Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where are the dudes in distress?

By Peale Iglehart

I’m studying for midterms and listening to Pandora (www.pandora.com, get hooked if you’re not already) when a song comes on that snags my attention. It’s this line that does it: “She swears that there’s no difference / Between the lies and compliments / It’s all the same if everybody leaves her.”

Hmm. This sounds like another riff on the “sad lost girl in need of strong, stable boy to save her” shtick. Think Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby” – don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of that song since 6th grade, but the whole “damsel in distress” motif is nothing new. You can still sing all the words to Nine Days’ “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”, right? (Remember, she “cried a river and drowned the whole world”?) And Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved”? (“She had some trouble with herself”…but it was OK because “He was always there to help her”—except, sigh…“She always belonged to someone else”…)

Clearly this new sad-girl-song calls for some investigation (it's also an excuse to tear myself away from the course packet). I Google the lyrics and find…

Jon McLaughlin - “Beautiful Disaster”

She loves her mama's lemonade,
Hates the sound that goodbyes make.

She prays one day she'll find someone to need her.

She swears that there's no difference,

Between the lies and compliments.

It's all the same if everybody leaves her.

And every magazine tells her she's not good enough,

The pictures that she sees make her cry.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in between, a beautiful disaster,
And she just needs someone to take her home.
She's giving boys what they want, tries to act so nonchalant,
Afraid they'll see that she's lost her direction.

She never stays the same for long,
Assuming that she'll get it wrong.
Perfect only in her imperfections.
She's not a drama queen,
She doesn't want to feel this way, only seventeen but tired

She would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between, a beautiful disaster,
But she just needs someone to take her home.

'Cuz she's just the way she is, but no one’s told her that's OK.

And she would change everything, everything just ask her.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
And she would change everything for happy ever after.
Caught in the in between of beautiful disaster,
But she just needs someone to take her home
And she just needs someone to take her home.

I’m torn at first: isn’t it sweet that Jon McLaughlin wants to come to this girl’s rescue? Who among us hasn’t flipped through a magazine and felt shitty about herself on some level (even those of us, me included, who want to think we’re above caring how much weight Nicole Ritchie has lost)? Yeah, I think, maybe I should be applauding Jon for his concern! But, “she just needs someone to take her home”? Not sure this is the best approach to patching up this girl’s self-esteem. I mean, isn’t part of her problem that she’s “giving boys what they want,” while trying to act (unpredictable rhyme alert!) “nonchalant”? Of course this is a real problem: I’m not denying that there are girls out there who use sex to feel better about themselves or to try to fill a void—but, newsflash: guys do this too!

So where are the girls singing about the screwed-up, needy guys in their lives?! We all know girls and women who tell the boys and men in their lives that they’re “OK” the way they are - we might be those girls and women. But we never hear about those women. Why not?

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