From love’s first bloom to the stink of a broken heart, nothing conveys the hypnotic highs and crushing lows better than the breakup song.
Looking back at my catalogue of musical memories, some still bring a sigh, some schmaltz, but all represent a boy and a time.
I matured late…very late. Although I crushed on boys from just about the time I discovered them, I was an awkward, chubby and painfully shy kid whose military family moved several times a year. Even in high school, once I slimmed down and cooled up, I was the theater-girl and new waver, not the perky cheerleader or girl jock favored in my somewhat hick-centric environment. All the boys’ friend, but the boys didn’t want to do me. Besides, I wanted the boys in the band who wore eyeliner (a desire I pursued in grand fashion a few years later, but that's an entirely different post all together). It was around this time my lifelong relationship with the gays started. They had crushes on me and I loved them. At least as much as was possible. I didn’t really date and dip a toe until college.
“Losing my Religion” – R.E.M.
Fresh out of school, degree in hand, living in Boulder and working long days but out all night. Early-20’s, with a huge group of friends, all of them like me. Probably the best time of my life. His name was Jim and from the first night I met him, I felt I’d known him forever. We were fast friends. We were close, emotional, never physical. I loved him and it was the first time I felt that way. The more my romantic feelings grew, though, the more standoffish he became. I poured it all out in a letter. It broke my heart and his. A decade plus later we’re still in touch. He watched my nieces grow up, get married. We both saw our careers hit bumps, then blossom. He wrote and published a book. I landed a dream gig as a real life editor. He met his partner Brad soon after leaving me in Colorado, and they’ve been together ever since. They send a Christmas card every year.
“Come Undone” – Duran Duran
It’s no surprise the Brit demigods of my youth trickled down to young adulthood. I was single, he was not. I was in a relationship. He was having an affair. Even at 25, I was somewhat naive. Make that very naive. It just felt really good to be loved. Perhaps all girls need to be pursued and enchanted by a married man to discover true love is one-on-one and no respectable woman treads in anothers garden.
"Voodoo Lounge” – The Rolling Stones
Yes, the entire album. Represents the really good, then the really bad. I fell in love with Chris over many business calls. We worked together, albeit in different capacities and cities 2000 miles apart. After my dalliance with the ringed one, I was skeptical. Wounded and really scared is a better description. In fact, Chris said “I love you” first and I never said it back. But I really did. He called six years after, but it wasn’t meant to move backwards or go any farther forwards. I’m still afraid to commit. I hope I learn how.
Why don’t we have songs about the hook up or lusty interlude?