So, the other day I was listening to music, and when the song My Guy came on I had the same thought I always have whenever that song comes on.
God, guys get shitty love songs.
Women are pretty lucky in that department. We get songs like Just the Way You Are (both the Billy Joel song and the Bruno Mars song), or Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, or even One Direction’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful. Songs that praise us not only for our beauty, but for how special we are in any number of ways. How we brighten someone’s day. How we make someone’s life.
Now think about the song, My Guy. It starts out great: Nothing you could do could make me untrue to My Guy. Nothing you could buy could make me tell a lie to My Guy. OK, cool. That’s awesome. As a matter of opinion, I think he’s tops. As a matter of taste, to be exact, he’s my ideal as a matter of fact. Awww, isn’t that sweet?
Then the song goes off the fucking rails.
No muscle-bound man could take my hand from My Guy. No handsome face could ever take the place of My Guy.
Whoawhoawhoawhoawhoa, Lady. What the hell? It was going so well! Now suddenly you’re all, I don’t want someone handsome! I want YOU. And then THESE are the lines that get repeated in the song!
Gee, thanks. If I were Her Guy, I’d be pissed.
Compare that to the song My Girl: I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May. He’s got honey. He’s got a sweet song. He doesn’t even talk about her looks, like, AT ALL. She’s just ten different kinds of awesome IN GENERAL. When he talks about the stuff he doesn’t want or need, he’s talking about other things he could get apart from her. And he’s not even comparing her to other women, he’s comparing her to OTHER ASPECTS OF LIFE. And SHE WINS.
Take that, Mary Wells.
I started thinking about other songs women sing to men, and it was really easy to come up with songs where women accidentally slight the men they’re singing to even as they’re singing about how great they are. Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It For the Boy says: My boy sucks at just about everything, and he’s not that great looking, but I love him anyway. Paula Abdul’s The Way That You Love Me is a little better in that she says that the “way that he loves her” means more than the stuff he buys her or the places he takes her….but it’s not like she’s saying NO to those things, either. And then you’ve got a whole slew of songs that attempt to woo men by tearing down the women they’re currently with or have been with; songs like Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend, or Alicia Keys’ If I Was Your Woman. Ease up on the girl-on-girl hate, Ladies.
What’s interesting is that I think a huge part of feminism that needs examining are the messages men receive as far as “what they’re good for.” If women are told that their value is solely in nurturing, that they’re only as valuable as the sex they provide, or the children to which they give birth, men are told that their value is solely in “providing.” This, of course, means providing financial and physical security. You’d better have a job. You’d better be able to buy me things. You’d better be big and strong and…I don’t know…be able to build me a log cabin, or somesuch bullshit. Is it any wonder, then, that some men might feel a little threatened when their wives/girlfriends make more than they do? It’s like, Well, what now? What’s my purpose? What am I good for if the one thing I was trained to be good for has suddenly become unnecessary? I think we need to talk more about what else men can and should provide. A listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Understanding. Being there in difficult situations. Being a quality father who spends time with his kids, not just money on them. So much about heterosexual relationships is framed around the idea that guys pay for dates, or pay the bills, etc, that if these things don’t happen, even if a woman loves the guy to death, she might feel “embarrassed.” She often feels the need to explain. When the reality is that she shouldn’t have to, any more than a guy should have to explain when the woman he’s with works long hours, or doesn’t want to have kids. Every relationship has its own balance, and people need to mind their own business and stop comparing relationships to each other. They’re not all supposed to be alike. Because no two people are alike. Never mind who’s paying for what over there, and stop gendering stuff like finances and emotions. Women can pay bills, and men can listen to you vent about your problems. I know – CRAZY.
And in the meantime, I think good guys deserve better love songs! Songs that praise them for being awesome without talking about what they’re not or what they don’t have. I’ve picked out a couple that I think qualify for your listening pleasure…
When your man is so awesome you have to brag about him to the world!
