Monday, January 10, 2011

Sentimental fool--Modern day retrosexual

He came from somewhere back in her long ago.
Sentimental fool can't see, trying hard to recreate what had yet to be created.
He just can't seem to see, that it never really was...
She had a place in his life,
He never make her think twice....

She musters a smile, for his nostalgic tale.
Only to realize, it never really was.
As she rises to her apology anybody else would surely know, he's watching her go...
But he still believes.

I heard this song on the radio the other day--'What a Fool Believes', by the Doobie Brothers.  It came out when I was in elementary school, and I heard it on the radio a lot then.  I never was too good with lyrics anyway, so I never really paid attention to what it was saying.  I would just join in singing 'what a foo-ool believes, dabba dee, something something goes get ice cream'.  Standard made up little girl lyrics.  I was intrigued by some of the bits and pieces I picked up listening recently, so I looked up the lyrics when I got home.  I thought it was absolutely fascinating, because it tells a story that I seem to be seeing over and over again with my friends, and it is absolutely heartbreaking.

As the song goes, this guy runs into an old 'girlfriend', one that he has apparently been thinking a lot about and hoping they will get back together someday.  It becomes evident that this girl doesn't know or remember what he is talking about, and that there may never have been any kind of connection at all.  She makes some awkward excuse, says goodbye, leaves, and this guy watches her leave but still believes that one day they will get back together.  Now, the song doesn't get into this, but I am a sucker for a good backstory, so I will just make one up.  I don't think they were ever anything.  She was nice to him in junior high and maybe threw him candy off the homecoming float at the parade.  Maybe she signed his yearbook 'love always--be sure to keep in touch'.  He's been fascinated with her and knows that given the opportunity, she would realize it is HIM she really wants.  Sure, its been 15 years, but they have their high school reunion coming up, so hope reigns eternal.  Overall, a sad story.

Or, maybe they did have something going on.  They dated and promised and have a history.  They broke up and went their separate ways.  Married, with children.  Yet he still obsesses.  Maybe not openly, maybe his wife would never guess, but there are times when he retreats in his mind with the vision of life as it should have been, and could possible be again one day.  THIS is the reality I see too many of my friends living, and this is tragic.  It was bad enough 30 years ago when these people could have gone their whole lives and never run into each other again, but now, with the Internet and especially Facebook, reconnecting, or at least fantasizing about it, becomes all too easy and common.  It makes the possibility of making 'what could have been' into 'what might be again', and sadly, it is destroying relationships left and right.  There is even a new sociological term for it: retrosexual--reconnecting and establishing an old relationship through use of social media.  I have 6 friends that I know of that are now either divorced, separated, or having an affair because of this type of reconnection in the past year alone.  That doesn't even count the ones that would never act out on any feelings, but are still caught up in the cycle of checking out statuses, friend requests, and family photos to see if the spouse is now ugly or old looking (and hoping they are).

According to the Doobie Brothers, there is not much help for a person like this.  He is, according to them, a fool.  I know otherwise; that while tragic, people can be free from this viscious, mental anguish.  And believe me, it is anguish.  It may sound simple and Pollyanna-ish, but God specializes in this type of reprogramming and redirection.  We just have to be willing and open to it.  If we aren't, and continue to hold onto some fantasy that will only bring heartbreak, well, then maybe we are fools after all.

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