Dear Taylor Swift,
My 7 year old daughter adores you. She has a poster of you on her wall, and she can belt out every word of “Picture to Burn,” “You Belong With Me,” and “We’re Never Getting Back Together,” among other songs. I often take her to the park you paid for in Hendersonville. I point out your name over the slide. For all practical purposes, she thinks you’re a good person. And maybe you are. But I heard about your recent breakup. Wow. That lasted like, 2 seconds. Which is about your average when it comes to relationships.
This is why I really can’t stand you anymore. Your habit is to snap up a guy, hang out with him for 2 months, then abruptly throw him away and go write a humiliating song about him. You are a role model for young girls all over the world. What kind of lesson are you teaching them about love?
You actually admitted that you don’t know how to make a relationship last. Well, I’m not an expert, sister, but with 12 years of marriage under my belt I can at least get you started.
1. Everyone is flawed. Or no one is perfect. Either way, you’re not going to find the one perfect man for you because he doesn’t exist. Even the most compatible person will annoy you – and even hurt you – sometimes. Which leads me to my next point.
2. Love perseveres. Love means you stick around even when your significant other annoys you or hurts you. Things may be tense for a while, but the bad feelings will eventually fade and you will remember why you love that person again. I often think of the saying “this too shall pass” when my husband and I are going through a rough patch. That’s not to say that I don’t try to address the issue – I do – but it means that I have to live with some negative feelings for a few days, knowing that they will pass, and soon we will forget what we were mad at each other about and things will feel okay again. (P.S. Have you ever heard of make up sex? Oh. Sorry. You don’t ever make up with anyone. I forgot for a sec.)
3. Love grows. At your age I was already married and learning what love really is. Sure, I loved my husband before we got married, but it wasn’t until I HAD to stay with him even if he annoyed me or we disagreed on something or I didn’t like his dirty clothes all over the floor that I REALLY started to understand love. Love will get tested, tried, stretched, and challenged, and that will allow it to grow deeper.
4. Love is sacrificial, not self-serving. This is one I’m still learning, and I’m not very good at it yet. But when you love someone, you put him first. You go see the movie he likes. You buy him a special birthday gift instead of buying shoes for yourself. You attend his volleyball and basketball and baseball games even though you don’t like sports. You try to see the world through his eyes and understand his point of view. If he’s being selfless, too, then you will still be doing things you want to do because he’ll want to do the things you like. (At the very least, you have the decency not to ditch him in the middle of a vacation!)
Here’s the thing: I’m seriously thinking about mom-ipulating my daughter into liking different “role model” because you’re just not cutting it. Please, please, please think before jumping into your next relationship. You owe it to yourself, to the poor guys whose hearts you’ve broken, and to all your fans . . . including my little girl.
I agree with all of this, most especially with encouraging our daughters to look at their role models very, very carefully. However, when it comes to the entertainment industry, I believe we — the public and the fans — never know what is actually going on in a situation reported in the news/tabloids/blogs. Your advice on loving someone is excellent, Karissa, I just don’t know that Taylor Swift is ever going to be able to reflect in the press any of what may be a reality if she learns these things.
You’re right, Margie. All we have to go on is what we see in the media, and we never get Taylor’s actual opinion or side of the story. Perhaps I was too quick to judge.
I totally agree with you on your 4 points, but aside from number 1, I didn’t learn the other 3 until I was married. Sure someone may have said these things to me, but I had to experience them to KNOW them. You learned them through your marriage as well. And that kind of commitment only happens when BOTH people are ready to make it.
I’m not sure I can agree with you on your assessment of TS. Margie is right about the credibility of the media when it comes to celebrities. We see only the tip of the iceberg of who they are. Sure she may use her relationships to write her music, but what writer doesn’t write what they know? Sure she may be choosing the wrong guys, but I know I choose a couple of wrong guys when I was dating and they certainly weren’t the ones I was supposed to “stick around”. And maybe, just maybe, the reason her relationships don’t work out is because she isn’t willing to sacrifice her morals. Maybe the guys want more than she is willing to give. If we look at her out the celebrity spotlight, isn’t she just dating? When I was her age, my mom always said “Don’t get too serious too quickly.” She goes out with a guy a few times, it doesn’t work out, they break up. Sounds pretty normal. But put her back in the spotlight and she is immediately condemned. Maybe because the guys she dates are also famous and many very attractive, and we non-celebrities think “There she goes again. How can she break up with him? He seems perfect.” when in fact they are just as human and just as flawed. I think we have all made mistakes in relationships – the difference is she is doing it with a gazillion people watching. We learn as much by our mistakes as we do by our successes. That’s where we get our experience. She’ll learn. She’s only 23.
I like Taylor. In the face of other celebrities dressing trashily, getting caught with drugs, fighting at clubs, and going into complete downward spirals, if the worst thing she does is date a few guys (walking in the park, out to dinner – horrors!), I can work with that.
Chelsea, like I said to Margie’s comment, maybe I judged her too quickly. I guess it just appears that she’s prone to throw guys away really quickly, and a lot of people have had at least one long term relationship (I’m loosely going to define that as six months or more) by her age, so sometimes I wonder if she’s just being too picky or if the guys are really jerks or what. Or maybe it’s the pressure of constantly being in the media. Or something that only Taylor (not the tabloids) could explain to me.
Also, I did not exactly intend to sound holier-than-though here, although I think I did. I agree with you that most of those lessons I learned FROM marriage, not BEFORE marriage.
Thanks for your comments!