Beyonce – EGO
I love the way this song not only makes the guy she’s singing to sound like the best thing ever, but makes the singer sound like the best thing ever. It’s like, you’re awesome, I’m awesome. We should be awesome together and take over the world. Fuck, yeah.
Christina Aguilera – AIN’T NO OTHER MAN
You got soul, you got class, you got style…you’re badass. BOOM. Point made. Also, I love that the song gets deeper than that, saying that Every time I see you everything starts making sense, and You are there when I’m a mess/talk me down from every ledge/give me strength from your love lessons/you’re the only one who’s ever passed every test. This guy “provides” all the important stuff, and has class to boot!
YOU GET ME IN A WAY NO ONE ELSE DOES
When you want your man to know how much you appreciate what he puts up with!
Alanis Morrisette – EVERYTHING
I love this song, because it gets into the nitty-gritty of what’s important in a relationship. You see all my light and know all my dark…and you’re still here. Really knowing someone and loving them flaws and all. If you find a guy who can call you on your crap, but still recognizes all that’s good about you, a guy who sees past all the bullshit defense mechanisms you put up and into everything awesome about you, hold on to him!
Nicki Minaj – RIGHT THRU ME
Nicki Minaj has a couple of great guy-praising songs. I love Your Love, because in addition to talking about a good man, the chorus sounds like it was written by someone who would rather be doing ANYTHING other than singing a sappy love song. Super Bass is just fun. But I love this song, because it’s both a commendation and an apology. It’s smack in the middle of a fight, and the guy is mid-calling-on-bullshit, and she knows it. And she respects him for it, because he knows her so well. Guys who pay attention to you enough to know when you’re putting up a front. Guys who know the difference between you actually being okay, and you just saying “I’m fine.” That’s what’s up.
I LIKE SPENDING TIME WITH YOU
When you want your man to know that just being with him is enough!
Eliza Doolittle – MONEYBOX
This song talks about money. Hell, it’s in the title. But I’m including it on this list, because it would apply to someone whether they have money or not. It’s not berating a guy for having money, or for not having it. It’s saying, Money’s not important. Spending time with you is. It can either be making a guy feel better for not having a lot of money, or it can be telling a rich dude that she’s not a gold-digger. Either way, it focuses on quality time with someone who loves the same things you do. I’d highly recommend listening to the album version of this song, but I love this acoustic version, and I couldn’t resist.
Lily Allen – CHINESE
Here’s another Brit! Again, this is a song about the little things about relationships that are often the most important. Getting home to you, getting Chinese, and watching TV. It’s a simple song, but a beautiful one.
Because you weren’t checking out his “personality” when he walked by.
Carly Rae Jepsen – CALL ME MAYBE
I know. I’m not fifteen. I don’t care. Not only is this song catchy as hell, but it captures something that doesn’t always get captured. Guys are generally expected to make the first move and bear the brunt of rejection. This song has a girl making the first move, because he’s so much more awesome than the other guys chasing her she couldn’t help herself. I love the nervous insecurity of it – and the fact that, for once, it’s not on the guy.
Salt ‘N Pepa – SHOOP
A Woman-Compelled-To-Make-The-First-Move classic! If looks could kill you would be an uzi. You’re so hot, you make me wanna shoop. Whatever that means.
Shakira – OJOS ASI
You knew I had to throw in a song in Spanish, right? It’s a cliche – a guy complimenting a woman’s eyes. Well, here Shakira tells a dude that she’s been all over the world and has never seen eyes like his. Sometimes men have amazing eyes, and they need to be praised over a thumping, Lebanese-influenced beat, okay?
Well, that’s it for now! I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day celebrating love in all it’s forms! And if you have any other suggestions for good love songs for guys, hit me with them in the comments below!
Lastly, there’s a guy I’ve been spending quality time with lately who happens to be an amazing person. To him, I say:
I like you. And if you can’t handle it…well you can just fuck off!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!