I tried to pinpoint when exactly I started pretending to love Bob Dylan. I racked my brain for the boy who first put on "Like a Rolling Stone" and stared at me with misty eyes.
Then I realized: There was no boy. It was all the boys. Every boy.
Every boy would sit me down and be like, "Hi, precious baby. I know you probably haven't heard of this super obscure songwriter, so let me put on an album that will change your life."
Then they would put on Highway 61 Revisited or The Times They Are A-Changin' or The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and have a "moment." The moment would go like this:
1. They close their eyes.
2. They lean their head back, sometimes swaying a little to really drive home the point that they are in the music. This is their blood. The music has literally replaced blood cells and now they are ethereal beings made of sound and emotion.
3. They snap their head back up, open their eyes, and search my face for the right reaction.
4. If I'm not climaxing, they proceed to talk over the album about how great Bob Dylan is.
Repeat this experience about 10 times from 2002 to 2010.
What I Think Now: Yes, boys, I've heard of Bob Dylan.
Yes, I do know that Bob Dylan is an important American figure in folk music and songwriting.
Yes, in fact, I do like The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
Yes, I do like a lot of Bob Dylan.
Yes, his voice fucking annoys me sometimes and I often prefer to listen to other people cover his masterful songs.
No, I'm not impressed that you listened to all the Bootleg Series.
No, THERE ARE ALMOST NO DEEP CUTS IN THE BOB DYLAN CATALOG, AND YOU NEED TO STOP LOOKING FOR THEM. OTHER PEOPLE WROTE SONGS, TOO. DID YOU FORGET?
Look, I will never say that Bob Dylan isn't great or iconic—a rare behemoth whose career shifted a cultural conversation and pop music in general.
But that is never enough for these boys. They refused to accept that I truly knew Bob Dylan. They were indignant if challenged that they were not the ones who knew him best. I have received floods of Bob Dylan playlists, endured hours of Dylanology trivia circle jerks, been lectured by two different men on why his "bad" singing is better than "good" singing. The first time I tentatively said I occasionally preferred covers of his songs, I watched a dude's head whip around as he stopped watching the road while driving to explain to me in tense, clipped tones WHY. DYLAN'S. VOICE. MAKES. THE. SONGS. IMPORTANT.
I almost died so I could be told to like something better than I liked it.
I'm bored of worshipping the 1960s Greenwich Village/Cafe Wha? scene and beat poets and finger picking and oh my god if someone sends me a Bob Dylan "deep cut" after this, I swear I'll light my hair on fire.
Was It Worth It: Yeah, Dylan is great. JUST STOP TELLING ME HOW GREAT HE IS. THE BATTLE IS OVER. THE WHOLE WORLD IS AWARE.