While listening to Destiny’s Child at the gym yesterday (which is how I do), I realized that as the band is back together, they should take this golden opportunity to branch out from music. (And no, Kelly, I don’t mean starring in Freddy vs. Jason again. That only needed to happen once.) They need to release their own self-help book and relationship guide, just using lyrics from their own songs to impart sage advice. Beyonce’s wisdom belongs to the ages.
I compiled a sampling of some of my own suggestions. Don’t you feel more powerful already?
“It’s not hot that when I’m blockin’ your phone number/You call me from over your best friend’s house/And it’s not hot that I can’t even go out with my girlfriends/Without you trackin’ me down.”
Lesson: Contrary popular belief (see: Twilight fandom), it’s not hot when a guy stalks you. In relationships, we need to let each other breathe and have personal space, so we can be the independent women we were born to be.
From “Jumpin’, Jumpin’”:
“Last weekend you stayed at home/Alone and lonely/Couldn’t find your man/He was chillin’ with his homies/This weekend you goin’ out/If he try to stop you, you goin’ off.”
Lesson: Girl, you need to get a life and stop being so emotionally dependent on your man. In a relationship, we need to all give ourselves some me time, whether that’s staying home with a glass of wine and watching Obsessed or going out hitting the town with the girls. If you rely on your partner to provide all of your romantic fulfillment, you’re always going to be unsatisfied. You need to go out and get it yourself.
From “Lose My Breath”:
“Ooh, two things I don’t like when I’m tryna get my groove/Is a partner that meets me only halfway and just can’t prove.”
Lesson: “Lose My Breath” is about partners who can’t keep up with us, who say they can go the distance but don’t have the stamina to keep going. In relationships, you need to find someone who can keep pace with you, who goes at the same speed you do. It’s not just about finding a guy who is naturally at your speed, but a guy who wants to be, who is willing to listen to you and come to understand you. Relationships are hard work, and if you can’t find a guy who is in it to win it, you’ll never lose your breath. You won’t even break a sweat.
From “Say My Name”:
“I am not the one/To sit around, and be played/So prove yourself to me/I am the girl that you claim/Why don’t you say the things/That you said to me yesterday.”
Lesson: You do not cheat on Beyonce. Ever.
From “Independent Women (Part 1)”:
“If I wanted the watch you’re wearin’, I’ll buy it/The house I live in, I’ve bought it/The car I’m driving, I’ve bought it/I depend on me, I depend on me.”
Lesson: “Independent Women” is a rebuke to all the faux-chivalrous guys who think you owe them something when they pay for dinner, as if you can buy your way into someone’s vagina. (Remember Nice Guys of OkCupid? It’s shit like that.) Instead of relying on men to pay for you, Destiny’s Child says: Girl, no. You have your own income, and you pay for yourself. There’s no simpler joy in the world than knowing that you have the ability to take care of you and be an equal provider in your relationship. Just because you have a gluten allergy doesn’t mean you can’t win all the bread.
“You thought that I’d be broke without you/But I’m richer/You thought that I’d be sad without you/I laugh harder/You thought I wouldn’t grow without you/Now I’m wiser/Thought that I’d be helpless without you/But I’m smarter.”
Lesson: This song is a self-help book unto itself, and the best song Kelly Clarkson never sang. You know how they say that success is the best revenge? This song is proof. After a breakup, we’re made to feel like we’ll never move on, never heal and never find someone as great as what we had. But breakups are like a shark: there’s only forward. You might find not just that you’re better off, but that you’re the person you always wanted to be.
Also from “Survivor”:
“I’m not goin’ blast you on the radio/I’m better than that/I’m not goin’ lie on you and your family/I’m better than that/I’m not goin’ hate on you in the magazines/I’m better than that/I’m not goin’ compromise my Christianity/I’m better than that/You know I’m not goin’ diss you on the internet/’Cause my mama taught me better than that.”
Lesson: This song is too good for just one entry. This is a great reminder not to talk shit about your exes, whether that be on the radio, the internet or to Jesus. Jesus ain’t got time for your bullshit. He’s off turning water into wine and being magic and shit. (Jesus, I’ll have a merlot.) You can say anything you want, but not wasting your energy on guys who might not even be thinking about you is more efficient and sustainable. When it comes to your exes, reduce that shit-talkin’ footprint. Go green.
From “Bills, Bills, Bills”:
“You triflin’, good for nothing type of brother/Silly me/Why haven’t I found another/A baller/When times get hard he’s the one to help me out/Instead of/A scrub like you who don’t know what a man’s about.”
Lesson: A lot of people think that Destiny’s Child songs are all about money, as “Bills, Bills, Bills” is about getting your Benjamins back, but the lyrics are less about bills than reciprocation. We need a partner that puts in their share and doesn’t take advantage of our generosity and hospitality. Did TLC teach us nothing?
“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly/I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly/I don’t think you’re ready for this/’Cause my body’s too bootylicious for ya babe.”
Lesson: Okay, I’m too Brady to understand what this means. How can Beyonce’s entire body be bootylicious? Is she covered in butts? Which butt does she poop out of? Does she have the worst Dutch ovens ever? I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m sure it’s really empowering.