Gentleman, or Obsessive?
I have written before about love song lyrics. It’s not a pretty picture. Love songs are extremely bad representations of love and romance. No guy should ever copy the behavior portrayed in the songs. The roles of men reflected in the lyrics paint a picture of guys who fail at anything remotely masculine. At best, the men who sing them tend to act like whiny children in the songs.
Is that harsh enough?
The latest bad romance song on the radio is “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes. This is a whiny, albeit popular, song in which the singer complains to a girl how he’s so much better than the guy she is dating. When this disturbing song comes on the radio I can’t switch stations fast enough! Disturbing? WTF? Really? Well, let’s take a look at the lyrics (courtesy of Soundhound on my iPhone.)
I won’t lie to you
I know he’s just not right for you...
Of course the singer “knows” he’s not right for the girl. Any guy who can’t get a girl who has an existing boyfriend “knows” the other guy is “wrong.” That’s how the mind of a spurned guy works. The other guy is no good. The spurned guy thinks he’s shining a light on the other guy’s inadequacies like a politician ghosting his opponent, but like all negative campaigning, it falls short of the goal. I hope the projection makes the singer feel better, but the other guy still got the girl and the singer didn’t.
And you can tell me if I’m off
But I see it on your face
When you say that he’s the one that you want
And you’re spending all your time
In this wrong situation…
This is actually rather condescending, even outright insulting. This is saying the girl is either lying, or doesn’t know what she wants, or incapable of controlling her own destiny. If you don’t believe that, try this little experiment: substitute those implications into a mock conversation with the girl.
The girl says, “He’s the one that I want.”
Guy says, “You don’t know what you want.”
Well, that’s pretty insulting. Let’s try again. Turn the time machine on and go back 5 seconds and try another approach.
Guy says, “You’re not smart enough to dump a bad boyfriend.”
Man, he still can’t get it right. One more time…
Guy says, “You don’t really want him. You’re lying to me.”
Whoa! Another insult! Flip the time machine switch again…
Guy says, “I’m smarter than you and I’ll tell you what you want.”
Holy cow! No more tries with the time machine; I’m afraid of some weird paradox distorting reality.
How does this make the singer any better than the other guy? It actually makes the singer worse than the other guy. Why would a girl want to be with a guy who doesn’t believe her or doesn’t respect her enough to listen to her. For that matter, why would a guy want to be with a girl who doesn’t want to be with him? Of course, the bad lyrics continue.
….And anytime that you want it to stop
I know I can treat you better, than he can.
And any girl like you deserves a gentleman.
Tell me why are we wasting time,
On all your wasted crime
When you could be with me instead.
I know I can treat you better
Better than he can.
Once again, I hope this plaintive cry makes the singer feel better, but let’s face it, the other guy asked her out, not the singer. She accepted the date with the other guy , not the singer. She continues to date the other guy , because nobody better has come along, including the singer!
I'll stop time for you
The second you say you’d like me to...
So now we’re seeing the real guy depicted in the lyrics. This is not a particularly masculine guy singing the lyrics. This is a poor shadow of a man with a need to please women. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with that. Scratch the surface and underneath you find something different. You find an unfulfilled guy, with no satisfactory life of his own, desperate to do any extreme measure (like stopping time) if only someone would just ask him to. A guy with no self direction, no self respect and very little emotional intelligence. Is it any wonder he doesn’t have a girl friend?
I just wanna give you the loving that you’re missing
Baby just to wake up with you
Would be everything I need and this could be so different
Tell me what you want to do
This isn’t a romantic fellow trying to woo a girl. This is an obsessive, selfish guy who wants this girl to satisfy his own needs. She can satisfy his need to give love, his need to be next to somebody, and his need to be desired by someone. Obsession is never attractive, and it can even turn dangerous. Is it any wonder that the girl wants somebody else, not the singer? Is it any wonder the guy singing the song has no other girlfriend? Desperation and obsession are very ugly traits in a man.
I feel like taking a little risk and exploring the time machine one more time. Let’s revisit the above conversation and let it run to its conclusion.
She says, “He’s the one that I want.”
Guy says, “But I can treat you.…”
She says, “Stop right there. Listen. Maybe he’s not the right guy, and maybe he does some stupid shit. I’m OK with that for now. Get it? I’m staying with him for now. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. So, yeah, I was lying to you. I don’t want to date you. I’m not interested in you. In fact, I’m a little afraid of you and your weird obsession. Please just stay away from me.”
It turns out that reality was already distorted, but only in the singer’s mind. The song describes obsession, and not healthy romantic behavior. It describes co-dependence, not a budding relationship. I have to wonder what Shawn was thinking when he wrote this song.
Generally, all songs on the radio are written for 12-18 year old girls. That just makes sense, since they tend to buy the most singles. Yet, why would a girl be attracted to a song where the lyrics portray a poor shadow of a man?
It’s certainly possible that Shawn was reflecting on a bad time in his life. If so, he failed to communicate that and left the listeners with a horrible portrayal of romance.
If you are a guy and identify with this song, you need to get a grip on yourself, and stop listening to romance songs. Take a break from all romance until you get your head screwed on straight. And take a look at Cheat Code Zero, the missing cheat code.
Of course, when you’re ready, check out the Cheat Codes for Dating, Relationships and Sex 3.0.