Monday, January 12, 2009

Pop music has ruined me OR Don't sweep me off my feet, I have bad balance

I’ve been listening to a certain CD lately and it depresses me. I won’t say who it’s by, so I can keep a little bit of street cred, but all she sings about is “romance.”

It’s 13 of the mushiest songs you ever heard, 13 tracks of high school nonsense. Luckily for her, they’re also super-catchy. I guess the joke is on me because I find myself humming them all the time.

So why does it bring me down? Because the woman is singing about all kinds of messed up ideas about love and romance and she’s passing them on to other women. The dude she sings about “looks like an angel,” kisses like a dream and says all the right things to make her “melt.” Oh, and when he's not around she can't breathe.

And the silliest thing she constantly sings about is kissing somebody in the rain. Why is this romantic? What is it about kissing and precipitation that makes it so great? Kissing + Being Soaking Wet = Romantic? I don’t see it. Does that mean I could kiss somebody in, say, an automatic car wash and it would be super romantic? I’m confused.

Why is it that when something is ridiculous that automatically makes it “romantic”?

These pop-music ideas get perpetuated in movies too. I realize that when you go see a movie you want a happy ending, that's why you pay $9. If you wanted reality you'd watch the news for free. I understand, all I'm saying is we need to understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

Once a girl did me pretty wrong, so I told her it was over. I had just gone on vacation and was enjoying my time off, when early one morning she showed up on my doorstep. Turns out she had harassed my friends, figured out where I was staying and driven over 12 hours to try and fix things. The exchange went about like this:

Her: I thought about what you said and I drove all night to tell you that I love you and that I want to be with you and only you!

Me: That couldn’t have waited until 9 or 10? [I’m not very tactful in the morning.]

Her: I wanted to see you as soon as I got here!

Me: So you bothered my friends, drove all night with no sleep, burned up, like, three tanks of gas to get here and you’re missing your college classes to wake me up? You could’ve just called. We have the same cell phone service, you know. It’s free. That makes a lot more sense.

But isn’t this romantic?

No. “Creepy serial-killer-stalker,” more like. What would’ve been “romantic” is her being nice to me from the beginning. And not crashing my vacation. Consistently treating someone with respect, in my mind, is what romance really is. That way you'll never need extravagant (or creepy) gestures. I don’t think I will ever understand anyone with two X chromosomes.

She kept getting in my space too, expecting me to kiss her or something, because that was what was supposed to happen next in the chick flick that was playing in her head. But I just told her “No, thanks” and sent her on her way.

I think the popular view of "romance" sets a lot of people up for disappointment. People that have asphyxiating absences, look like angels, speak meltingly and kiss like a dream might make cool pop songs, chick flicks and vampire novels that get made into vampire movies, but I’m afraid they aren't found in nature. Just saying.

And yet I'm still humming.


  1. whoah what people get for treating others badly..i like grand gestures sometimes, but maybe its just me. However, i agree that you should treat your partners with respect because thats what makes romance and relationship work.

  2. Haha it's true. Grand gestures from chick flicks are creepy in reality!!

    I know a few girls whose heads are filled with fairy tale chick flick notions of love. It's hurt a few of them too. As for me, I'm what I like to think of as a romantic realist!

    Great post!

  3. I think tie idea of the grand gesture is great, but when it's put into practice it's bad news. What would happen if I stood outside a girl's window blasting our song from a boombox, à la Lloyd Dobbler in Say Anything? I'd look extremely strange.

  4. Yeah, I'm a little worried about the younger generations. These high school girls think a guy sneaking into your room and watching you sleep is romantic. I call that guy a creeper.

  5. I'm all about the grand gesture...but sparingly. I once dated a guy who was all about the grand gestures but was a complete tool in between. Sorry, but that doesn't really work on me. There has to be some meat in between that bread.

  6. I once dated a guy who was obsessed with the idea of trying to kiss me in the rain. It freaked me out just a bit, so I made a habit of avoiding him whenever it was raining.
    And Tom, some girls would swoon at the Lloyd Dobler triubte. For real.
    P.S. The-CD-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named is totally addicting.

  7. maybe you need to get some new CD's... M. Ward, for instance

  8. I heart T. Swift..or should I say Taylor S. Don't want to give away your dirty little secret. Not so much kissing in the rain though. Did that vacation sequence really happen? First time reading your blog Jacob and definitely reaffirmed your sweetness as a writer to me. Hilarious.

  9. The vacation sequence totally happened. As for your assertion, I will neither confirm nor deny.

  10. I totally agree... however, us girls get sucked in every time and sadly, most of us DO like the grand gestures...

  11. Housesitter is a great movie that talks about make-believe vs. reality...especially the "Chinese Food" section.

    Most girls just want to know that they are noticed and cherished for being the unique person they are: no matter how big the gesture.

  12. hey! i believe i was one of the friends who were harassed in your story!

  13. It's true! I still feel bad that you were received some collateral damage from my ridiculous dating career. You were just an innocent bystander.

  14. well, listening to taylor doesnt make me see you any differently. i think i actually like you a little better. this is my first time to your blog but you have already scored a couple points with me. dont be ashamed of her. although, i totally get what you are saying. i do love the cd you are referring too [i am even pretty sure its in my cars stereo right now] but most of the songs are very high school. i think that might be a little bit of its appeal to me. it takes me back to the years of drama and all the fun that came along in between!

    ps- love the blog. good read :)

  15. Have you heard Sara Bareilles' song Fairy Tale?

  16. That really happened? Oh man.

    I also think it is hilarious that my word verification is 'wac tot'.

    I'd have to say that that girl was a wac tot.

  17. i know which singer you're talking about! that wasn't really the point but still...i totally know. but it's ok, i won't sell you out. secret is safe with me :)

  18. "but all she sings about is "romance"" taylor swift comes straight into my head. am i correct? LOL.

    for me, romance only happens when both person are into each other. without much effort, little things become romantic. if A is not into B, as much as B is into A, then, nothing that B does can be considered romantic.

    that's how i see it anyway :)

  19. What you said about your ex showing up early morning at your door was very enlightening. It had never crossed my mind that guys saw it that way.

    I'm guilty as charged for having done at least one "extravagant" gesture, but (for the record) I didn't do it for the sake of romance. I just think that some things are better said face to face.

    Now if I would have been her, I would have seriously considered the trip. I mean it's not like you were never coming back from vacations.