What Dan Savage and Nat King Cole have taught me about love…

A totally random thought on love:

I have what you could call a mindless summer job: data entry. I spend my days entering numbers into spread sheets and data fields. Fun times. So to combat the encroaching insanity I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and music.

At the moment I’m particularly amused by Savage Love Podcast, the spinoff from Dan Savage’s wildly popular sex and relationship advice column in Seattle’s The Stranger. So not appropriate for work, but hopefully none of my colleagues can tell what exactly I’m snickering at.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Nat King Cole. Whom I love. And you should too. But man, does he give bad love advice.

Example: “When I fall in love, it will be forever.”

This statement is pretty much always false. Because as Dan Savage would say: Every relationship fails until one doesn’t. And then sometimes, ten or twenty or forty years later, that one fails too (Dan doesn’t say that, but I feel it’s a necessary add on what with today’s divorce rate).

And while Dan’s advice wouldn’t make particularly good lyrics (Example: “Dump the mother [fill in the blank] hole”) I think maybe it’s time for some new love songs. Because the old model just isn’t working for us.

How exactly is this a pressing global issue?

I’m probably stretching a bit here, but what with the recent 14 year imprisonment of a gay couple in Malawi, George Reckers appearance with a Rent Boy, the Vatican-related child abuse scandals, funding for abstinence only sex ed in the American health reform bill, a 40% divorce rate in the West and so much more it is becoming increasing apparent that our view of love, relationships and sex is incredibly screwed up. We’re so focused on the mythical ideal that we miss the reality of it, and in the process either punish or condone a lot of other behavior that shouldn’t be.

And maybe more realistic love songs would be a step in the right direction.

Any one got any good lyric suggestions?

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Genevieve is mildly opposed to writing in the third person about herself, as it sounds rather pretentious and forced. But she will prevail. She likes books and curry and opera and that feeling you get when a professor compliments your writing/thinking etc. She is double majoring in English Honours and International Relations, which sometimes feels like the fast track to a nervous breakdown, but she loves it. She was raised internationally, and has no idea where she is 'from', but currently divides her time between Shanghai, Vancouver and the ever exotic Bellingham, Washington. She is somewhat intimidated by her fellow writers on Terry*, but she tries. If you like her, or hate her, or just want to read more, she also keeps a personal rant--er, blog at http://blogs.ubc.ca/genevieve/.

5 Responses to “What Dan Savage and Nat King Cole have taught me about love…”

  1. ElysaHogg

    We should revolutionize the love song world. I can see it on an infomercial now: “A compilation of your favorite love songs- perfect to listen to while trying to remember why you married this person in the first place.”

    Including such classics as:

    ‘Till death do you part so in front of your spouse you can fart’
    ‘You’re just like your mother’
    and ‘Cheaper Rent is Why We’re Living Together’

    It needs a little work clearly, but…

  2. Charlie

    Elysa: Ain’t No Rent Price High Enough (to keep me living with you)

    … although I think there are some modern songs that get a little closer to home. Nat King Cole after all has been dead for nearly half a century. What about “You Know I’m no Good” and every Fiona Apple song. Also, I can’t help but think the rap everyone bemoans for being so misogynistic might be part of our modern “love” songs. See also: “Single Ladies” and “Irreplaceable” for ladies longing for the sort of love that Nat advises but seems lacking, for the most part, today.

  3. Nicholas FitzGerald

    Yeah – I was gonna say that alot of Amy Winehouse’s earlier stuff has some good examples of what you’re talking about (before she got all crazy and cocainey)

  4. Lisa


    This was a fun post to read! I’m a bit confused, though.

    I don’t know if our (north american) view of love needs to be tweaked at all, really..the mythical idea of love was probably invented in the 60’s by Hollywood (I can only speculate on that one..not a citeable fact!)

    The rising divorce rate in the West might simply be a reflection of other social forces at work, not simply the fact that people are disappointed by the mythical ideal falling short. (is it true that historically marriages were not about love at all?)

    At risk of rambling.. I too think it would be fantastic if love songs were more realistic, but it’s possible that our views of love/relationships/sex haven’t changed all that much. Maybe the *only* thing that’s changed recently is the overload of cheesy love songs..?

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