Taylor Swift has broken up with yet another boyfriend. It is rather well documented that she seems to break up with a lot of boyfriends and it is equally well documented that she gets inspired to write songs based off of the poor treatment (or at least the perceived poor treatment) she receives from these unsuitable paramours.
Since I have been in a “thought experiment” kind of mood lately, Ms. Swift’s latest break-up got me wondering: “If you dated and broke up with Taylor Swift, would you want a song written about you?”
When this question first came to mind, my immediate thought was that there is no way I would want a song written about me. If there was a song, it would mean that I did something despicable and hurt her irreparably. As a nice guy, that is not what I am about. I want people to like me and I always want to do the right thing. Clearly, a song would be my worst nightmare.
But with some time, I started to change me mind. While a song would probably be scathing and embarrassing and quite possibly demeaning, I started thinking that maybe it would be an even bigger insult to NOT have a song written about you. It would mean that you weren’t even worth the time, the words or emotion. You and the time you spent together would have had virtually no effect on her.
This seems counter-intuitive. Your goal should be to not have songs written about you. But when you think about it, love and hate are actually two sides of the same coin. I learned this one year in college, when I suffered through an entire year of unrequited love. Just like in your typical 90’s movie, I was the dorky guy who was attracted to a much more popular girl. I spent countless evenings considering my lot in life and how the worst thing in the world would be for me to finally have the opportunity to impress this girl, only to be not only rejected but to also find out that she despised me.
But pretty soon, I was gripped by a much more daunting proposition. There was a distinct possibility that she might be entirely apathetic about me. I would be nothing, in fact less than nothing. It was that moment that I realized that the opposite of love was not hate, but apathy.
Love and hate both have one thing in common, passion. In both cases, something about the subject is so provoking that it leads to an impassioned response. In both cases you have had an effect on the other person. Maybe it was not the effect that you intended, but it was an effect nonetheless. And even if it isn’t the one you wanted, you at least have a chance to change that effect because you have been let inside. This is probably why one of the classic tales of the television and movies is the man and woman who despise each other immediately, constantly bickering through the entire story. Pushing each others buttons and annoying each other. Until finally something happens and they find out that their hate has become love.
Apathy is so much more difficult to overcome. How do you make an impression on someone who is not even paying attention? That is a much more painful situation to be in. You are not just not worthy of someone’s romantic affections, you not even worth noticing.
So maybe the pain of that song repeating over and over and over again on Top 40 radio is relieved just a little bit by the fact that you know that you had an effect on her. The relationship meant something. Maybe it didn’t go the way you dreamed it would, but you left a mark, you made an impression.
So don’t go out there intending to break hearts and spirits, but don’t be afraid of it either. Let your door open and get other people to open their door. Incite passion and be passionate. And if someone ends up writing a song about you, then so be it.
What do you think? If you ended up breaking up with Taylor Swift, would you want a song about you or not? Comments here, Facebook or Twitter welcome!