Since we’ve been home under shelter-in-place orders, my husband and I celebrated our eleventh anniversary at home. Our botched celebration involved a plan for takeout and an at-home Paint-And-Pour event cobbled together from existing art supplies and our wine rack after the kids went to bed. Unfortunately, my husband had an allergic reaction to something in his dinner, so he ended up going to bed early after lounging on the couch watching a concert uploaded to YouTube.
We found and watched a few classic concerts over the following days and then received a recommendation for some similar music videos. As big fans of 80s music, we landed on REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” which inspired a spirited discussion.
For the record, I really like this song, and I’m pretty sure at one point I owned REO’s greatest hits album.
From K’s perspective, the song’s male narrator sounds like a total flake. “Who would want to be in a relationship with a guy like that?” he asked me.
A guy who’s friends with a girl and doesn’t want to confess his feelings…
(“What started out as friendship has grown stronger and I only wish I had the strength to let it show”)
A guy claiming to have no sense of life purpose…
(“‘Cause I feel so secure when we’re together,” “Even as I wander,” and “My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you”)
A guy following the lead of this girl he seems to trust and believes he loves…
(“And it always seems that I’m following you, girl, ‘cause you take me to the places that alone I’d never find”)
A guy who apparently plans to crash on her couch until she reciprocates his feelings…
(“If I have to crawl upon the floor, come crashing through your door”)
Seriously, he’s acting like my kid throwing a tantrum and not respecting my boundaries…
This analysis brought us to the girl. What kind of person is this woman? Based on the lyrics, she sounds like a really stable, capable person who goes after her goals and inspires longing in this guy she’s been friends with for a long time.
(“I feel so secure when we’re together,” “You give my life direction, you make everything so clear”, and “You’re a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night”)
Who actually leaves candles in windows on winter nights anymore? The song is from the 1980s, when we had electricity. The last time I heard about someone doing this was during the Great Depression to offer extra food to the hungry, or that scene in the “Little House” books when Ma left the candle for Pa after a shopping trip to town went late.
K felt that the girl could do much better.
While I don’t disagree, I then flipped the script and considered the fact that many of the romance novels I read, especially the historical ones, have a flaky, helpless heroine who thinks she has it all figured out but actually needs the big strong hero to come and fix her life for her. Oh, and he also has to love her because what is the point of stability in the Middle Ages without his telling her that he loves her?
Yes, now I’m questioning what I like about these alpha male heroes and the damsel-in-distress heroines who think they’re so brave…
Of course, since K has not read (any) romance novels to be able to appreciate the tropes, I also approached the song from a practical standpoint. Of course a spontaneous person would appreciate stability in their significant other, and surely a staid homebody could use a little less structure in their life and they relationships.
Just the same, we both questioned the long-term happiness of such a couple, where one is so dependent on the other to provide their purpose and direction.
In the end, we did agree on one thing. The girl was a catch, and pretty soon this guy was going to be “wishing that I had Jessie’s girl.”