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As a teen (and early 20something), I liked to do what I could to assure my romantic relationships were “real”–that we held hands enough, or talked at each other on the phone enough.

One surefire way to make a relationship legit? Pick out your song, a tune that can always make you think of the other, something romantic and schmoopsy. And if it’s a song that actually has meaning to you, even better.

Looking back at some of my “songs” with exes, it’s really no wonder none of those relationships worked out. What a terrible (albeit, humorous) list of romantical songs. Consider the following examples, if you will. (To protect these poor souls from any embarrassment, I shall substitute their names with Disney characters.)

In chronological order:

  • “On Bended Knee”–This was my song with my first boyfriend. We were 12, and we liked Boyz II Men. The other popular Boyz song of the time? “I’ll Make Love to You.” As sixth graders, we both thought that would be a bit much, so we went with “Knee.” Which is a breakup song. Considering Simba and I dated/broke up/made out/confessed our undying love/moved out of state on on and off and on and off for seven years, it was actually pretty accurate. Sample lyric: “Darlin’, I can’t explain. Where did we lose our way? Girl, it’s driving me insane.” (Boyz II Men: Using “Girl” decades before Ryan Gosling made it cool.) And below: Boyz II Men is still my favoritest, and I still love this song. My darling husband–surprise, it’s not Simba–took me to my first Boyz concert last year. I took video only during “Knee.” It gets shaky at the end when I start screaming when Wanya holds out that delicious note.
  • “Piano Man”–I first asked Geppetto out as a friend. He came with me to prom and then asked me to his spring dance (poor dude went to an all-boys school). I didn’t first look at him romantically until the end of the night at his school’s party, as we danced to “Piano Man.” Sixteen-year-old me had never heard the Billy Joel tune before, which appropriately shocked and appalled Geppetto. So as we danced, he sang it to me. All together now: Aww. It’s got a sweet ass story, but have you heard those lyrics? Not what anyone would call romantic. Sample lyric: And the waitress is practicing politics as the businessmen slowly get stoned. Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better than drinking alone.”
  • “We’ve Got Tonight”–The Mad Hatter and I never actually established this as our song. We started to date a few months before college graduation, and he had plans to spend the summer overseas. We knew ours was a romance with a deadline. I didn’t really know anything by Bob Seger other than “Old Time Rock and Roll,” and when The Hatter played this for me one night, it had its appropriate weepy affect. But make no mistake: This is first and foremost a song about a booty call. Sample lyric: I know your plans don’t include me. Still here we are: Both of us lonely, both of us lonely. We’ve got tonight. Who needs tomorrow? We’ve got tonight, babe. Why don’t you stay?”

Your turn, kids. Any “songs” that simply don’t scream “I’ll love you forever”?

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