This week, I’m going to write about something controversial. I tend to stay away from the controversial topics on this blog, mostly because I don’t want to alienate anyone. But this is something that has been on my mind lately. This is an issue on which people tend to have strong opinions one way or the other, and I always thought I knew where I stood, but I’m beginning to realize the issue may be more complicated than I thought. What am I talking about that causes such strong opinions and arguments? Gay rights? Abortion? Gun control? Immigration? The environment? Education? Creation vs. evolution? A military conflict happening somewhere in the world?
No. Today’s topic is Taylor Swift.
For those of you who live in a bubble and ignore everything coming out of Hollywood: Taylor Swift is a popular singer. She began her career as a country singer, but later discovered she could make even more money and be even more popular by ditching country music and singing the kind of auto-tuned mass produced pop drivel that teenage girls love. She is well known for dating flashy hotshot celebrities, dumping them after about 10 days, and writing man-hating songs about them. It’s probably clear from this paragraph which side I take regarding being a fan of hers or not.
Anyway, I have two reasons why I chose to write about Ms. Swift. The first is because she turns 25 today*. And I’m going to point out that she shares a birthday with Amy Lee of the band Evanescence, actor Steve Buscemi, and actor Jamie Foxx, and I’m going to make each one of those names a link just so I’ll give you something else to click on other than Taylor Swift. In fact, there will be a lot of links to click in this weeks’ post. (*”Today” is December 13, 2014 as I write this, but it’s almost midnight so this won’t get published until the 14th.) She also shares a birthday with my cousin, and I would have linked to a picture of my cousin and her hilarious kids except that I prefer to remain somewhat anonymous on this site.
The other reason to write about Taylor Swift is because she has a new song out right now (“Blank Space”) that I’ve been hearing a lot on the radio, and seeing a lot on my Facebook news feed. The song, if you don’t feel like clicking, is about a woman who leads guys on with the sole purpose of using them and dumping them as if it were all a big game to her. And to me, this song is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the way dating and relationships are done today. Consider these actual quotes from the song:
- “Love’s a game, want to play?”
- “You know I love the players, and you love the game”
- “[I’ll] Find out what you want, be that girl for a month”
- “I get drunk on jealousy, but you’ll come back each time you leave”
- “Boys only want love if it’s torture”
In the style of Inigo Montoya: Ms. Swift keeps using that word “love.” I do not think it means what Ms. Swift thinks it means.
Love is a supreme act of selflessness, to put someone else completely before yourself and to choose to place the other life above yours forever. Love is not a game, love is not torture, and love certainly is not about manipulating someone for some cheap thrill and tossing them in the trash when you’re done. And yet there are so many out there who seem to treat it like that. I’m not good at dating and things like that, and when I’ve tried to have conversations with others about this, I’ve been told that it is a game, particularly by people who don’t share my Christian viewpoint. When you go on a first date, keep her guessing, hide some of yourself back so you look more intriguing, they say. You have to wait the right amount of time before you call her, they say. You play all these mind games, pretend to be what they want, you go to bed on the third date, then after you’ve been sleeping together for a while you talk about your future and it’s no big deal if there isn’t one because there are plenty of others out there, they say.
Bullsh*t, I say.
For as much as I’ve disagreed with the Josh Harris school of thought over the years, there are some things with which I agree with them. The end goal of dating should always be marriage. Unlike the Josh Harris types, I need to spend a lot of one-on-one time with someone before I know if marriage is a possible direction we’re heading, and I believe that it may take me months or even longer to know this. However, relationships, dating, love, all that stuff isn’t all about me, and during this process of discovering whether or not someone is a potential marriage partner, clothes should stay on. And the people involved should be themselves and communicate openly and clearly about their intentions.
So I don’t like Taylor Swift; why is it more complicated than I thought? Because Blank Space is really catchy. I first listened to it because a friend who is in the process of making some positive changes in her life told me to, saying that it reminded her of some of the suboptimal decisions she’d made in the past. It’s got a beat I can dance to. When Blank Space comes on the radio while I’m driving, occasionally I don’t even change the channel. And it’s hilarious. Taylor certainly has a sense of humor about herself and her reputation and all the rumors to actually record a song like this. I think, at least I hope, it’s meant to be a little exaggerated. The song is a bit thought-provoking for me also, as I try to figure out how to meet The Right One in a world with way too much of the love-is-a-game mentality. And the question of whether or not the high is worth the pain is one that I’ve pondered often, in the context of whether a relationship or near-dating experience that ended badly had enough good memories previously so as to not feel like a waste of time.
But seriously, though, I think now I need to take Swiftamine. Do you need a prescription for that? Somewhere Dr. Doctor has a prescription form with a blank space. And he’ll write my name.