m at the breaking point financially. Of course it has always been expensive to live here but my landlord just told me he was jacking up my rent by $700 starting in January. Seven hundred fucking dollars! I am self-employed as a landscape designer, and I have a great roster of high-budget clients so I’ve been able to make it in this money-sucking city for more than a decade—BUT the endless crush of bro-grammers and luxury condos and landlords with dollar signs in their eyes is finally getting me to crack.

Even if I could afford to live here, I hate to admit it but I find myself enjoying this city less and less as it loses all the weirdos and dreamers that made it amazing to begin with.

But I have great friends here and the thought of moving somewhere and starting over is a-scary. And if I were to move, where should I go? I’ve gotten spoiled with the beauty and the food and the liberal politics and everywhere else seems so dull.

—Spoiled Yet Stuck in SF

 

Dear Spoiled Yet Stuck,

If you are enjoying San Francisco less and less and it is costing more and more, those issues seem like deal-breakers to me. You say you are at a financial breaking point, which means to me that even if you stay there, how exactly would you? How would you afford what you don’t seem to be able to afford?

I left my hometown (Dallas) in my 20s and set out for a more liberal environment (New Mexico). In my case, one advantage I had was that I was moving to a MUCH more affordable and liberal area. But how do you get more liberal than San Francisco? You could try moving here. In New Mexico, we have great weather, it’s cheap and it’s creative. Your landscaping business would have to re-tool to a xeriscaping model, of course.

In all seriousness, I’d recommend looking for a solution that involves reducing costs such as finding a roommate (because you want to stay in SF), or getting the F outta there (because F THAT!). Sounds to me like San Francisco has a lot of drawbacks, in the same way that Portland has eaten up several of my friends and then spat them out.

If you are in fact considering moving, do it sooner, not later, for several reasons. The earlier you start making new business connections in your new city, the better. Ditto for making new friends in a new city. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, and don’t stay somewhere that sucks (or that’s sucking you financially) out of laziness only to realize one day that “I should have moved years ago.”

There are a lot of cities that have fantastic weather (without the rain, fog, cold), which is super important to me and, I’d assume, super important to a landscaper too. And almost any city will be cheaper than San Francisco.

But don’t be foolish, the “greener grass” will always have its own drawbacks. Here in New Mexico we have a terrible education system and a crime problem—oh wait, people all around the United States say the same things. One thing other cities DON’T have is the food. In fact, our only “cash crop” is a food, green chile. And I don’t mean the kind they smoke in Colorado.

Which reminds me: A LOT of the attractive places to live around the county are also losing their “weirdos” as more cookie-cutter types move in, to cash in.

You have a LOT of factors to weigh. If it were me, I’d start looking around, NOW. It can’t hurt to look.

—Little Bobby
Non-native New Mexican who feels “at home”

Email your songwriting/creative/music/sex/social media questions to Little Bobby: dearlittlebobby@pyragraph.com.

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