How much do I love thee? Well, guys, better just show me, because art for love’s sake can be a terrible idea if it’s bad.
I am a girl of simple pleasures. I like eating chicken nuggets in my activewear, afternoon naps where I sleep diagonally across my bed and claiming other people’s pets as my nieces and nephews.
I am Bridget Jess’ Diary and I embrace spinsterhood so wholeheartedly that my Mum has just accepted that she’s probably only going to get grandcats out of me. Nobody is more surprised than I am when one of my Soul Sisters comes to me for relationship advice. This week’s dilemma: a love poem.
Here’s the thing: my friend, let’s call her Rachel, has been seeing a fella for about five months now. It seems like a pretty sweet deal: someone to kill the spiders, open all the jars in the house and all the other things that help to validate masculinity. (So, so fragile.) He seems to be absolutely smitten. It’s good times for all involved.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely get the compulsion to write your feelings down – once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away I was a lowly villager’s daughter and absolutely head over heels for a stable boy. (Not actually.) He gave me butterflies everyday; I later found out that I was actually more likely having an anxiety attack…which seems pretty accurate now that I think of it.
Anyway, I digress.
The poetry was bad and I knew that had I given it to him, one of three things would happen: in a perfect world he would love it as well as me and we would live happily ever after; the next option is he wouldn’t like it but pretend he did; lastly he would hate it and be open about it.
There’s only one option there where things wouldn’t get weird, but why?
What is the social norm to deal with subpar subjective mash notes?
I’ve had a different guy I dated write a song about me. I’m conceited as they come, so growing up I’d listen to songs like Everlong by the Foo Fighters or Antonia by Motion City Soundtrack and think to myself how phenomenal it would be to have someone care enough to write a song about how much they love me. When he wrote this song and performed it at an open mic night for the first time I was mortified. It wasn’t because it was about me, I love that shit. It’s because it was bloody terrible.
This seems like a good time to make a point for anybody endeavouring to write some shit poetry for their significant other: it’s never a spectacular idea to refer to their body as any type of fish no matter how much they like Salmon and also don’t ever make reference to crystal meth/crack cocaine as a general rule in a love poem. Kesha may have said love is her drug, but believe me when I say, you’re no Kesha.
The mutual friends who were present gave me the same cringey smile I was trying to project onto my face and when he finished we all said how much we loved it. I broke up with him about two weeks later.
There were obviously other factors but in the case of poor poetry I suppose it comes to weighing up the pros and cons of the relationship in how to react properly. I’d been seeing this dude for about a month, which is wayyyyy too early to be publicly Shakespeareing me on a weeknight and the big thing was, I absolutely didn’t feel the same way about him. Had I been in Rachel’s shoes and actually was starting to build a life with him I probably would have reacted differently. The best relationships are built on trust and openness, that’s what Dr Phil shouts at us and my experience, tells me it’s true.
When your significant other writes you a poem that is dreadful, you really do get put in a sticky situation though: lie through your teeth and save their feelings or tell them the truth. Either will have a consequence for them or you; my moral compass always tells me to save face (that bastard is worse than Mrs Bucket on Keeping Up Appearances).
I definitely don’t recommend taking a picture of it and sending it to the girls’ group chat for giggles if you’re trying to be a good person, but who am I to tell you how to live your life?