Another of my favourite Irish songs

Mammy Jane is coming to visit with my sister and her two kids (my check-squeezable nieces) for the next few days so I’m going to be playing Lego and Wii doing important aunt duties.

I want to leave you guys with another beautiful Irish song. This is really one of my favourite songs ever. It is by Paul Brady, a fantastic Irish singer/songwriter who wrote this song about the senseless violence in Northern Ireland. Give it a listen, it is truly beautiful and it also has such an important message.

Paul Brady, “The Island”

Here are the lyrics:

They say the skies of Lebanon are burning.
Those mighty cedars bleeding in the heat.
They’re showing pictures on the television.
Women and children dying in the street
And we’re still at it in our own place.
Still trying to reach the future through the past.
Still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone…

Chorus

But Hey! Don’t listen to me!.
This wasn’t meant to be no sad song.
We’ve heard too much of that before.
Right now I only want to be here with you.
Till the morning dew comes falling.
I want to take you to the island.
And trace your footprints in the sand.
And in the evening when the sun goes down
We’ll make love to the sound of the ocean

They’re raising banners over by the markets
Whitewashing slogans on the shipyard walls
Witchdoctors praying for a mighty showdown
No way our holy flag is gonna fall
Up here we sacrifice our children
To feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday
And teach them dying will lead us into glory…

Repeat chorus

Now I know us plain folks don’t see all the story.
And I know this peace and love’s just copping out.
And I guess these young boys dying in the ditches.
Is just what being free is all about.
And how this twisted wreckage down on main street.
Will bring us all together in the end.
And we’ll go marching down the road to freedom….
Freedom

A Beautiful Poem: The Skunk by Seamus Heaney

The Skunk

Up, black, striped and damasked like the chasuble
At a funeral mass, the skunk’s tail
Paraded the skunk. Night after night
I expected her like a visitor.

The refrigerator whinnied into silence.
My desk light softened beyond the verandah.
Small oranges loomed in the orange tree.
I began to be tense as a voyeur.

After eleven years I was composing
Love-letters again, broaching the word ‘wife’
Like a stored cask, as if its slender vowel
Had mutated into the night earth and air

Of California. The beautiful, useless
Tang of eucalyptus spelt your absense.
The aftermath of a mouthful of wine
Was like inhaling you off a cold pillow.

And there she was, the intent and glamorous,
Ordinary, mysterious skunk,
Mythologized, demythologized,
Snuffing the boards five feet beyond me.

It all came back to me last night, stirred
By the sootfall of your things at bedtime,
Your head-down, tail-up hunt in a bottom drawer
For the black plunge-line nightdress.

Today, I read the poem ‘The Skunk’ with my pupils. It is one of my favourite romantic poems and my students loved it. It elicited a great discussion of what constitutes romance and I left class knowing that my students had personally connected with this beautiful poem.

In terms of being “romantic”, it is unconventional to say the least. The poet compares his wife to a skunk, which on the surface, is not the most flattering of comparisons. However, a deeper look at the poem reveals the affection and tenderness that is evident between the poet and his wife. I love it because it is not cliched; it is affectionately teasing and the comparison makes sense to them. His deep love and desire for his wife is obvious.

Heaney died last year at the age of 74. His last words, to his beloved wife, were in beautiful simple Latin: Noli timere, meaning “don’t be afraid”.

10 Things NOT to do on a first date

1. Dress uncomfortably.

There is literally nothing worse than being more nervous than Woody Allen in a brothel and also feeling like your ribs are about to explode.

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2. Discuss politics or religion.

Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one. And when it comes to these two contentious issues, it’s best to steer clear. Unless you’re an atheist and she’s a member of the Westboro Baptist Church; probably better that you discuss that little pickle pretty quickly before she’s protesting outside your house.

3. Go to a movie

I never understand why people choose to see movies on their first date. You can’t talk or even SEE your date. Recently, a friend of mine went on a first date with a guy to the cinema and when I asked what he looked like she said she didn’t know! He could’ve been Pee-wee Herman for crying out loud. (FYI, I don’t know where I get this stuff either.) Not to mention the conversation won’t exactly be flowing because, well, everyone will shush you.

