The new Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is helping me push through this summer. Sometime after 4 in the afternoon, I’ll switch to that album and silently promise myself that I can leave work after the last song. My routine might be a little different if I had more music on my phone, but right now my other options are pretty much Rancid and Tool. Actually, I think it’s one of the A Perfect Circle albums on my phone instead, but the difference is negligible. My overall point is something about that movie soundtrack being the most positive music I can access regularly.
There is one song on the GotG soundtrack that I can’t really tolerate. Escape, the Pina Colada Song. It’s a catchy enough song, fun to dance around. It’s the lyrics, it’s always the lyrics that ruin the song for me, or as I am so fond of saying this summer, Face Down Booty Up.
I know lots of other people also hate this song, but for a different reason than my hatred. A commonly cited reason is because they feel like it’s about a married couple cheating on each other. It’s depressing, they say, and incomprehensible that these idiots would meet up for NSA sex and be excited to find out that their significant other wanted to cheat. While I also find the ending of the story of the song depressing, I think it’s hardly as upsetting as the beginning, or the implied back story.
I was tired of my lady, we’d been together too long
Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song
So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed
And in the personals column, there was this letter I read
Okay, ennui is a common thing to have happen in a long term relationship, that part is easily forgiven. However, I take issue with the protagonist’s word choice already. It’s not clear to me if the worn-out recording is a metaphor for the relationship or for his wife. Either way, this is a really poor analogy because the one thing you can’t do with a human being is replace them with an unused copy. Unless clones are involved somehow. Anyways, it’s the first verse and we’ve got a husband who perhaps thinks of women as replaceable objects. We’ll call him Jackie Treehorn for obvious reasons. So the text of the personal ad follows in the chorus…
If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me, and escape
Let’s expend far too much mental energy over-analyzing every word of this personal listing. First, I will note that this song was from back in the day where you had to pay, probably by the word or line, to publish an ad in the newspaper. So these words were not composed as whimsically as a craigslist ad might be today, i.e. they were all really important to the woman who submitted them. The proper grammar also distinguishes this personal from something found online these days.
The mystery woman posts a description of what she’s looking for, which is also presumably a description of herself. I suppose that’s not an accurate assumption, opposites attract and what-not, but she seems to be suggesting partner type activities so we’ll assume that she’s down for whatever she’s mentioned.
She likes fruity tropical drinks and public sex. She likes rainy days. She doesn’t like working out. She may be an intellectual snob (there’s nothing wrong with that). Let’s extrapolate, she’s probably a whiny, pasty, out of shape, lazy middle aged woman. She’s also desperate because she has paid for a personal ad in the newspaper. Sounds like a real winner, I sort of feel sorry for whoever married this lady. Jackie Treehorn has obviously not thought this through completely because he responds after only a moment of guilt, probably distracted by the briefly mentioned exhibitionism.
I didn’t think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean
But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine
So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad
And though I’m nobody’s poet, I thought it wasn’t half-bad
“Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne
I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape
At a bar called O’Malley’s, where we’ll plan our escape”
So this is where I start seeing red. His response, is not only unimaginative, but manipulative. He says “Oh yeah baby, I totally love all the same things you do.” Then Mr. Treehorn demonstrates his critical thinking and listening skills by applying none of this information to invite her to meet him at… an Irish pub downtown in broad daylight. Based on the information she’s shared, that doesn’t really seem like her scene. Gosh, I hope this woman who deplores half-brained men is smart enough to avoid the oldest pick-up scam in the book. They can make margaritas with Guinness, right?
So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face
It was my own lovely lady, and she said, “Oh, it’s you”
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, “I never knew”
“That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
You’re the lady that I’ve looked for, come with me, and escape”
So, despite all of the red flags, this woman shows up. Think about that. We all know someone who has tried online dating. I have friends who complain when men send messages that are like “Oh hey baby, I liked your profile. Let’s meet up for coffee.” when the profile clearly points out that she doesn’t like coffee. You don’t meet those guys because they are just creeps trying to get laid.
But Mrs. Treehorn’s personal ad only had four lines, and the jerk who responded could barely be bothered to read them…and she showed up anyways?! I’m sure this type of situational awareness is exactly how she ended up married to a guy who doesn’t listen in the first place. Depressed and longing for a beach vacation, she’s let herself go, until finally in her unloved middle age, she’s desperate for an escape.
So not only does she show up, but she is happy to see him even though he was trying to cheat on her. Who is this poor woman; she is married to a jerk who doesn’t really respect women, who she wanted to cheat on, and when he uses the same tired old lines on her that got them together in the first place, she swoons all over again. At this point most people are just confused about why these two aren’t angry at each other, I’m concerned that the lady is a victim of domestic abuse! This song is infuriating and depressing, just to think about these two miserable people, it doesn’t make any sense and they probably deserve each other.
Whatever it’s just a stupid song. I can replace it on my version of the playlist.