Is Romance a Dying Art?

Every so often, when I’m looking to unwind, I throw on my Frank Sinatra Pandora station and let the smooth kings of croon carry me away. But then, the other day, a truly captivating song struck my fancy. It was “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” by Louis Armstrong. As I listened carefully to the words, it got me thinking about a few things, namely romance. But first, have a listen for yourself.

Now, let’s slow it down and look at those lyrics.

Give me a kiss to build a dream on,
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss,
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this,
A kiss to build a dream on.

Give me a kiss before you leave me,
And my imagination will feed my hungry heart,
Leave me one thing before we part,
A kiss to build a dream on.

Have you ever heard anything so charming in your life? If you’re a twenty-something like me, probably not. It’s not exactly news that modern music doesn’t carry the same love-struck chord that it did in the fifties, but just how far have we strayed? For comparison sake, let’s take Britney Spear’s newest hit, “Werk B****.”

You wanna hot body,
You want a Bugatti,
You want a Maseratti,
You better work b****.
You want a Lamborghini,
Sip martinis,
Look hot in a bikini,
You better work b****.

Maybe I don’t actually want a Maseratti. Maybe what I really want is old-school, heart-felt romance. Maybe I want Louis Armstrong. Long gone are the days when love was enough to pay the bills, and now it’s all about “jet planes, islands, and tigers on a gold leash,” or so says Lorde. Of course, marvelous love songs still exist today, but they’re seldom chart-toppers. They say that pop culture is a mirror to society, and if that’s the case, then doesn’t this deficiency of affection in mainstream music say something about us as a whole?

Lyrics

Of course, no romance is better than hollow romance. What I’m talking about is an outpouring of affection rooted entirely in genuine fondness and respect for another person. But if we did actually receive that grounded, all-in romance, would we even know what to do with it? It all reminds me of an episode of Sex and the City, where Carrie begins to feel smothered by all the grand romantic gestures of her new boyfriend. I think she sums it up best:

“We accept Tasti D-lite instead of real ice cream, emails instead of love songs, jokes instead of poetry. It’s no wonder that when faced with the real thing we can’t stomach it. Is it something we could learn to digest or have we become romance-intolerant?”

TextLove

A recent article by the Huffington Post suggests that the root of unhappiness plaguing Generation Y stems from a long history of unrealistic expectations. While that’s probably true, is it possible that just this once, in regard to romance, that’s not the case? Could the problem actually be that reality is quite simply coming up short? Or, as the article suggests, are we twenty-somethings stuck in a world of Ryan Gosling, romcom-fueled unrealistic expectations?

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Boybandology

Believe it or not, there’s an entire branch of psychology dedicated to the study of boy bands. I started it this morning, and it’s called boybandology. To quote an online article I once read but can no longer find, “which boy band member you like says more about your personality than all the macaroni art you could ever make for your school psychologist.”  Word. This is the boybandology mission statement. By understanding  the five boy band archetypes below, the dedicated professionals of boybandology (me) hope you will come to better understand yourself. Enjoy.

The Rebel Without a Cause: To the horror of God-fearing mothers everywhere, young girls have been fawning over these poorly-tattooed, overly-pierced, wild childs since the dawning of pop. If this is your type, you’re destined for a thorny rose tramp stamp and a lip ring. Get used to it.

Some phases never should have happened.

What’s happening here, Chris?

Examples: AJ McLean, Donnie Wahlberg, Joey Fatone

The One You Always Forget: Everyone loves an underdog, especially one without a Wikipedia page. Like your crush, you tend to pass the spotlight on in favor of a more humble, forgettable existence. On the plus side, you won’t have to deal with paparazzi at your wedding.

Do you even know this guy's name? Exactly.

Do you even know this guy’s name? Exactly.

Examples: Justin Jeffre, Danny Wood, Howie Dorough

The Silent Mute: You know his name, you recognize his face, but you have never once heard his voice. Is that even possible? You like The Silent Mute because you’re a perpetually wound-up Chatty Cathy

I'm pretty sure he's only had one solo. Ever.

Pretty sure he’s only had one solo. Ever.