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4. Talk about an ex

So, your ex cheated on you? Broke your heart? Moved on with your sister? Trampled all over your heart, did he? Don’t moan about it on a date. That’s what Jerry Springer is for.

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5. Play hard to get

Playing games is for kids. I really can’t stand when you hear people dish out advice like “treat her mean, keep her keen” or “play hard to get”. Treat me mean, get bruised testicles.

6. Have unrealistic expectations

I’m not saying that you should just settle for any ole Tom, Dick or Jamie O’ Brien, but more often than not we expect a date straight from the imaginings of Richard Curtis. Me and Jack’s first date was a walk. Yes, you read that right. We walked for miles, sometimes in the rain, and we talked and talked until it got dark. It was cheap and simple, but it was also romantic.

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7. Expect him (or her) to pay

I have a big issue with girls who expect a guy to pay for a first date. I have talked to a lot of guys about this and the general consensus has been that they have no problem paying for a date, especially if they have invited the other person to a specific place, but it’s not cool when the other person doesn’t at least offer to pay their half.
You might be more old school and traditional than me, but I think it then sets a precedent for what is to follow. I’ve know plenty of girls who will play the ‘I’m a feminist’ card and demand equality, but would then expect a man to pay in full for a date. I have no issue with a man who would like to pay for a first date, but I would always offer to pay my way and I’d be only too happy too.

8. Spend more time checking Facebook than talking to your date.

Ugh. It is awful when you are trying to have a meaningful conversation with someone and you’re met with monosyllables. I don’t know how anyone would think that this is anything but ignorant. I would start discussing how I have a highly contagious virus and see how long they decide to remain unresponsive.

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9. Arrange to meet other people without telling your date

The reason I’m including this is because I recently went on a big knees up with my old work mates. There was about fifteen of us and lets just say when we all get together it gets… Messy. About an hour into the tequila shots and terrible karaoke one of our group arrives with a guy we’ve never met. Turns out they’d been on a date and she’d decided that they should meet us instead of go on the dinner they’d booked. She told me that it took the awkwardness out of it. ‘You sure did’, I replied, ‘for YOU.’ The poor guy was confronted with fifteen drunken and inquisitive women and he was clearly uncomfortable from start to (very hazy) finish. We were kind to him, but there’s only so much “YOU SHOULD TRY ON MY LIPSTIIIICK” one man can take.
If you make a date with someone, keep it between both of you, unless you have actually planned on attending an event with friends together. It could be a great ice-breaker, or, you know, extremely awkward.

10. Overthink the end of the date

We’ve all been there. “Should I kiss him?” “Will he expect to be invited in?” “What if he leans in for a kiss and I dip my head the wrong way…” There’s just no point panicking about these things. These moments should just be organic. It’s best to just relax and see where the moment takes you both. You don’t have to do anything, there are no rules here (well, except respecting the wishes of the other person) so have fun!

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5 of the Least Romantic Songs Ever

My last blog post listed some of the most romantic songs ever written. I felt all fuzzy inside writing the list (it actually later turned out I’d eaten a particularly dodgy slice of pizza, oops). These are the types of songs you’d play for your first dance at your wedding, as you gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes and ignore the fact that you will be fighting about the toilet seat in three days time.

There are some songs, however, that just lack that…feeling. They wither have no emotional impact on you, the listener, whatsoever, or worse, they leave you scratching your head and wondering how on earth someone ever thought writing those lyrics would get them laid. So here’s my definitive list of the least romantic songs ever written.

1. I Want You Back, The Jackson Five

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3Q80mk7bxE

I’m pretty sure even Richard Nixon loved this song. See, that’s the kind of thing that goes on inside my head. But really, it’s catchy and everyone enjoys raising their voice a few octaves higher and singing along. As a love song though, it fails. ‘Aw but isn’t it about a guy who regrets the shabby treatment he gave his girl? And how he’d do anyhting to get her back?’ Well, yes. But look at the lyrics:

When I had you to myself

I didn’t want you around

Those pretty faces always

made you stand out in the crowd

So basically he’s really saying ‘when you were my girlfriend, you annoyed the crap out of me and there was always much hotter chicks around.’ You know what I’d tell this guy if he ever tried to get me back? Take a long walk off a short pier, my friend. 

