It's Valentine's Day, the holiday that divides the haves from the have-nots--those with Valentines and those without. The haves get chocolate and roses; I've heard rumor that some even get precious stones. The have-nots get a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, which we buy for ourselves. However, there is an up side--we don't have to share it with anyone.
I've had a valentine or two but lately I've hit a dry spell; you might call it a drought. However, I don't think that I'm alone.
I listen to a lot of music. Sarah, my dear friend of more than 30 years, just told me when we were on vacation a few years ago that I sang to myself a lot. I was totally unaware of this. She didn't say if it was annoying or not. I'm digressing.
One thing that I've noticed is that there are far more sad love songs than happy love songs. Think about it, how many songs do you hear where man and woman meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after? My guess is that these sad love songs are written by and for the have-nots. Love gone wrong is far more interesting than happily ever after.
Of course, a lot of folks don't really listen to the lyrics of songs and don't realize that most love songs are about love gone wrong. A perfect example is on of my favorite songs by The Police, Every Breath You Take. Released in 1983, it became a staple at weddings! Somehow people interpreted it as a love song in spite of its creepy lyrics. It's a song about a man so obsessed with a woman that he's stalking her. I watched an interview with Sting who expressed his dismay that so many fans still think it's a love song. Don't believe it's really about a stalker? Watch this video that includes the lyrics. (You can turn off the auto player, just look to the right of the page, find the music player and click on the pause (ll) button.)
Recently heard a song on the radio, Grenade, by that adorable young man, Bruno Mars. It's an example of the most pathetic of love gone wrong songs--the begging song. Basically the message is "I'll do anything for you if only you will love me." I liked the melody from the start but when he got to the chorus, I was totally hooked as Bruno sings, "I'd catch a grenade for you." Is this love? No, but it's certainly madness and he's so adorably cute. I've been in love before but I would really have to give some thought as to whether I would catch a grenade for someone. I don't like things that blow up.
Stalking and unrequited love are big topics in love songs, but my personal favorites are the leaving songs. There's just nothing that gets to me like a "you don't love me any more song," especially when the former lover has found somebody new and the rejected party is bravely going on. There are so many of these songs that it's hard to pick just one, but I'm currently enamored of Adele's lovely voice and her song Someone Like You fits the bill.
The ultimate sad love song, the ones that really make me shed tears into my ice cream (French Vanilla) are those in which one partner with a martyr complex leaves the other, convinced that its the best thing to do for the sake of the other person. How stupid can you get? You don't toss put a perfectly good lover just because you may ruin his or her life someday, especially when it's Kevin Costner. The late Whitney Houston did the definitive cover of the best self-sacrificing song ever, I Will Always Love You (written by Dolly Parton).
I could go on and on, there are thousands upon thousands of songs about love gone wrong which means that although you may be among those who don't have a valentine, you are not alone. We're actually in the popular group. I'll leave you with a poem that I wrote a few years ago when someone broke my heart. It was a big deal at the time but tonight I'm having trouble remembering his name.
There Is Nothing Original In Suffering
For every poem about love fulfilled,
there are written
one hundred times one hundred of love forsaken.
For every promise of love forever,
Jove’s mirth fills the arch of heaven,
for it is written that love’s perjuries conjure laughter.
swaddled in denial,
believe aches of the heart
to be a solitary pain,
newly born to the betrayed.
And so poets,
knowing there is nothing original in the sufferings of the heart,
write one hundred times one hundred of hearts mangled,
blinding lovers to a knowledge
much sharper than love broken--
that it has all been done and will be done again.