Sunday, 12 February 2012

a rather cynical (early) valentine's day post

reading a post on stephanie's blog last week reminded me (of all things) about how much i used to love this song:

so i had to go searching for it on youtube. and as is usual with these things, the memory of them turns out to be better than the reality. it's not that i don't like the tune any more - i still do. it's just that i never really paid attention to any of the words other than the chorus. but the clip above forced me to pay attention to the words, and i've decided i don't like them.

i'm generally not a fan of love songs. there are very few i can be bothered listening to. most of the music i really like has something meaningful to say, and yes, love can be meaningful. so let me say that i'm not a romantic at heart. i've never been one to believe in true love and happily ever after. maybe it happens, but in my experience, successful relationships don't come effortlessly. they take a lot of work, attention and maintenance. a relationship tends to be as good as the amount of time you put towards it.

i'm certainly not a fan of relationships where one of the parties is using words like "worship" and "obsessed". maybe it's just me, but those are kind of creepy words and i'd rather not be worshipped or have anyone be obsessed with me. i'd rather that they saw me as a whole person, which includes the less charming bits. love tends to be more meaningful (for me anyway), when a person sees your flaws and decides they care for you regardless. which is much more than an obsession with the perfect someone they have always been looking for.

i guess i don't believe in perfect matches either. i don't think there's a single perfect person waiting out in the world - a perfect soulmate who will complete you. one of the most intelligent things i've heard is that a relationship is not about two halves making up a whole, but it's two whole people coming together. the thing is that if you're not complete in yourself, then you're not going to find that completeness from someone else. looking to someone else to make your life perfect always seemed to me to be a recipe for disaster.

maybe i'm too much of a realist, but i prefer love songs and stories that include the messiness, the awkwardness and sometimes the heartbreak & ugliness that are part of human relationships. as you can imagine, i don't do well with romance movies either - whether they be comedies or dramas. aside from all the gender stereotypes that are so annoying, and the fact that women are generally supposed to give up their career & all ambitions for their man, when they end up with the happy couple looking forward to their glorious new life, i'm sitting there thinking "yeah right".

but getting back to the song, stealing of hearts with spells and the like doesn't sound so wonderful to me either. hearts should be won over, not stolen. and even then, only with the consent of the owner of said heart. not with incessant stalking when the object of your affections has clearly shown a lack of interest. i'm reminded of "the graduate", which i saw again last year, and again realised it was more awful than i remembered. particularly the stalking of the daughter by dustin hoffman's character, to the extent of going to her university and getting access to her dorm. that is not not romantic, it's scary and unfair.

so i'm really wishing that someone would write new lyrics to this song so that i could like it again. i'm not any good with poetry, so i'm not even going to try. and i'd just like to acknowledge that there will be people for whom the true love, romantic fairytale has worked, and for whom the relationship doesn't require too much effort but just comes naturally. if you're in that category, then i'm really happy for you.

while we're on music, i'm sad to hear of whitney houston's passing. yes, i used to adore her music in my younger days & loved the power of her voice. regardless of how her life has played out in more recent years, it's hard to forget the talent she possessed. right now, i'm going with this as one of my favourites:

i hope you had your moment whitney. RIP.


Mikaere Curtis said...

Never particularly liked that song, although I do like the musical theme - it went well with the whimsical aspect of the movie.

The problem with the lyrics arises from the fact that it attempts to retell the love story the unfolds in The Princess Bride. Evil prince, 'as you wish' and all that.

I do agree that relationships are seldom as easy or perfect as the average love song would suggest. However if you consider long term relationships to have two distinct phases (which I call "playing" and "living"), then they are a reasonably depiction of the carefree "playing" phase. The real work begins when you enter the "living" phase.

For a more nuanced love song, try this:

It's one of my favourites, and I sang it to my wife as she walked up the aisle at our wedding.

LudditeJourno said...

Gorgeous song Mikaere, thanks for sharing that, and lovely image too of you singing it to your partner.
But then I'm an unashamed romantic love song enjoyer I'm afraid :-) would be up there for me.
Completely agree, stargazer, that thinking there's just one "soulmate" out there waiting to "complete" you is bizarre. I'm complete already :-) and I'll enjoy falling in love again when I do.