2. Every Breath You Take, The Police

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOGaugKpzs

Every breath you take
And every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
Ill be watching you

Every single day
And every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
Ill be watching you

I used to listen to this a a kid and think ‘great beat’ and not much else. Because I was a kid who also thought pirates lived in my back garden. But as I got older, I began to notice the lyrics had a certain creepy vibe to them. Surely, you don’t mean every single day, do you Sting? Oh, you do. Well, you can watch me go file a restraining order then.  Note to self: Never date Sting.

Image

3. Basically Anything By Akon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y1dkCyGCws

Let me tell you a funny story. A few years ago, as a joke I tell you, my best friend gave me a CD with the most explicit R&B and Hip-Hop she could find. I used to sometimes play it in my car because she got a kick out of watching a white Irish girl rap the lyrics to ‘The Next Episode.’ There were two songs (the first two, coincidentally) on the CD that I particularly hated though. One was ‘Smack That’ and the other was a subtly titled ‘I Wanna F**k You’, both by Akon. One day, my very innocent and very Catholic mother needs a drive into town. While I’m driving along, I absent-mindedly lean over and turn on the stereo. I hear the opening music to ‘I Wanna F**k You’ and I nearly run the car off the road trying to turn of the stereo. Oh, that’s right, it’s not a funny story, IT’S THE DAY I WOULD HAVE HAD THE MOST AWKWARD EXPERIENCE WITH MY MOTHER, EVER. 

Now, I’m not one to get offended easily. I could sit here and write about how these songs objectify women in the most juvenile way possible. But that’s not just the issue here. The issue is that the lyrics are so terrible that any woman who falls for them deserves to be treated like crap. Lets take a look at some lyrics from I wanna F**k You

Just another tease far as I can see
Tryna get you up out this club if it means spendin’ a couple dubs
Throwin’ bout 30 stacks in the back make it rain like that cause I’m far from a scrub
And you know my pedigree, ex-deala use to move amphetamines
Girl I spend money like it don’t mean nothing and besides I got a thing for you.

So, basically, I’m drug-dealer and I want to get you drunk so you’ll shag me. Wow, that should be on a Hallmark.

Now lets look at Smack That

And possibly bend you over look back and watch me

Smack that all on the floor
Smack that give me some more
Smack that ’till you get sore
Smack that oh-oh!

Charming. Now, you’re probably thinking ‘whatever, prude, it’s the 21st century. PEOPLE HAVE SEX!’

But when you take a listen to something like I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles, these songs seem predatory and sleazy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_csEEI4PFE

4.  My Place, Nelly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh2I2HabjEM

I’m including this song because it has some of the most ridiculous lyrics ever written.

If I could take back every word I would

And more, fo’ sho

If I thought that you would believe it

So, let me get this straight Mr. Nelly, you’re basically saying that you would say anything to your lover if she was dumb enough to believe it. Wow. And that’s not even the best line. The next line is so achingly romantic that I’m warning you: you may swoon.

Cause you make my life so convenient for me

So, what you’re saying is…this girl is in your life to make everything more convenient…FOR YOU? Wow, what chivalrous selflessness. 

5. Gone Till November, Wyclef Jean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI6MWZrl8v8

Every time I make a run, girl you turn around and cry, I ask myself why 
Oh why, see you must understand I can’t work a 9 to 5, so I’ll be gone til 
November, said I’ll be gone till November I’ll be gone till November, you 
Tell my girl yo I be gone till November

Here’s a better idea, Wyclef, why don’t you tell her yourself? Sheesh.

 

Most Romantic Songs (Now with 50% less nausea)

Most Romantic Songs

There’s a song for every mood. And a flavour of ice-cream. And a pair of shoes, and a breed of dog… Ok, there’s a lot of things for a lot of moods. But there’s something about a love song that just hits me right there (I’m pointing at me chest, not my genitals you dirty so-and-so). I’m just going to randomly pick some of my favourite love songs cause if I really had to think about it, my head might just explode, and nobody wants that, right? *interminable silence* Right.

