It seems silly to develop feelings for a person you have never met. Especially if that person never existed or is rumored to be a dog (like Mandy from Barry Manilow’s “Mandy”). A great song, though, can evoke a disproportionate amount of emotion through lyrics and melody. It can even forge a connection to a potentially fictional human being. Therefore, it is with only mild embarrassment that I present a list of several female characters from songs that I have found myself smitten with over the course of my life.
Kate from “Kate” by Ben Folds Five
Why: She’s a funky hippie chick who can summon wildlife with her drumming!
Clincher Lyric: “She’s everything I want/She’s everything I’m not” What more could high school me have wanted?
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: She’s too much of a pothead. She never changes clothes.
The Homeroom Angel from “Centerfold” by the J. Geils Band
Why: “Centerfold” is the progenitor of the hip-hop trend of writing songs about being in love with strippers. ‘Nuff respect to the old school. (That is something no one has ever said about the J. Geils Band before.)
Clincher Lyric: “The memory of my angel/Could never cause me pain” Nostalgia! Innocence!
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: What would we even talk about? “So you get naked for money… what’s that like?” “…” Plus, since we went to high school together, she probably still has a thick Boston accent.
Susanne from “Susanne” by Weezer
Why: She can make Rivers Cuomo blush, and that’s quite a feat seeing that he unabashedly sings about his love of underage Asian schoolgirls.
Clincher Lyric: “Even Izzy, Slash, and Axl Rose/When I call you put ‘em all on hold” She blows off Guns n Roses talk to you? What a woman. That was probably a way bigger deal in 1994 when the song was written, though. Now it would be like: “No, Izzy, you can’t borrow my car… Hold on. I have to take this.”
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: I’d be intimidated all of the rock stars she’s hooked up with. My fault, I know, but her inevitable “Welcome to the Jungle” lower back tattoo would freak me out a little. I think if I needed to choose a woman from a song from 1994 for the long haul, I’d stick with Janine from Soul Coughing’s “Janine.” She seems a little more my speed.
Allison from “Allison” by Elvis Costello
Why: I’ve got a soft spot for girls on hard times. I don’t want to exploit them. I’m a lot like Elvis Costello. My aim is true. I swear.
Clincher Lyric: “I know this world is killing you” She’s like a bunny rabbit! She needs my help!
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: We’d probably never even hook up. We’d have a few late night hangouts just driving around, and then I’d end up taking her to rehab at some point.
Mrs. Robinson from “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel
Why: She’s the original hot mom.
Clincher Lyric: The movie The Graduate
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: The age difference. I’m already engaged to her daughter. There are so many reasons.
Mary from “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen
Why: Who hasn’t fantasized about driving away from your hometown in a sweet car with your high school crush?
Clincher Lyric: “It’s a town full of losers/We’re pulling out of here to wiiiiiiiiiiiin” Yeah we are, Bruce!
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: You know, maybe this is more about my man-crush on Bruce Springsteen.
Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl
Why: She’s a morning person, which is charming. She’s up for going down an old mine shaft with a radio (single entendre only), which shows a spirit of adventure. Plus, she’s a lady in the streets and a freak behind the stadium.
Clincher Lyric: “Sha la la la la la la la la la la te da!” Van Morrison can’t even form words. And he wrote “Moondance!” That’s a ringing endorsement of love.
Why It Wouldn’t Work Out: No reason. I think we are soul mates.
Not Quite My Type…
Sweet Caroline and Sweet Melissa
They’re the women that your friends try to set you up with, and when you ask what they’re like your friends say: “Melissa is so nice!” Nice is a wonderful quality to have, but it should not be your dominant personality trait. If people say someone is “nice” ahead of “great,” probably they are not great.
She’s a mope. She hangs out around churches where there were just weddings and smells the rice or some crazy thing. That’s hard to deal with in the long run. Where do all the lonely people belong? Not in my music-inspired fantasies.
Here is a conversation I can envision having with Roxanne…
Me: Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight. We’re just going to TGI Friday’s for my sister’s birthday.
Roxanne: You always say that, but then I’m always underdressed.
Me: At least turn off the red light.
Roxanne: YOU’VE NEVER RESPECTED MY CAREER!
Me: I hate everything.