Thursday, March 11, 2010

Relationship Politics and the Pina Colada Song

I hate the Pina Colada song (aka Escape by Rupert Holmes). I really, really do.
"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 like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape;
I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me and escape."
That I hate this song hasn't always been true - I loved it once. It has a damned catchy tune and who doesn't enjoy singing about cocktails and sex on the beach (which, fittingly, is also a cocktail)? But a couple of years ago, I was listening and something irked me, so I checked out the lyrics.

This song fucking sucks.

The whole premise of this song is twelve kinds of wrong. First, a guy is in bed with his "old lady" (that term - gag me with a spoon) and he decides to check out the personals section in the newspaper. Right there. In bed. Beside her.

Seriously? Ever heard of discretion?

Even the douchiest of douchebags will set up a
fake internet handle before trawling the pages of meetaskankyho-dot-com, but more my point is that if nothing else, you should have the fucking decency to get out of bed before you start browsing alternative relationship options.

When cheating on your wife, clandestine beats blatantly freakin' dodgy every time.

Then - and this is the part that really gets me riled - he meets this woman in a bar and it turns out to be his equally douchebaggy wife, and confronted by each other's douchebaggery, they laugh it off: "Oh honey - will you look at that: We were both engaging in extra-marital dickery, but it's okay because obviously this means we were secretly in love all along. Hahaha. Haha. Ha."

And they live happily ever after.

Because of the rum.

It is magic.

It's at this point that I generally start to beat myself with a hammer.

Nothing in this song adds up. The only way this song adds up, is if the woman is a voice-activated robot.

If this woman is completely incapable of sharing information, or perhaps of emitting sound at an audible frequency unless this guy first issues a command code (in the form of a question) - then maybe I buy this scenario of him not knowing basic things about her.

And it would be a song about robots and rum, and that's awesome.

If not (and I suspect this is the case), this song is an excercise in fucktardedness.

How is it that this guy can refer to his "lady" as a "well-worn, favourite song", and yet he does not know that she likes pina-fucking-coladas? Here's a thing: on a scale of "national security" to "shit you should probably know", your partner's preference for a fruity rum-based drink ranks much more closely to "her middle name", than "co-ordinates of terrorist cells in large, sandy countries."

If she is not a voice-activated robot, then my only other acceptable explanation is that these two met on a desert island, where they were forced to recycle their own bodily fluids to survive. They did not talk about the finer points of beverages so as to avoid the onset of debilitating depression, and they were at all times chaperoned by a flock of nuns.

A large, angry, flock of nuns.

As for not reacting to each other's douchebaggery in the bar, I have no explanation for that. Except to suggest that each suffers from a degree of autism.

This song is pedaled as a love serenade about reigniting a waning romance. Which is bullshit.

Escape is as much a love serenade as my ear wax is a testament to the tenacity of the human race. In that it's not. In that there's a slight fucking disparity in that statement.

At best, this song is about blind luck. If the guy hadn't met his wife in that bar (and I cannot stress enough how many puppies that sentence just killed); if he had instead met the booze-addled, half-wit stranger with an aversion to stretching he was expecting, this song would've been about the joys of testicular sand-burn following a late-night romp with a pub whore - little less catchy; little more country-western.

Realistically, this song is about a lying, cheating, repressed pair of human beings, slowly suffocating in the prison of an unhappy relationship they wish desperately to be free of. Except it is wrapped in a shiny jingle of Penthouse-lite merriment. That you can dance to.

At worst, this song is the final scream of a dying relationship; the sound a couple makes when they are being eaten alive by each other, and not in the good way.

That you can dance to.

And hundreds of thousands of people believe this is a lovely, even sexy song, which means it is also a rollicking melody set to the key of astonishing ignorance. Which is less dancey, more of a headdesking number.

Why am I getting so worked up over the pina colada song? Well, I could say I take issue with anything that glorifies betrayal and that I also despise ignorance, and both would be true. But mostly, I'm leading a pretty quiet life right now and I have time to think about these things.

A lot.

So... How do you feel about pina coladas?


  1. I like Pina Coladas. It's true.

    RE the song though.
    Perhaps they couple in question had been married for a while and realised the the love was still there but the sex was a little bare and had come to an open marriage agreement?
    It is possible that his wife had handed him the personals section right after trawling through them for her next conquest or to see if her ad that she tried to get placed last fucking Tuesday (those guys who work in the classified department of the paper are so incompetent) was actually there?
    Maybe they were looking at the "men/women seeking couples" section as a way to spice things up but found nothing of interest?

    There really are a whole lot of questions about the back story of this song that go unanswered here. For all you, or any of us know, it could _actually_ be a song about true romance and finding love where you least expect it.

  2. Or maybe he really is just a douche bag...


  4. Bwahahahahahahaha! All I knew of that song was "If you like Pina Coladas and nanananananana" but I still enjoyed this entry.

    Jolly good, old bean, jolly good!

  5. This is 58.763 different kinds of awesome. You have a new fan.

  6. I love this analysis, this song always bothered me for exactly the same reason.

    Similarly, I was at a wedding where they played Sting's "Every Breath You Take" as part of the service. Sweet... except... have you ever had a close listen to *that* song? Its all *kinds* of creepy.

  7. I know this way late and I'm sure you've forgotten about this post by now. Anyway, I just got into an argument about this song today with a married young lady. As she giggled, she said, "I think it's cute!"

    I was tired and couldn't say much more than "but it's a song about two assholes cheating on each other!" I really really wish I had had this blog post on hand to better articulate my view. I'm so glad I've found at least one other person in the world who hates this song!

  8. I haven't forgotten about this post. In fact, I think of it far too often because ignorance is rife. Some say 'bless the ignorant, they know not what they do.' I prefer 'eat them'.

    You are not alone, Anon - by the hit-count for this post, very far from it. :)