Thursday, June 16, 2011

Say Anything and Say Anything: Lloyd Dobler vs Max Bemis

I always imagine the song he was playing in this scene was
"Baby Got Back."

I'm pretty sure Lloyd Dobler ruined romance for an entire generation of men by upping ladies' expectations of them, but Chuck Klosterman already covered that concept pretty well, so here's something else:

I think Max Bemis has the right idea about how to get with ladies. I'm not talking about the weird way he sings that makes it sound as if every vocal inflection is literally causing him pain like a sharp jab to the side. More it's just the lyrics of "Crushd."

Yeah, it's a little tame compared to other Say Anything hits, certainly not as loud or complex as even "A Walk Through Hell," but if you listen to the original performance he debuted the song at–some acoustic solo set he did live in-studio–it's mostly supposed to be that stripped-down piece, just him and his guitar but primarily his insane fixation with extra syllables and a bouncy meter.

It's a song about being kind of a rock star, then falling a little bit in love with a good girl who wants her life and work to mean something, so through sheer desire to be a better person for this woman, Max Bemis becomes less of a pompous player douchebag.

I get the feeling that's what all girls want: to not necessarily save the prince, but to be the girl for whom a good guy with a bad-boy facade stops dicking around and gets his shit together. "I'm sorry I'm kind of a mess, stylistically speaking, but I really like you, so could you forgive my hair and totally less-meaningful-than-yours work? Because I think we could actually be a great couple, which is weird for me to say but, again, I've generally been a dickbag of late, but I promise to try harder not to be."

And that's the hitch: "Respect to your work; you're an artist, I'm a silly jerk. I think this dynamic can work." That's it. That's all you have to be. Go ahead and act like a silly jerk, dudes. Where is the sense in being openly and earnestly nice to a girl who wants to feel like she accomplished something by turning the bad boy? Who at the very least wants to see that you made an effort to be with her more substantial than, "Hey, we hang out in the same places often, would you like to sleep together to make transportation between said places less costly? Neat, thanks."

So yeah, don't be a complete d-bag. That's not cool. But go ahead and be kind of an ass. Just enough like you're not censoring yourself around a girl you like, even if your first inclination is to be on your best behavior.

Because no girl wants you on your best behavior. They want you, silliness included.

Next week (unlikely) I will pit Monique Powell of Save Ferris against Matthew Broderick. Tune in!

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