Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I went on a blind date when I first returned to NYC, set up by my cousin. The date lasted all of 45 minutes, which I felt to be the minimum amount of time I could spend without appearing rude. He was (and still is), my cousin's good friend, so my usual exit strategies weren't possible.

Within the first five minutes, even before I was halfway through my first drink, he asked: "Have you ever been in love?"

Oh please.

The question is perfectly appropriate after certain milestones have been reached - namely, physical nakedness and/or emotional intimacy. But NOT within five minutes of "Hello, my name is..."

SK and I were rehearsing last night, trying to figure out what to sing as an encore. We won't have time to practice our encore song with our pianist, so our options are limited to what could work a cappella, preferably in close harmony. And we rejected song after song. But of course, the more wine we drank, the more that certain bad ideas seemed like good ones to us.

And as we howled with laughter at our renditions of "More Than Words" and "Only You," I was thinking of a conversation she and I had about the songs we had chosen to sing for our first show.

Jazz standards, as with most songs of any genre, are about love.

But with the typical jazz standard, the topic of love isn't treated with irony or subversiveness. It's all about unadulterated love and longing:

"I get misty just holding your hand"
"You'll never know how slow the moments go 'til you are near"
"You make me smile with my heart"

SK and I exclaimed during an early rehearsal before that first show: "Who the fucks feels this way?!?"

Actually, it was more SK wondering that. I was too busy trying to learn the melodies and memorize the damn words to reflect on their meaning. And it wasn't just SK who understood the kinds of songs we were singing... FT, in a conversation prior to that first show, when I informed him that I was planning to break The Fast, had one thing to say to me: "As long as it's AFTER the show. You'll sing these songs better if you aren't getting any."

But I digress, in a way. There is such emphasis on love, on being in love, and on potentially being hurt and having your heart broken.

I have yet to hear a jazz standard about the thing that weighs most heavily on me: the guilt of hurting another.

I don't know why that's so hard to understand. It's the simplest thing in the world, from my perspective. I've been hurt, I've cried over break ups and rejection, but I also got over that pain in a blink of an eye. What took YEARS to get over, was guilt.

The question for me isn't: "have you ever been in love?" The answer might be yes, it might be no, that seems almost irrelevant to me.

Because the thing that most frightens me, is betraying the obligations that are incurred when you are loved.

Someone should write a song about THAT.

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