Monday, February 7, 2011

Practical Love Songs Part 2

When people think about songs of hardship, a name that comes to mind is John Mellencamp. He was born in a small town, he’s going to die in that small town, and along the way, he’s going to chronicle every loose lug nut that befalls the forsaken folk who inhabit that small town.

But many neglect to learn from John Cougar’s ultimate hard luck anthem: “I Need A Lover.” I’ll let Mr. Mellencamp tell it:

I need a lover that won't drive me crazy
Some girl to thrill me and then go away
I need a lover that won't drive me crazy
Some girl that knows the meaning of a
Hey hit the highway


A very biting and perceptive lyric. One reason so many couples are a mess is because they have obscene expectations of each other. When describing what their future mate MUST BE LIKE, it seems no whim is too absurd. Tell me this doesn’t sound familiar:

I want someone who knows when I’m happy. I want someone who knows when I’m sad. I want someone who knows when I need to be hugged and when I need to be bear-hugged. I want someone who knows when the muffins are done without having to look at the timer. Someone who can whittle a chair with one hand while massaging my back with the other. Someone who knows I like to be bitten on that little bump of skin behind my right earlobe that I’ve never bothered telling him is an erogenous zone and that not even my dermatologist can find…

Gee, with such simple requests, hard to imagine why the divorce rate is so high.

Mellencamp knows that all you need and all you should dare to expect is someone to thrill you…and then go away. You have heard that distance makes the heart grow fonder. You have heard that familiarity breeds contempt. John Cougar subtly reminds us of the accuracy of these sayings and throws in a pop hook for good measure.

What I’m proposing friends is that you manage your expectations. If you expect everything from a lover, you’ll be left with nothing. That is something both Jack and Diane can agree on.

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