My dating life is, in a word, terrible. I seem incapable of finding 1) anyone I have a true connection with and 2) decent, stable individuals. By decent, stable individuals I mean those who don’t try to sleep with my best friend or invite me to have a threesome with another guy they met before me and who they purport to like just as much as me. Not that there is anything wrong with a threesome, it’s just that it’s not the sort of relationship-building activity I find particularly fulfilling. When was the last time any monogamous relationship started off with a threesome? At any rate, in the efforts of “giving things a shot” and trying to “break out of my heteronomative-obsessed box,” I go along with things that eventually lead to me walking home, late at night or early in the morning and feeling like Henny Penny.
It’s on these walks home, to shield my head from the perpetual downpour that is the sky falling, that I listen to music. Not just any music. I listen to music that takes me on an emotional journey: through the despondency of another guy who didn’t work out, passed my disgust of the current state of dating in today’s society, and finally arriving at a beautiful, Yes, I can! moment as I walk in the door to my apartment, head to the shower and stand for an hour to consider what the hell I’m doing with my life.
It’s the music that facilities this process—a frequent process, sadly, but a process nonetheless. And this is how it goes:
1. Cat Power, “The Greatest”
For those unfamiliar with this song, it is quite possibly one of the most depressing songs ever written. Not just regular depressing. This is depressing like if Ingmar Bergman and Fiona Apple got together and had a threesome with Sylvia Plath… then decided three wasn’t enough and called Jonathan Franzen. The first guy I seriously dated introduced me to this song. He said it reminded him of me. He was right. Not only have I “once” wanted to be the greatest, I have a perpetual need to be the greatest. This often results in me looking forlornly into the distance… all the time. And this is why it is the first song I listen to as I exit the apartment, condo or house of Mr. I’m Just Not That Into You Unless You Have Sex With Me and Some Other Guy. Because, at that moment, that exact moment, I am remind that “once I wanted to be the greatest.”
2. Lana Del Rey, “Summertime Sadness/Blue Jeans”
These songs remind me of my ex. Now, why on earth would I be thinking about my ex when I’m being quietly rejecting by some other guy. Well, my relationship with my ex was founded on rejection, saturated in the promises of a better future and sprinkled with tears. Think “The Awakening” but as a cooking companion that’s result is a delightfully depressed stew. Also, the songs themselves are apropos because it is summertime and I am very sad, usually wearing blue jeans. And I will “love him till the end of time.” Because being damaged is fun.
3. Sleigh Bells, “Tell ‘Em”
At this point I have successfully ventured through my depressed phase. I have stopped at 7/11 and bought donuts and chocolate milk (because I deal with my emotions like a 5 year old) and I am not really, really, really angry (mainly because I know I am going to have to run a lot to work off those donuts and chocolate milk). This song is loud. It is very loud. And I play it very loudly. So much that sometimes I have to take my headphones off and recover before I move on to the next song. The lyrics are also clear, concise, and effective:
“All the kids, all the kids these days, do you really, do you really wanna be that way?”
Yes, do you really want to be that way? Do you really want to be surrounded by people constantly and never have a meaningful conversation? Do we really always have to be drunk to have a good time? Are you really that unaffectionate? And why do you need to be so self-involved?
“And, did you know that you could make me scream.”
Yes, you actually piss me off so much that I want to scream.
“Did you do your best today?”
Well, clearly not universe: look at what I’ve been subjecting myself to.
4. Solange Knowles, “Sandcastle Disco”
Now that I have evacuated all the rage from my body with the previous song, I need something that’s a little more peppy, yet still able to express my feelings. This song is the perfect song for that. It’s peppy. It’s upbeat. It makes you want bounce. Yet, she expresses everything I’m feeling:
“I’m a cool low Jane/With a skip on my feet /I play tough as nails/With my heart on my sleeve/ I’m nothing but a sandcastle/Baby don’t blow me away away”
But I do get blown away. Emotionally. And it reminds me of that. I need to be reminded that I am delicate and should avoid being with guys who treat me poorly…and strong winds.
5. Beyonce Knowles, “Why Don’t You Love Me?”
Yes. It takes both Knowles sisters to begin the process of cheering me up. This song re-establishes my self-esteem.
“N-n-now, honey/You better sit down and look around/‘Cause you must’ve bumped yo’ head”
Yep. I’ve now realized that maybe I might be a catch. Holy crap, I might have some good qualities that could make someone like me.
“I got beauty, I got class/I got style and I got ass”
Those. I have those.
“I got beauty, I got heart/Keep my head in them books, I’m sharp/But you don’t care to know I’m smart/N-n-n-n-n-no”
“I got moves in your bedroom/Keep you happy with the nasty things I do/But you don’t seem to be in tune, ooh”
And I suppose there’s that.
There is nothing more empowering than the moment when you realize that you are actually good enough. Good enough for someone to date you, yes, but good enough for yourself. And you can’t be good enough for another person until you’re good enough for yourself. Self-love is the key to any successful relationship. And I wasn’t expecting you to love me anyway. Not yet. Let’s not move too fast now.
6. Alex Winston, “Locomotive”
“I wish I cared about the things you care about, but I don’t.”
7. Fiona Apple, “Hot Knife”
This song just makes me smile. Atypical of Fiona Apple, she actually isn’t being that depressing. She’s just waiting for “Mr. Right.” And Mr. Right will be a hot knife. And I will be a pat of butter. Currently there are just too many dull knives trying to cut my butter, but that’s okay. This is what dating is: a series of dull knives, trying vainly to cut your butter but never succeeding. But once that butter gets cut, well, then you’ll be having some toast. And once you have toast, “He’s never gonna need, never need another.” (Threesome, that is.)
8. Kylie Minogue, “Get Outta My Way”
Home at last. And I’m happy again. I’ve realized that I don’t need Mr. Not That Into You, that I can do better, that I deserve better; therefore, I will end triumphantly with a shout of “get outta my way!” Because when you don’t give a person you’re seeing the respect they deserve, when you don’t attempt to appreciate the person they are, when you try to sleep with their best friend, well, Kylie says it best: “This is what’ll happen if you ain’t givin’ your girl what she needs.”
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This post originally appeared at In Our Words.