Aug. 20th, 2009

joreth: (Misty in Box)

[Verse 1:]
There's a place in your heart where nobody's been.
Take me there.
Things nobody knows, not even your friends.
Take me there.
Tell me about your momma, your daddy, your home town, show me around.
I wanna see it all, don't leave anything out.

I wanna know, everything about you.
And I wanna go, down every road you've been.
Where your hopes and dreams and wishes live, where you keep the rest of your life hid.
I wanna know the girl behind that pretty stare.
Take me there.

[Verse 2:]
Your first real kiss, your first true love, you were scared.
Show me where.
You learned about life, spent your summer nights, without a care.
Take me there.
I wanna roll down mainstreet and backroads like you did when you were a kid.
What makes you who you are, tell me what your story is.

[Chorus 2x:]
I wanna know, everything about you.
And I wanna go, down every road you've been.
Where your hopes and dreams and wishes live, where you keep the rest of your life hid.
I wanna know the girl behind that pretty stare.
Take me there.

I wanna roll down mainstreet.
I wanna know your hopes and your dreams.
Take me, take me there.

So, other than the implications of being "the first" and "no one else", I think this is a very powerful love song and not a sentiment I see in our current culture very often.

Many people are afraid to know their partners too well, to look too closely, because if they do, they might come face to face with someone they don't like very much.  An awful lot of people date and marry people they don't actually like, because being *in* a relationship is more important than who you're in it with.

This is most clearly illustrated in the idea that we aren't ever supposed to talk about our past relationships, or tell how many people we've had sex with.  Because that means that we weren't THE FIRST or THE ONLY.  We might get insecure at the idea that our lover has done this same sexual act with someone else, has let someone else touch her that way, has let someone else see her vulnerable.  I'm not really sure *why* that's frightening.  Frankly, I'd be more terrified to find I was dating someone who *hadn't* had those experiences before.  I am, after all, in my 30s, and my dating partners tend to be close to my own age or older, so the idea that they've gone their whole lives without similar experiences means that they do not have the same level of relationship skills that I do - not even close.

I remember having a conversation with a metamour several years ago, where she questioned me whether or not I wanted to be *known*.  There was special emphasis put on that word "known".  At the time, I told her "not particularly".  And that's still mostly true.  I don't care if people really *get* me or not, so long as they leave me alone to do my thing.  The reason I spend so much time and effort trying to explain myself to people, such as in this journal and in poly lectures and through my activism, isn't because the end goal is to be *known*, but because that's the means by which I can acheive my end goal, which is to be left alone to make my own choices in peace.

But that answer is not complete, as I later discovered.  I do want to be *known* ... by certain individuals.  Particularly by people whom I want to *know*.

Of course no one will ever 100% absolutely totally and perfectly know anyone else - hell, I don't think anyone ever reaches that level with themselves (although some people get close, and I believe we should always strive to get closer).  But when I think about building intimate relationships with people, I can't quite formulate a definition for "intimate" that doesn't include that *knowing* of another person.

I want to *know* him.  As the song says, I want to know what makes him who he is.  I want to know his thoughts, his dreams, his fears, his experiences.  I want to crawl inside his head and see what it's like to be him, what makes him tick.

And I want someone who wants to do that with me ... and isn't afraid at what he finds when he tries.

In my mind, that's all part of what makes an intimate relationship.  No, we never reach the end, we never know someone completely.  But that desire to know, and the path and processes it takes to find out, those are what builds intimate relationships.

I find this song particularly valuable because it is a country song, a song in a genre that is so steeped in "tradition" and "what should be" and it feeds and buys into so many of the particularly destructive social memes and mores.  I find it especially valuable for the line "Your first real kiss, your first true love, you were scared. / Show me where" and in the chorus "I wanna know the girl behind that pretty stare."  

In the first case, not only does he acknowledge that his current love interest *had* previous partners, but he wants to know all about them because they contributed to who she is today.  It's not out of jealousy, he doesn't want a comparison, and he doesn't hide from that knowledge out of fear or jealousy either.

In the second case, far too many songs wax on and on about a woman's looks.  Many of them are just party songs - something to dance to, and, let's face it, hookups happen, so those songs are not irrelevant.  But this is the first time I've heard a song say, explicitly, "I'm interested in who you are and what's going on in your mind".  As a girl, I can't tell you how rare that sentiment actually is, and how meaningful it is to hear it said sincerely.  Sure, I've heard love songs written after the love has happened, where someone talks about the whole person.  But I've never heard it sung before where someone does *not* know the love interest and wants to.  