Examples: Jonathan Knight, Kevin Richardson

The Golden Boy: The star of the show and of your 5th grade notebook. Pursuing The Golden Boy means you’ve got a go big or go home attitude and you’re not afraid to show it (even if it means naming your firstborn Nick.) The forerunners of the Beliebers, these girls be cray.

Oh, Justin. You've come so far.

Oh, Justin. You’ve come so far.

Example: Justin Timberlake, Nick Carter, Nick Lachey, Justin Timberlake

The Consolation Prize: Second in popularity only to The Golden Boy, the Consolation Prize typically attracts just enough attention to score a spot on MTV while leading a perfectly normal life on the side. Choosing The Consolation Prize means you’re generally down to Earth, but you love to live large when opportunity knocks.

The less famous/hunky Lachey.

The less famous/hunky Lachey.

Examples: Brian Litrell, Lance Bass, Drew Lachey

It’s no secret that I always go for The Golden Boy, but which category do you fall under?

5 Manly Musical Moments to Make You Melt

Singing

There’s just something about a man pouring out his heart in song that makes us womenfolk melt like a stick of butter on hot mashed potatoes. Whether it’s the always-appealing emotional purge, the sensitive soul of a musician, or the sikly crooning of a hunky sir that does the trick, the world may never know. Yet, one thing is certain: it’s hella fine.

Being a musical connoisseur, I’ve scoured Hollywood history in pursuit of the most melt-worthy musical numbers ever performed by men, and the results are guaranteed to tip you into an estrogen-crazed spiral that will take weeks to recover from. Without further ado, I bring you the top 5 Manly Musical Moments to Make You Melt. You’re welcome.

Note: common side effects may include senseless crying, realization of loneliness, swelling of the heart, and a newfound fondness for your significant other.

#5 “You Were Meant for Me” – Singing in the Rain

Nothing says romance like old-time Hollywood, and Gene Kelley’s charisma certainly doesn’t hurt. This number’s got class, understated charm, and a timeless feel: what more could you want?

#4 “Sandy” – Grease

“I would hate to have Danny Zuko sing a song named after me,” said no woman ever.

#3 “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” – Blue Hawaii

Let yourself slide into the warm, honey-coated melodies of the King’s sultry serenade. I think this is what falling in love sounds like.

#2 “The Music of the Night” – Phantom of the Opera

Admit it. For a split second you forgot she was a hostage, and you were ready to pack up and move into his lair of seduction. It’s alright. No one can refuse the Gerard.

#1 “Your Song” – Moulin Rouge

Now this, good people, is romance. If this did nothing for you, then you should probably see a doctor because your heart has turned to stone.

Now, the big question: what’s your favorite manly musical moment?

How to Get a Celebrity to Follow You on Twitter

Twitter

What is it about the rich and famous that draws us to them like a moth to a flame? It’s like we’re genetically wired for celebrity crushes. As any professional stalker can tell you, the objective is to be near the action but not close enough to catch the eye of Sven the beefy, Swiss body guard. The solution: social media.

There are no body guards of social media, which means there’s nothing separating you and your favorite celebrity (except the millions of miles between your cellular device, your provider’s satelitte dish spinning in space, and said celebrity’s cellular device.) Still, you get the point. So how do you do it? How do you get a celebrity to follow you on Twitter?

By following these 10 steps:

1. Follow them. (duh)

2. Tweet them.

3. Tweet them again.

4. Tweet them a third time.

5. Start tweeting them witty puns from their own songs/films.

6. Get your friends to tweet them.

7. Tweet them again.

8. Set up a Hootsuit account so you can schedule tweets while you sleep.

9. Tweet them in the morning.

10. Tweet them until your thumbs bleed, or they follow you.

Disclaimer: Your friends may disown you/unfollow you by the masses. Simply disregard this.

If they haven’t followed you by the end of the process, you may repeat steps 1-1o or find a new celebrity to fawn over. What authority am I, you ask, to preach on such a topic? I, friends, am the proud Twitter-friend of 90’s teen heart-throb Aaron Carter. Highlight of my Twitter career? No doubt. (90s pun intended)

Follow

If I can do it, so can you. Now you have the tools to achieve your creepy, celebrity stalker dreams without the Sven-factor. So go, future creepers! Go forth and get those follows!