Also, I’m trying to avoid cliches and contrived mushy songs, although I can’t promise you won’t feel slightly nauseated.
I’ve even included links to the songs cause I’m that thoughtful. Your mom would love me.
Lastly, I’m also going to do a ‘Least Romantic Songs’ list soon to counterbalance the cheese here.

The Smiths, ‘There is a Light that Never Goes Out.’

The Smiths, There is a Light

There’s something almost tragically comical about these lyrics.

Driving in your car, I never never want to go home… because I haven’t got one, anymore.

Oh, Morrissey.

And if a double-decker bus
Crashes into us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die

Romantic and er, specific. I like the absolute morbidness of the lyrics though.

John Lennon, ‘Woman
John Lennon, Woman

This song captures the vulnerability and desperation that often accompany love. It is bittersweet really. Here’s a guy basically saying ‘I’m a bit of a screw-up but please don’t ever leave me because I need you.’ And man, does it say it well.

Woman I know you understand
The little child inside of the man
Please remember my life is in your hands
And woman hold me close to your heart
However distant don’t keep us apart
After all it is written in the stars

I would literally have let him away with anything if he had written this for me. Punching giraffes? Yes, even that.

Bob Dylan, ‘To Make You Feel My Love’

Bob Dylan, To Make You Feel My Love

For all of you saying ‘this is an Adele song, no?’ please pinch yourself in the arm, hard. While some may argue that Adele sings it better, the beautiful and heart-wrenching lyrics belong to Bob Dylan and knowing they come from the heart makes this song so amazing. Also, the sheer desperation an sadness in his voice makes his rendition all the more powerful. Nothing against Adele, she’s great, but this is Dylan’s song.

When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

Excuse me while I curl into a ball and wail.

Elton John, ‘Your Song

Elton John, Your Song

Simple. Perfect.

I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words,
how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.

(Honourable mention to ‘Something About the Way You Look Tonight’.)

The Way You Look Tonight, various

Tony Bennett, The Way You Look Tonight

I think it was Fred Astaire who first sang this but most people will be familiar with the Tony Bennett version. Whichever you know best, this is one of the most beautiful love songs to listen to when it’s just you and that special person. Even if you’re just playing Jenga. Again, it’s simple but so moving.

With each word your tenderness grows
Tearing my fear apart
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose
touches my foolish heart

Aww.

Eric Clapton, ‘You Look Wonderful Tonight’

Eric Clapton, You Look Wonderful Tonight

In keeping with the theme of flattery, this one is also so romantic it hurts. It might be over-played at this stage, but that doesn’t take away from its effect. And the guitar, oh the guitar.

It’s late in the evening, she’s wondering what clothes to wear
She puts on her make up and brushes her long blond hair
And then she asks me, “Do I look alright?”
And I say, Yes, you look wonderful tonight

Is it any wonder he was a hit with the ladies?

Shania Twain, ‘You’re Still the One’

Shania Twain, You’re Still The One

Please don’t hate me for this. I know, I know. This song reminds you of countless first dances at weddings you wish you never attended. But I have my reasons. A few years ago, a friend of mine told me that this was her parent’s song. They had my friend when they were only teenagers at a time in Ireland when having children out of wedlock was akin to punching a bishop square in the face. 26 years later and they’re still together. So every time I hear the following lyrics, I get a bit weepy

Looks like we made it
Look how far we’ve come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we’d get there someday

They said, “I bet they’ll never make it”
But just look at us holding on
We’re still together still going strong

See, SEE?

Faith Hill, ‘This Kiss

Faith Hill, This Kiss

There’s something so infectiously cheerful about this song. And this is coming from the human form of Grumpy Cat. It kind of makes me want to go twirling around on mountain tops… You know, if that didn’t look crazy.

It’ s the way you love me
It’s a feeling like this
It’s centrifugal motion
It’s perpetual bliss
It’s that pivotal moment
It’s, ah, impossible
This kiss, this kiss
Unstoppable
This kiss, this kiss

I just did a lovely interpretative dance for you. Did you like it?

