IMHO Installment #35: Who's The Dog? (#1)

26 Apr 2007

Today, we will embark on a multi-part examination of dogness, identifying the dog in pop music situations. First up is the song Escape (a.k.a. The Pina Colada Song ) by Rupert Holmes. This was a major hit in the late 1970s and, thanks to stations like my local BOB-FM, wil likely never go away. The song opens from the man's POV:

I was tired of my lady
We'd been together too long
Like a worn-out recording
Of a favorite song

So while she lay there sleeping
I read the paper in bed
And in the personal columns
There was this letter I read

The guy seems doggish right off the bat, right? What kind of attitude is this? He's "tired of [his] lady" simply from prolonged exposure? And what does he do in response? Does he approach her? Does he try reinvigorating the relationship? After all, the year this song came out (1979), another huge hit dominated the soft-rock airwaves -- "Reunited," by Peaches & Herb. Recall the chorus: "Reunited, and it feels so good / Reunited, 'cause we understood / There's one perfect fit / And, sugar, this one is it / We both are so excited / 'Cause we're reunited /Hey, hey ... " For this couple to have lived through that hit song and not rekindled things by now is a clear case for a no-fault divorce. Let's face it, couple: You don't work together. Why? Well, we don't know yet, but one must wonder whether this habit of bringing newspapers into the bedroom contributed to the couple's apparent state of marital torpor. Let's continue with that personal ad:

"If you like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga
If you have half a brain

If you'd like making love at midnight
In the dunes on the Cape
Then I'm the love that you've looked for
Write to me and escape."

Ahh, the rampant sexual intercourse of the late 1970s. Five lines into her sophomoric personal sex RFP, and she's offering "Girls Gone Wild" beach sex to any stranger who meets her appallingly low-threshold criteria. As bad as things were looking for the husband (who had only "looked" at this point -- perused some classifieds for a bit of minor titillation), it seems the wife has beat him to any intentions of infidelity. Let's examine her criteria: In order for her to copulate with a total stranger, forsaking a marriage of presumably several years, all one would need to demonstrate is: (1) a modicum of agreeability toward rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice; (2) an appreciation for precipitation; (3) an aversion to taking care of oneself; (4) average intelligence; and (5) the desire to have sex in a mosquito-infested bog off, presumably, Cape Hatteras.

I didn't think about my lady
I know that sounds kind of mean
But me and my old lady
Have fallen into the same old dull routine

So I wrote to the paper
Took out a personal ad
And though I'm nobody's poet
I thought it wasn't half bad

Are those really the lyrics? I can't recall the melody right now, but that fourth line sounds metrically awful as written. Although, the writer does admit by the seventh line of this stanza that he is "nobody's poet." Could be the truest statement made thus far. Interesting, his lack of pride (that his poem "wasn't half-bad ") indeed seems (without even reading his poem) just the exact match of no-ambition loser his wife's looking for, which is fitting as he sets us up to enjoy the ridiculous irony coming our way very soon. Let's read his billet doux, shall we:

"Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I'm not much into health food
I am into champagne

I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon
And cut through all this red-tape
At a bar called O'Malley's
Where we'll plan our escape."

The first two lines answer the woman's ad. "Yes, I'm a drunk and like feeling damp." He continues by describing his lazy hedonistic lifestyle. It's tempting to wonder, rather ironically, whether this couple's clear aversion to self-care has contributed to their lack of romance. Let's face it: They've both "let themselves go," right? They married at 18 or 20, drank themselves to oblivion without any sense of personal responsibility, put on probably 40 pounds each, and now are disgusted about it. However, instead of turning their frustration inward, as they rightly should, they jump to the only conclusion people like this can jump to -- that it's all someone else's fault. I'm a fat lazy fuck now, and it's all my spouse's fault for dragging me down. What's the solution? Run off with someone new, of course. Christ, this couple deserves each other, don't you think? Let's see what happens:

So I waited with high hopes
And she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant
I knew the curve of her face

It was my own lovely lady
And she said, "Oh it's you."
Then we laughed for a moment
And I said, "I never knew."

Now, this stanza interests me for many reasons. First, the guy goes through with the tryst. Second, so does the wife. Third, there's actually some interesting ambiguity in his description of her. "I knew her smile in an instant / I knew the curve of her face." While it's admittedly tempting to attach some romantic notions here beyond his simple recognition of his wife, no such emotion actually exists in those two lines. He's not necessarily saying, "I recognized her and at once realized that I loved her all along." In fact, all he's necessarily saying is, "I recognized her; it was my wife." For all we know, the undertone could just as easily be panic: Oh, shit, it's her! Ditto for her reaction: "Oh it's you." What does that tell us? Is she surprised? Is she pleased? Taken aback? Disgusted? If there's any redemptive portion of this entire miserable song, it's this particular stanza for its thought-proviking possibilities. That mutual laugh ... Is it the first flame of a Peaches & Herb-style reuniting? Is it an awkward, mutual admission of infidelity?

That you like Pina Coladas
Getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean
And the taste of champagne

If you'd like making love at midnight
In the dunes of the Cape
You're the lady I've looked for
Come with me and escape

And the two presumably walk off hand-in-hand, drunk, into the sunset -- to fornicate nocturnally along the Outer Banks.

VERDICT: The WIFE was the clear dog in this instance. In determining dogness, one has to look at which partner acted first. Sure, the man lay awake that night perusing the triple-X personals; but she'd obviously placed the ad days or perhaps weeks prior. There's no telling, in fact, whether that little ad of hers had been running for months, maybe years. Gosh, what a total slut. That dude's lucky this was 1979, when VD was curable via a simple shot of penicillin. Please share your opinions!

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On April 26, 2007, Grant Miller wrote:

This could have been, should have been taught in my college English courses.

On April 26, 2007, Rhythmball Lynn wrote:

"Personal sex RFP." Hi-larious.

On April 26, 2007, Love Monkey wrote:

oh fuck. This would SO be my luck.

I mean. well, of course they are both to blame. shame, shame, shame.

On April 27, 2007, Evil Genius wrote:

Brilliant! Just brilliant.

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