Usually the knowing part happens sort of by accident.  People get "lucky" because they use looks as their main criteria for finding a mate, and then, by sheer coincidence (and social training to not leave and fear of being alone) they end up with someone they can tolerate.  In songs, of course, they more than just tolerate them, they actively adore their partners.  But it still started out with a guy seeing a hot chick across the room and feeing a physical attraction.

Here, although he probably *does* feel a physical attraction (she does, after all, have a pretty stare), it's more than just "hey baby, ur hot, wanna fuck?" or even "you're awfully pretty ma'am, would you like to dance?"  He wants to know her as a full and complete person.

An awful lot of men (and women too, but since I'm a straight female, I'm going to address things from my perspective for now) want to lump women into a single category, and then spend the rest of their lives trying to figure out What Women Want.  They read books, they go to seminars, they talk to their buddies, some of them even ask a female friend or two.  They try to change something about themselves to make them more attractive to the opposite sex.

And this completely misses the point.

There is no What Women Want.  Because we all want different things.  Funny how that happens, since, y'know, we're all individual, unique, and different people.

This has come up in [ profile] tacit's journal recently, although it's not entirely the point he was trying to make.  He was talking about society's sense of entitlement that people have regarding relationships.  People feel they are entitled to them, as if relationships (and the gender they are interested in, in this case, women) are a commodity that people somehow deserve, and if they just follow Steps 1-5, they will be rewarded with the relationship at the end.

And that sort of thinking leads to people starting forum posts on the internet that ask "hey, I've been on OKC for 6 months now and I haven't found a date yet.  What do women want?"

And it's a ridiculous question.  Because not all women want the same things.  Even women in more accurate subcategories don't want exactly the same things.  And sometimes there's just something, I dunno, chemical, that makes any individual attracted or not attracted to any other individual, regardless of whatever category they fit in or what they think they want, sort of as [ profile] leora was postulating over in her journal.

In fact, there's even another country song out there that specifically says "I don't know what I did to deserve you, but I hope I keep doing it".  These people don't *know* each other, and that makes their world a whole lot scarier, and a whole lot more out of their own control.  If you don't know what you did to attract, keep the attention of, or "deserve" your partner, how in the hell can you possibly expect to continue to do so?  If you don't know what it is she wants or sees in you or why she sticks around, how can you feel secure in your relationship that she will continue to do so?  How can you possibly choose your actions to most likely bring about the desired response?  You can't.   It's a completely crapshoot and your life, and your relationship, are totally out of your control.

One guy in [ profile] tacit's post actually said "I know women are individual, but there's nothing wrong with thinking about them in a category in an academic sense".  *blink blink*  yeah, actually, there is.

The closest you can get is to pick a single trait, just one, and you can talk about trends.  But that is only a single trait, and all you can say is that many or a majority, or few women like this or do that.  That tells you absolutely nothing about me and if you want to relate to me you have to throw those trends out the window and find out what *I* want or like or do or hate or am insecure about or am confident about.  Because no matter what the trends say, it is not me and you will not know me by thinking, even academically, about trends.

But this song, this character, he wants to *know* his mate.  He recognizes that she's an individual.  He sees her as unique.  He sees her as *her*.

And that's a rare quality, and one that is far more attractive than the idea that this guy sitting in front of me sees me as an incomprehensible creature, or, worse yet, that he thinks he already *does* comprehend me because he believes that All Women or even Most Women do or want or think or feel anything.  Playing the odds, figuring you'll go with "most women like X" and just assume I do too because the chances are good that I do, that still tells me that you do not see me as an individual.  You put me in a category, and objects placed in a category can be more or less interchangeable.

And I am most certainly not interchangeable.

And neither are my partners.  I see them.  I might not 100% know them, but I see them.  And I want to know them, because that helps me to see them better.  I want to know about their first kiss, their first love, the street they grew up on, their hopes and dreams and wishes, I want to know what pains them and I want to know what makes them happy.

And this is the first country song I've heard that even comes close to expressing this concept, and to acknowledge a person's individuality and uniqueness, and that their past is a very important part of who they are, and to show no fear and no shame at wanting to explore all the scary paths that are required to building an intimate relationship.

I'm fascinated by who my partners are and by what makes them who they are.  Tell me everything about you.  Tell me about your day, tell me about your past, tell me about your future.  Let me see you, let me see who you were, who you will be, who you are.  Take me there.

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