P.S. I swear I’m not as creepy as I sound. I just really love the 90s and all things boy-band. Especially the Carters.

I Love Mom Music

I have a confession. I love mom music. Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Sandi Patty, you name it. So when I heard that Air Supply was coming to Riverwind Casino a few months ago, I freaked.  I knew I had to go, and who better to go with than my very own mother? Dad was there too, but listening to mom music with your dad just doesn’t have that same catchy ring to it.

MomandMe

“What’s the big deal? They’re just two washed-up senior citizens with stellar hair,” you say.

Air Supply alone comprises 15% of my belief that modern romance does exist, and if my life were an 80’s movie like Olive Penderghast’s in Easy A, I would want someone to play Making Love Out of Nothing At All below my window through an oversized boombox while riding a lawn mower.

Easy A

Oh, you’ve never heard Making Love Out of Nothing at All? It’s my favorite. Here, have a listen.

Look at those feathered bangs and chain neclaces. What’s not to love? Now, imagine seeing them live.

The experience was all together something spiritual, like a menopausal 80’s prom where granny panties could fly at a moment’s notice. Blinding streams of pink and blue light swept over the crowd to the once-futuristic sounds of the keyboard. The whole picture reminded me of Napolean Dynamite.

dynamite prom

Of course, Russel and Graham aren’t packing quite the same punch they did some 30 years ago, not that the raging 50-year-old women seemed to mind. I was too afraid to actually film during the concert, being a Monica Geller and all, so I’m just going to link to someone else’s video of a recent concert so you can get a feel for yourself.

Why am I showing you all of this? I guess, in my heart of hearts, I secretly hope to convert you to a fellow Air Supply lover. The world could use more hopless romantics, and Air Supply  is Chapter 1 of Becoming a Hopless Romantic for Dummies. Didn’t you know?

Let us remember with warm hearts the days in which poofy-haired men serenaded their sweethearts with power ballads. May the cheesy 80s construct of romance live on through mom music forever and ever. Amen.

Why You Should be Listening to Samantha Crain

Crain

It’s a Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. (which for me might as well be 6:30), and I’m being forced to attend the early class I always prefer to skip. Why? Our professor has paid a billion dollars out of pocket for some Oklahoma chick with a guitar to come sing to us and “culturally enlighten” the 15 kids in my class. As if 15 native Oklahomans don’t understand Oklahoma culture. Really, I think she just wanted a private concert because she was going on like JLo had arrived.

Anyways, I’m sitting there all disheveled, with yesterday’s make-up smudged up on my face, pessimistically waiting for our “famous guest” to sputter out a few chords on her dusty guitar. To my great astonishment, she wasn’t half bad. In fact, she was amazing. The first song she sang for us was “Santa Fe,” and I was captivated.

After class I decided to hit iTunes and dig a little deeper. After listening to just a few of her songs, I had no choice but to download the album. Her voice is the lesbian lovechild of Regina Spektor and Nora Jones, and her guitar melodies are a jambalaya mix of acoustic Train and John Mayer, with a dash of Mumford and Sons to taste. After browsing through her albums, I can already say that I have a favorite song, “Scissortail.” It’s a subtle tribute to Oklahoma with simplistically moving lyrics.

At times her songs have a bit of country twang, I’ll admit, but her hipster-styled voice and poetic lyrics more than compensate for that hideous country drone that creeps in from time to time. Even when country does slip in, though, it’s the right kind of country: that old-styled harmonica or fiddle lick that heralds Johnny Cash. Still, the majority of her songs have more of a folk rhythm, like “Paint”.

Maybe I like her because I’ve met her, or maybe it’s because I can get behind an Oklahoman artist who doesn’t sound like they’re from Oklahoma (Hanson, anyone?). Maybe, instead, it’s because she writes her own songs, and there’s just something admirable about that. Either way, I’m hooked, and I hope you will be too. If you too have been infected by a new artist lately, feel free to share in the comments.

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