I like to run to energetic music. Like “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield, for example. It’s got a nicely syncopated bass line, catchy guitar work on the chorus, and easy lyrics to sing along to, even just in my head. Plus, who doesn’t sympathize with someone who’s in love with their friend’s significant other but can’t tell anyone? This girl is obviously something special.
But wait a second. What’s so special about her? We know she’s dating Jesse, a good friend of the narrator. But what’s she like? She’s got “those eyes” and “that body.” Okay, so she’s attractive. Surely it shouldn’t be too hard to “find a woman like that.” I know a lot of women, and they all have eyes and bodies. It stands to reason that he could find someone with similar physical features. Is that the only reason he loves her?
I’ll just briefly touch upon the fact that she doesn’t have a name and is solely defined by belonging to Jesse. I understand that songs are often left vague and the object of desire is not named because that allows the listener to insert herself into the situation and to identify more significantly with the song. I just want to hear more songs where the thing that’s amazing about a woman, the thing that turns the singer from lust to love, is something that woman achieves, and not how that woman looks.
I know that when I develop a crush on someone, a big part of what I like is the things that person does well. I’ve had crushes on actors, musicians, and writers, and also on leaders and multi-taskers and political activists. There’s very little as attractive to me as someone doing something they’re good at, and putting their talents and passions into action.
So why do I feel like my primary value to prospective dates is how I look?
I’m sure there are lots of answers you could give me. Dating’s a shallow game–what you notice first about a person is how he or she looks, male or female. Okay. Competent women threaten masculinity. Really? My dad has never seemed threatened by my highly competent lawyer of a mother. But okay. It’s what a patriarchal society models for us as the value of a woman, left over from when women were regarded as status symbols and chattel more so than as independent persons. There may be something to that.
The thing is, I’m sure there are men who fall in love with women for the things they do well. For their skill at debate, or their ability to coordinate large groups of people, or their mad basketball skillz. I’d like to hear their stories more often.
It would give me something to smile about on that last mile of my morning runs.