Stand there like a ghost, shaking from the rain.
She’ll open up the door and say, “are you insane?”
Say it’s been a long six months, and you were too afraid to tell her what you want.
And that’s how it works; it’s how you get the girl.
Remind her how it used to be – with pictures in frames, of kisses on cheeks.
Tell her how you must’ve lost your mind when you left her all alone and never told her why.
And then you say, “I want you for worse or for better. I would wait forever and ever. Broke your heart, I’ll put it back together. I would wait for ever and ever.”
And that’s how it works. That’s how you get the girl.
This is not how you get the girl.
I recently purchased the Taylor Swift album, 1989, because I love to hate myself, and after first hearing the track that was responsible for said purchase (see also: Blank Space), a song titled “How You Get the Girl” started playing.
Now, I’m a pretty outspoken hater on Taylor Swift, so take everything I say with a grain of salt (while also remembering that I buy her music, so what am I even talking about). There’s genuinely no reason for the “hate” beyond the fact that I like making fun of her lyrics (and also changing them into something gym, food, or squirrel related). In the end, however, I’m pretty sure she is laughing maniacally while bathing in iTunes royalties, so good on her.
The song is catchy, as Taylor Swift music tends to be, and I’ll give her that. But the more I consciously listened to the lyrics, the more confused I became about her message. Was she being serious? – or perhaps this was some sort of self-aware commentary on her terrible choices in men? A public service announcement on the benefits of a proper rain jacket?
While it’s pretty well known that most of her music has a clear connection to her own personal experiences with love, I genuinely couldn’t tell if she was advising men to behave the way she described in the song, or if she was essentially posting a public call-to-action to a lost love that she wanted back – both of which are rather terrible choices based on what she says in the lyrics.
Let me assure you, youth of America who is obviously reading this… if an ex-boyfriend (or an ex-girlfriend) shows up on your doorstep after an unexplained six months off the grid – if he would rather vanish for six months than confide something in you – unless he is John Cusack (ask your parents) with a boom box over his head, was deworming orphans in Somalia, or is a CIA operative, slap the shit out of him politely close the door in his face, make some tea, and kindly move on with your life. He is not your person.
That is just not how you get the girl, Taylor. And if you require a man break your heart so that he can demonstrate his ability to put it back together, it truly provides a lot of insight into the rest of the tracks on every album you’ve released in the history of time.
In Taylor’s defense, every relationship fails except the one that doesn’t – so I am not faulting her for writing about such experiences. It can be therapeutic and empowering to sing about such things, I’d imagine. I wouldn’t know, since my shower cries every time I sing near it.
I think the problem I have is that this song just further explains a lot about the standards we have set, or rather fallen to, regarding love. I was once dating (or married to, whatever) a guy whom I soon-after felt was not the right person for me (that’s a whole separate conversation about setting my own standards and making poor choices). I found myself incredibly withdrawn from everything, truly not recognizing myself when I looked in the mirror. I was so, so unhappy.
I remember sobbing one night as I confessed these feelings (and lack of feelings) to a girlfriend.
Her response, something I’ll never forget, was the following:
- Does he love you? (yes)
- Does he hit you? (no)
Then just be happy. Finding a good guy is hard enough.
Whoa. Whoa. If the standards that women have set for potential mates fall under the categories of proof of love and lack of bruising, I am just not even sure how anyone finds the inventory to select from. No wonder you get the girl by basically just showing up on her doorstep, faking a chill from the rain, and following a color-by-numbers apology.
So I suppose I cannot blame Taylor Swift completely for her melodic instructional manual on romance. At some point, a large portion of the female species decided that it is not only acceptable for a guy to go AWOL for half a year, but if he shows up, points to a photo of you two kissing and says, “Sorry, baby. I love you and I’ll wait forever for you (except those past six months when I was banging hookers in Bali),” you’re supposed to go weak in the knees and actually take him back. And furthermore, if he doesn’t beat you too hard, he may actually be the one!
This makes my spirit animal so sad.
Something I suppose I haven’t considered is that what Taylor swift describes in her song may actually be what she’s into. Like, perhaps that really is how you get her – treat her like shit for awhile, then show up and point at old Facebook pictures of when you were happy together – if that’s what gets her off, at least she owns it. And let’s face it, without masses of men treating Taylor Swift like shit, she would probably get tired of singing solely about what age she is (and how sick her beats are) and quickly run out of material, thus silencing radio waves for an eternity. I can hear the cries of ice cream eating, slightly stable women around the world right now. Weirdly, their cries sound a lot like Taylor Swift songs, but I digress.
Because most of the ways to “get” me involve food, here’s some un-foody ways that you get this girl.
- Surprise her at the airport when she expects to take a cab.
- Surprise her with anything – it’s really hard to surprise her.
- Unexpected cupcakes (sorry, that one slipped through).
- Tell her you’re thinking about her when you’re thinking about her.
- Talk about the future – even if that’s just next month.
- Presents are nice – time with you, however, is gold.
- Plan things to do and do things that aren’t planned.
- Try things she loves – food, places, movies – you don’t have to love them too, but trying to understand and experience what makes her happy brings you closer.
- Discover new things together.
- Share what you love so she can be a part of it too.
Argue when necessaryTalk it through – work it out – don’t ignore it.
- Hold her hand or waist in public – because public is annoying.
- Kiss her in the elevator.
- Let her wear your shirts when she sleeps.
- Be a kid – but know when not to be.
I don’t really feel like writing an entire list. The thing about writing ways to get a girl (or to get me, at least)… is that it just feels very one-sided and demanding – as if these are the sole “honey-do’s” of a relationship and women need not bring any effort to the table themselves (but sandwiches would be acceptable).
And really, there isn’t a way to “get the girl” because girls are not boxes of Hot Pockets on aisle six. One guy could do everything on this list and be the love of my life and another could do them and be the most annoying human I’ve ever filed a restraining order against. It’s the whole Hot Guy or Stalker conundrum. It’s really sweet that you love the way I get ready for bed at night, until I realize you’re the mouth-breather outside who is looking through my window.
Ultimately, Taylor’s song bothers me because I feel that 1) it suggests to men that part of the way to get the girl is to be an asshole (break her heart unexplainably so you can be there to “fix it”), 2) it suggests that women are supposed to actually look for such qualities in a man – and that we are so shallow that we’re expected to simply swoon over such actions, and 3) it suggests that because Taylor Swift has a microphone and lady parts, she has any kind of authority on this subject – when we all know the next song on that album is about how much her love life sucks anyway.
Yesterday, in an effort to remedy this and calm my tits (and also because my friend was taking way too long to reply on FB chat), I have changed all the lyrics to things that I find more appealing.
And that’s how it works… That’s how I blow an entire hour of my Wednesday evening.