Dating Taylor Swift

Monday, November 24, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I love Taylor Swift.  How could I not?  I'm sure if I were a younger man, say like, 14 or so, I'd be standing neck-high behind a velvet rope somewhere screaming at the top of my lungs how I would slaughter my little brother for the chance to touch Taylor's arm.  Thankfully, my more ancient Swiftiness manifests as a hidden shame and then peaks right where the motivation for this SNL gem of a fake commercial came from:

My Taylor love exposed, I still am sick to death of hearing Shake It Off getting overplayed on the radio.  Just like Pharrell's Happy and Gotye's Thatsongoftheirs before it, Shake It Off is the drill bit in a jackhammer being repeatedly pounded into the national consciousness without even buying us dinner first.  Taylor, I'd be happy to go to dinner with you, just ask!  Then you can gladly pound me into oblivion with your vocal abilities.

I get it.  A catchy pop song with a message of upbeat joy only comes around . . . every month or so . . . and everybody feels better when they are bopping along on their merry way.  If only the music machine could come out with all their #happyhappyjoyjoy songs at the same time, then perhaps DJ's could concoct a more palatable long term rotation. Until that time, I will patiently await Ariana Grande's future single, Jubilation! (the punctuation mark being part of the title of course), and it's predictable three months of overexposure on 92.7 FM.

I'm starting to love this whole meme thing.
The controversy surrounding Taylor Swift has never been a debate regarding her song writing abilities.  That girl/woman (Not a girl, not yet a woman?) can compose lyrics and melodies like a boss.  The secret to her lyric success is her ability to translate the decidedly adult, complex feelings teenagers experience into relatable, empathetic lines of prose.  Even the older generations can see a bit of their past selves reliving those camp romances and early high school heartbreaks, as Taylor's tunes evoke universal themes of lust, love, anger, heartbreak, growth, and self-celebration.

The knock on Taylor is that she keeps drawing from her personal experience in order to create her art.

Are you kidding me? How sexist do you get?  How is a 24 year old supposed to bring the world together through music without reflecting on the peaks and valleys of her own life.  Is she supposed to read a ├╝ber detailed book on the in's and out's of love, and then sing to everyone about how it feels?  Should she write music about the loss of Shakespearian love?  I mean, Romeo and Juliet tells us everything we'll ever need to know about physical and emotional love, right?  No need to mess with that stuff ourself.

If only Billy Joel never wrote about Christie Brinkley, if Richie Valens never knew Donna Ludwig, Neil Diamond and Caroline Kennedy, Paul Simon and Carrie Fisher, Peter Gabriel and Rosanna Arquette, Usher and Chilli, Justin Timberlake and Brittney Spears  That's some list.  And it is ever growing.  When men are the singer/songwriters of the sounds of love and loss, it becomes the greatest music of all time.  When an attractive young lady does it, she becomes toxic to date.  Critics intimate that she is just living her life as a means of gathering more material to write about.  As if she is merely acting the part of herself in some disingenuous way to manufacture emotions and billboard hits.   That is what you call a double standard, and its beginning to feel like they call it that because it's become standard to shame young women for owning their sexuality.  That it is total bullshit.

But the sexist double standard isn't the only alarming mixed-message begin transmitted to the People magazine loving population.  If you unpack the message of "careful guys or Taylor Swift will write a mean song about you," it puts all of the negative onus on Taylor.  As if the sweetest most nurturing guy  in the world could fall in love with Taylor, treat her how she wants to be treated, and then still get nationally trolled on her next hit album.  From my admittedly distant perspective, that doesn't seem to be what is happening. These don't seem like happy healthy long term partners that Taylor has been with -- they seem like fame-induced, sexually charged, growing experiences; tinged with ulterior motives all around.  They seem like the kind of relationships that inevitably end in breakups.

My larger point here is I think the world would be a better place if we all dated our partners as if they were Taylor Swift.  No, this is not me suggesting you cut Taylor's face out of a magazine and try to tape it you lovers face.  I mean, if you are both into that, go for it, but that is not what I'm saying (but i do know what I'm trying tonight :)).  I'm saying what if we all interacted with our partners as if there were real repercussions for our actions -- as if when we hurt someone, if we found the most insensitive and hurtful way to accomplish that goal, there might be a nationally publicized song about how shitty we were.  Would that be a bad thing?

Is it so wrong to hold people accountable for their actions? Especially those people who are the closest to us? While I am not a proponent of shaming, I am forced to admit that this tinge of added fear would most likely make the dating pool a much more compassionate place to swim.  It would certainly diminish the chances of the less experienced swimmers being left high and dry.  I imagine it might even  lower the instances of drowning.

So love your lover at least as much as you'd love Tay-tay.  Treat them as if their feelings resonate, because they do. But please, knock it off with that fucking Shake It Off song.

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