Today’s modern marriage is challenging enough without the added stress of a complete and total clash in musical tastes, and yet that’s exactly what Jimmy and I have managed to endure in our union for over 32 years.
Jimmy is and has been a Die Hard Rock Fan since long before I met him. He thrills to the musical stylings of AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Judas Priest, just to name a few. He favors music that is banned on entire continents and revered by devil worshippers the world over. Music that has hurt my feelings and assaulted my soul for years. I gravitate to more serene sounds – The Barry Essentials of Music – Barry White, Barry Gibb and Barry Manilow.
Given this inhospitable musical climate, I think my initial reaction was quite understandable when Jimmy emailed me the other day to inform me he had purchased Barry Manilow tickets for my birthday. I was instantly touched, immediately ecstatic and entirely suspicious. It was one thing for him to purchase the tickets incognito online, but quite another for him to suggest he accompany me to the concert, where he risked being seen by any other live human being.
Not wanting to seem ungrateful, I thanked him sincerely for the tickets, but added that if I caught so much as a whiff of him mocking me or Mr. Manilow during the concert, I would uber myself home, so fervent was my devotion to Barry, the soundtrack of my youth, and, if you want to get right down to it, the entire decade of the 70s.
Before we left that night, as I gussied up for the event, Jimmy informed me that, contrary to whatever lies I tell myself, I don’t “own the 70s.” He, too, was raised during that decade, was weaned on Manilow and knew EVERY word to EVERY song.
To prove his point and perhaps to set the overall mood of the evening, he chose to demonstrate this fact as we drove down the interstate, headed for the concert.
Jimmy: (at the top of his lungs)
“Now it’s a disco, but not for Copa!”
Me: “It’s – Now it’s a disco, but not for LOLA! Copa is the name of the club…”
Every married person in the world knows that it’s a slippery slope and a double-edged sword to correct your spouse when they sing the lyrics to a song incorrectly. On the one hand – your spouse is singing… they’re happy and that’s a good thing, right? On the other hand, it’s super irritating when they’re butchering YOUR music. Other than an occasional reference to knocking others out with american thighs, you don’t hear me going around trilling AC/DC. So, what was I supposed to do? Correct him or just let it go?
Jimmy: (even louder – really going for it now)
“But that was 20 years ago when they used to have a show!”
It was 30 years ago. They used to have a show 30 years ago. And that was 40 years ago, so it’s actually been 70 years now. He’s off by almost 3/4 of a century. And – Copacabana isn’t even one of my favorite Barry Manilow songs. I have to stop him before he gets to “Mandy.”
Me: “I thought you said you knew all the words?”
Jimmy: “I do! But I like to sing the songs exactly the way I sang them when I was a little kid!”
I reached over and discreetly turned on the radio.
I was starting to get an inkling that he wasn’t taking this concert seriously; not according it the proper reverence. But, still, we did have dinner reservations before the concert and we do get more tolerable and tolerant after our blood sugar is leveled out, so I soldiered on.
After dinner, we walked across the street to the arena, found our seats right up front, popped our glow sticks and waited for Barry. When he took the stage, I took to my feet and that’s right where I stayed for the next 2 hours, without taking a single solitary break. I don’t know why Barry Manilow even pays back-up singers. I helped him sing every song, while tears of the purest form of unadulterated, post-adolescent, peri-menopausal joy streamed down my face.
I do feel a little sorry for the gentleman seated to my right, who probably thought he was purchasing expensive tickets right up front to actually hear Barry Manilow sing, SOLO, without the assistance of some random redhead over-dubbing the songs. But, I do not feel sorry for the gentleman seated to my left, who gazed up indulgently, lovingly and adoringly at me throughout the evening…
…a man so inspired by love for his woman, that he continued to belt out the full catalog of hits as we drove home. That’s when the righting was on the wall. I knew that, at least in this relationship, I did actually own the 70s.
I right the wrongs, I right the wrongs. It’s MY music, and I right the wrongs.