Rock and Roll

Linda Ronstadt

Being in a band is the same as being married, only more so. Sure, differences exist. There are more people in a band. You probably aren’t living in the same place (unless you’re just starting out). Likely there is no sex between band-mates.

Hmmm. Maybe not so different.

This documentary about The Eagles is less historically valuable than it is a tale of human awfulness. When a group of people as financially successful and popular as Fry, Henley, Felder et al can’t bridge their differences, what does it say about our natures? Whatever you think of the music, these guys prove that even from the most comfortable material place, we can find a way to dissension.

I’m sure someone before now has voiced the idea that bands are always on the verge of breaking up. They are like unstable atoms – too much opportunity to bond with other atoms, weird  unbalanced nuclei, only fleeting concern with the unit as a whole, electrons flying about all over the show…

In other words, bands are the opposite of good relationships.

Good relationships can face the same challenges, naturally. Ego plus drugs; talent plus ambition; venality plus money – you might even know people who aren’t musicians who succumb. All of these elements are available to anyone: the point is to choose not to indulge them.

May I suggest something? In my opinion, the difference between rock and roll and marriage is that in a good marriage the members are looking to be the best they can for the other person. You must choose to do so, meaning you must select a person (band-mate) for whom you want to spend time making their life better.

It’s an old-fashioned word, but it’s about serving someone, on the basis that you have a better life for doing so. Rock on.


Breaking Up

The whole concept is preposterous.

Look for someone. Find someone. Click with someone. Connect with someone. Swoon with someone. Decide about someone. Commit to someone. Remain with someone.

Try selling that to a bunch of venture capitalists and they’d laugh you right out of the elevator. Between floors.

And yet this remains our model. Against all the odds, most of us still want to find and stay with one right person. Is this nuts or what?

It’s only nuts if we don’t occasionally reflect on it. For instance, consider the character of the one you fancy. Character is important because the person you couple with today will change. They – like you, by the way – will find new interests, discover talents, take on projects. Time mellows people, or it fires them up, or it makes them philosophical or funny. People do not stop changing. The adorable one you fell for yesterday will be different next year.

But character by definition is solid. If your beloved has good character, they will remain fundamentally good, no matter how their periphery shifts. Relationships built on respect, admiration and delight in someone with a decent core are more likely to last.

No guarantees, but it’s as good as you’ll get. In my opinion.

*Picture of Mr and Mrs White from AMC’s Breaking Bad.

Sweethearts, Not Maturehearts

Jordan and Annie

When someone’s riding high on their success, facing them with awkward truths appears mean. This is not meant to be mean, and in any case he won’t be listening. However, someone you know might be in a similar position, so here’s my advice:

Jordan. Please don’t marry Annie.

Annie, please don’t marry Jordan.

Not yet, at least.

The media are keen to hint that these two are planning marriage, but there’s no official news. That’s good. Maybe these two youngsters – and they are youngsters at age 21 – have the smarts to know that the chances of their marriage succeeding aren’t good.

Here is a good article explaining the statistics surrounding marriages undertaken by folks under age 25.

Until a male (especially) is at least 25, his brain is still developing. That’s point one. Point two is that his character is, as a result, still not complete. Point three is that the twenties should be a time for exploring life, to push boundaries, to discover for yourself where you fit. Marriage is an enterprise best suited for those who have this sense of proportion and place in the universe. And that comes only with experience.

And by the way, since when is the fact of being “high-school sweethearts” a predictor of anything good? What social enterprises of which you partook in high school do you use in adulthood? Do the choices you made then look prescient in hindsight?

No. I didn’t think so. So what makes your choice of boy- or girlfriend any different?

Flailing Around

Stephanie March

If you are looking to engage a lawyer, an accountant, a physical therapist, a surgeon, a hair stylist, a baseball player, a caterer, a wedding celebrant…just about anybody, you want to know about their track record.

Achievements and failures count. We use them to guide us when making a choice of one person over another. We do this every day. The process is called judgement.

One exception to this logical approach is when we look for a mate. Then, it’s all different. No, let’s not examine this prospect’s past for hints of character – c’mon, what does it really tell us? And besides, when he’s with me, he’s different. We’re meant to be together, we’re special. It’s a beautiful thing.

In the news today is the case of Flay v March, two minorly famous people allegedly enroute to divorce. Normally this wouldn’t be worth an ounce of attention, but it caught my eye that this Flay is beginning his third divorce proceeding. Third. At age 50.

Let’s think about that. Here is an intelligent and articulate man, successful in his field, who is unable to remain married to three women. Or, to put it the other way, three women are unable to remain married to him. The circumstances really don’t matter; his failures are there for anyone to see.

Women should look at this guy’s history and avoid him at all cost. Something about him and his behavior does not lend itself to committed long-term relationships with women. Why would anyone ignore the evidence?

We all know they will. Being wealthy, famous and handsome gives him cachet. He is on television, for Pete’s sake, which is apparently a reason to ignore everything about his past. Yet another reason to turn off, stand up and go for a walk.


Photo credit to

Clickety Click

Elizabeth was around my age. She had bobbed brunette hair and habitually wore jeans not of the fashionable variety. Her pants were real work jeans. She had blue eyes, gold-framed spectacles and a direct gaze.

We clicked.

When I say we clicked, I mean I clicked. This is obviously not the same thing, but the conceit is that if I feel a rare connection with you, more than anything I want you to feel the same about me.

That is the pleasure and the pain of click – we know that a set of happy emotions are erupting, but how does the other person feel? And it is the nature of click that it happens upon first meeting, which means there is no history enabling the clicker to ask:

So, hotstuff, do you feel as fizzy as me?

It can be enormously frustrating this elevated awareness, the hormone rush, the desire, and the reality is that it might all be in our mind alone. She might just be being polite.

My click didn’t last. Elizabeth and I were only in the same town for a weekend. She was married to a burly farmer, with whom she had three young children, and wasn’t about to indulge a dopey city bloke.

Foolish. Starry-eyed. Illogical. Impossible. It was all of these things, and yet none the less real for being so.