Elvis Presley, ‘Love me Tender’
Elvis Presley, Love Me Tender

This song made me fall in love with Elvis, who died a full ten years before I was born. That’s almost supernatural.

Love me tender,
Love me sweet,
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
And I love you so.

He was singing to future me, right?
I also ADORE ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ just as much.

Amy Winehouse, ‘Love Is A Losing Game

Amy Winehouse, Love Is A Losing Game

This song possibly doesn’t quite fit here but I love it none the less. This song is difficult to listen to especially knowing Amy’s turbulent personal struggles. But it is so real, so relatable and so heartbreaking. RIP Amy.

For you I was a flame
Love is a losing game….

One I wish I’d never played
Oh, what a mess we made
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game

Eva Cassidy, ‘Song Bird’

Eva Cassidy, Song Bird

I’m well aware that Eva didn’t actually write this song or originally perform it (Fleetwood Mac?) but her version is the one that will resonate with me forever. It is so pure and beautiful that I find it difficult to listen to without welling up.. FOR NO FREAKIN REASON! That’s the power of Eva Cassidy though.

For you, there’ll be no cryin’
For you, the sun will be shinin’
Cause I feel that when I’m with you,
It’s alright, I know it’s right

If you’ve never heard her sing, go listen to her now. It will change your life*

Fields of Gold (originally Sting but even he preferred Eva’s version) also deserves a mention here.

David Gray, ‘This Year’s Love’

David Gray, This Year’s Love

I just love this song. I often skip it on my iPod though because I find it so hard to listen to. If David Gray was standing in front of me and I could give him a bear hug, or at the very least, a reassuring pat on the back, then fine. But the pain in his voice and the sad, melodic piano just make this song so darn melancholic.
The thing is, he *has* found someone but the lyrics perfectly encapsulate that feeling of paranoia and insecurity that we often feel in the beginning of a relationship. It’s his fear that something will go wrong that is so sad.

This years love had better last
Heaven knows it’s high time
And I’ve been waiting on my own too long
But when you hold me like you do
It feels so right
I start to forget
How my heart gets torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Feeling like you can’t go on

The Beach Boys, ‘God Only Knows’

Beach Boys, God Only Knows

On a slightly more cheerful note, this song is sweet and romantic without managing to be cliched. Take note, boy bands.

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

Typical beach boys, slightly dark lyrics hidden behind ridiculously catchy melodies. You’ve got to love it.

The Monkees, ‘I’m A Believer’

The Monkees

It’s cheerful, ridiculously infectious but I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. And if you’re thinking ‘I don’t like it’ then that doesn’t count cause I haven’t met you so, ha. And now this is going to be stuck in your head for DAYS. Double ha.

I thought love was only true in fairytales
Meant for someone else but not for me
Love was out to get me
That’s the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all my dreams

Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I’m in love, I’m a believer
I couldn’t leave her if I tried

Pearl Jam, ‘The End’

Pearl Jam, The End

This is a song so emotional that every time it is played, an angel cries. Or something. But really, this song is so moving that the first time I heard it, I didn’t just do the welling up thing, I full-on sobbed! The narrator of the song is dying of ‘a sickness in [his] bones’ (I believe, anyway) and the lyrics are a plea to his loved one to understand that the stress of what he is going through has made him difficult to be around. He is hopeless. He also, futilely, blames himself for his illness and expresses a sense of failure for not being able to be there for his loved one and their kids. It really is such a beautiful song.

It’s my fault now
Having caught a sickness in my bones
How it pains to leave you here
With the kids on your own
Just don’t let me go

Help me see myself
Cause I can no longer tell
Looking out from the inside
Of the bottom of a well

It’s hell
I yell

But no one hears before I disappear
Whisper in my ear
Give me something to echo
In my unknown future’s ear

My dear
The end
Comes near
I’m here
But not much longer
.

I once played this to a class and the silence afterwards (apart from a few sniffles) said it all. It’s heart-breaking.

Jeff Buckley, ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’

Jeff Buckley, Lover, You Should’ve Come Over

It makes me sad that more people will know the lyrics to ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber than this song… (the same goes for a genius song by The White Stripes called ‘Effect and Cause’) because the lyrics are among the most meaningful and powerful I’ve ever heard. You know when you miss the person you love and you’re lying awake at night wishing they were beside you? Well, Buckley managed to verbalise that feeling in perhaps the most romantic yet conflicted lyrics ever written. Coupled with his vulnerable and aching voice, this song wins every time.

It’s never over, my kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder
It’s never over, all my riches for her smiles when I slept so soft against her
It’s never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter
It’s never over, she’s a tear that hangs inside my soul forever

Ryan Adams, ‘When The Stars Go Blue’

Ryan Adams, When The Stars Go Blue

So, you’re probably getting that I like my love songs simple and they don’t come more simple than this one. The lyrics are pretty, his voice is soft and romantic and the music makes this the perfect song to slow-dance to.

Where do you go when you’re lonely
Where do you go when you’re blue
Where do you go when you’re lonely
I’ll follow you
When the stars go blue

Laughing with your pretty mouth
Laughing with your broken eyes
Laughing with your lover’s tongue
In a lullaby

Mandy Moore, you’re a lucky lady.

Willie Nelson, ‘You Are Always On My Mind’

Willie Nelson, You Are Always On My Mind

I know Nelson didn’t originally write or record this song but his cover of it is by far my favourite. The sincerity of his voice makes the song his. I love it.

Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have

If I made you feel second best
Girl, I’m sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

And so, that’s all for now. I know there’s literally thousands of other songs I could have included but that would be one mother of a list and I actually did this on my phone. Surely I deserve some kind of prize for that? No? Fine, I’ll have cake.

*Not an exaggeration

Why Romeo didn’t really love Juliet. Yes, I’m ruining that now.

Ah, young love. My last blog post dealt with the insanity that is teenage romance; a heady concoction of hormones and cheap perfume.

The most famous young couple is without a shadow of a doubt Romeo and Juliet (or some derivative, depending on your interests). The story of the ‘star-crossed lovers’ is as well known as the words to ‘American Pie’. Okay, just the chorus but whatever. It is a story that has lasted the test of time and its plot resonates with romance-lovers to this day. But what is so special about their relationship? Don’t get me wrong, I love Shakespeare. I actually adore him to a point that it’s best not discussed in public. Awkward. Anyway, moving on. My point is that I believe people are overly fixated on Romeo and Juliet’s relationship rather than their respective characters. I don’t think they really had anything that special at all. Just a lot of crazy hormones.

I don’t particularly like Romeo. A sin, you say. Romeo, one of Shakespeare’s most famous creations, HAS to be liked, nay, loved, right? Not so.I’ll get to that in a minute. I don’t think Romeo loved Juliet in the sense that, let’s say, Ross loved Rachel. I know what you’re thinking: You CAN’T seriously be comparing Shakespearean characters to sitcom characters?! Well, I am. Whatcha gonna do about it? Okay, let me defend myself.Ross and Rachel were a couple who were developed over ten series and got to know each other’s traits/flaws very well. They then made an informed decision to be together. Spoiler ale-….ah, it’s too late. And anyway, WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?! My point is, you can imagine their future. Had Romeo and Juliet lived (another spoiler, but come on now, seriously?!) I just don’t know how they would have managed. We’re talking disowned, no money, six kids….ain’t nobody got time for that. I also want to make it clear that I’m not attacking the play itself. It’s wonderful. Put down the broken bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and RELAX!

Here are a few reasons why I’m just not buying the love though:

1. Juliet is THIRTEEN. Romeo is an undisclosed age, but I figure he’s around sixteen. Either way, he’s not exactly Tom Selleck. It might be argued that’s the way it was in those days; people married younger and adolescent declarations of life-long dedication to your partner were the norm. Well, okay then, but does that suddenly make that okay? Does it suddenly make Romeo and Juliet’s obsession with each other healthy. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, HELL NO!

2. Romeo was also ‘in love’ with Rosaline. At the beginning of the play, Romeo is all melancholy cause some b**ch won’t return his calls…or carrier pigeons or whatever. He is so heartbroken that his parents are worried about him, he’s spending most of his time alone and withdrawn in the darkness. That seems pretty serious. My point is is that Romeo genuinely believes he’s in love with Rosaline. His depression in the beginning of the play, while slightly irritating, is also quite genuine. So even though he later recants this ‘love’, at the beginning it’s pretty believable but then is proven to have been just the hormones of a randy teenager. Hmm. So we know one thing about Romeo, he falls in love pretty easy.  And hard. Give him a few months with Juliet and perhaps the honeymoon period would have faded too.

3. THEY DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER! You might think some celebrities get married ridiculously soon after meeting each other. Well, you can thank R+J for starting this trend. They meet, and get married THE NEXT DAY. Seriously, I’ve had sandwiches I’ve known for longer. Call me a cynic, but how well could you really know a person after ONE DAY?! I mean, what if Juliet is a vegetarian and Romeo eats live rabbits? What if Romeo listens to Snoop Dogg, and Juliet to P Diddy (or their 16th century equivalents)? I know that they already have feuding parents (total ‘mare for the Christmas dinner) but surely there are other differences that might be deal-breakers? Oh no, you might gush, when it comes to true love there are no deal-breakers. Really? A friend of mine once got dumped after SIX MONTHS of a relationship because she admitted to liking Twilight. Think about the people you’ve dated and the reasons you’re not dating them any more. Reasons like ‘they used to put three spoons of sugar in their coffee, THREE!!’ or ‘They used to wrap their leg around me when we slept and I couldn’t move’ or ‘they refused to shave their back rug’ etc etc. I’m sure there’s plenty in the relationship of R+J that would have proven divisive. Least of all the family feud. Possibly Romeo’s bitch-fits. I mean, man up for crying out loud. Which brings me onto my next point…

4. Romeo is whiney.

Romeo likes to complain. A lot. And the problem with Romeo is, if you’re his friend or ‘kinsman’ if you want to get all Shakespearean and stuff, you’re gonna get in trouble. Look at Mercutio. Okay, so you can’t blame it all on Romeo (he did spectacularly avenge his death ‘EITHER THOU, OR I, OR BOTH MUST GO WITH HIM’ *chills*) but he isn’t exactly the greatest of friends. The words ‘buzz-killer’ come to mind. He’s just so overly pensive. Or if you you like, he’s a pretty typical teenager. But compared to Benvolio and Mercutio, he’s pretty whingey. I get the feeling that Romeo enjoys the melodrama of misery and that really doesn’t bode well for a relationship. Imagine ‘It’s not what thou said but the way thou said’t.’

5. He killed her cousin. Like a bad episode of Jerry Springer (wait, is there such thing as a good episode?), there really is no fixing this familial issue. But Romeo just flat out didn’t think. Didn’t think because he put his rage at Mercutio’s death before his love for Juliet. A precursor of ‘bros before hoes’ if you will. I mean, sure, Tybalt was a jerk and his comeuppance was pretty deserved but it just demonstrated Romeo’s lack of foresight. What did he think was going to happen? Lady Capulet to be all like ‘Gee, thanks, I’d tried a contract killer but you just can’t get good service any more. That really is a thorn out of my side. Cheers Romeo.’ And you know when you screw up and your mother compares you to your annoying perfect sibling/cousin/friend, well…I’m gonna do that now. Benvolio wouldn’t have reacted like that. There, I said it. He killed his wife’s cousin. Okay, we’ve all been there with the in-laws. But we don’t murder them do we? (Please don’t take this as an opportunity to confess.) And Juliet might have forgiven him for it but that’s because she’s 13 and probably thought Tybalt was gone to live on a farm up the country. In ten years she probably would have exploded: ‘WAIT A MINUTE, YOU MURDERED MY MOTHER’S NEPHEW. WTF?!’

So, in summary, a great play but their relationship just doesn’t do it for me. The thing is, I don’t think Shakespeare necessarily meant the relationship to be considered a paragon of romantic perfection either. I think he did a great job showing the complexities of young love and how teenage hormones can actually make you act bat-sh*t insane. Remember when you listened to ‘All by Myself’ 100 times after your first breakup cause you thought you were going to die alone with 70 cats? Well, look at you know. Only 15 cats. You showed them.