Everything I needed to know about love, I learned from 80’s Hair Metal

Everything I needed to know about love, I learned from 80’s Hair Metal

I was sitting on a plane the other day and a thought hit me like like a ton of bricks – someday, someone is going to break my son’s heart.  I sat up straight in my seat and had a moment of pure, unadulterated pain.  I don’t know who she is going to be, or how she is going to do it, but someone is going to make my son feel the same way I felt many times growing up – alone.

It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and while I did, my iPod continued to play.  I was listening to a playlist my wife had put together to listen to in the car with the kids.  We’ve tried to instill a love of music into our children, and I’m happy to report that they are both fans of rock music.  It was then that another thought snuck up on me – I needed to share what I learned about love with my son – a bit of advice on just how to navigate the murky waters of love and infatuation.  And, as crazy as it sounds, the perfect way to do it was in the same way that I learned it – through the music of my youth.  So here it is, an open letter to my son about the highs and lows of love.


“Everybody’s Baby” – Company of Wolves

She’s everybody’s baby when they turn the house lights down
And she takes the stage and leaves the world behind
Sometimes I think I’m crazy, trying to follow her around
And she treats her public well, and she always looks divine,
And she’s everybody’s baby but mine

You have to be careful about projecting your feelings onto someone else.  Just because you are in love with someone (or think you are), doesn’t mean they are in love with you.  Be persistent, but know that life isn’t a movie.  You can drive yourself crazy trying to convince someone to love you.  You may get some good poetry out of it – but that’s about it.

“Don’t Know What You Got (‘Till It’s Gone)” – Cinderella

Don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone
Don’t know what it is I did so wrong
Now I know what I’ve got, it’s just this song
And it ain’t easy to get back, takes so long

Don’t ever take things for granted.  Not the future, not your relationships, not your responsibilities, and certainly not the ones you love.  It’s so easy to assume that everything will always be okay and everyone will always forgive you for any mistakes you make.  You don’t want to wait until someone you love is gone before you realize just how much of a part of you they were.


“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison

Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn

Not every story has a happy ending.  No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try; sometimes things just don’t work out.  Even the things that are most beautiful in your life can ultimately cause you pain.


“Love Song” – Tesla

Love is all around you.
Love is knockin’ outside your door
Waitin’ for you is this love made just for two
Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again, I know

Everyone will have their heart broken, sooner or later.  In that moment, it will feel like the entire world is going to end.  You will be convinced that you will NEVER love again.  That’s just not true.  You will find love again.  Life will go on.  Things will get better – they always do.  You just have to hang in there and weather the storm.


“Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard

Listen! Red light, yellow light, green-a-light go!
Crazy little woman in a one man show
Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love
Sweet dream, saccharine, loosen up

Sometimes you just have to have fun.  Love isn’t always going to make sense.  It’s not always going to be deep and meaningful and profound.  Sometimes love is just going to be a crazy, chaotic, thrill ride that makes little sense.  And you know – those are some of the best times of all.


“Is This Love” – Whitesnake

It’s times like these
I can’t make it on my own
Wasted days and sleepless nights
And I can’t wait to see you again

When you first “fall in love” it will consume you – heart and soul.  You’ll think about her day and night.  You won’t feel complete without her.  That white-hot passion will cool after a time.  That’s when you’ll find out if you’re really in love.  If you simply can’t imagine even the dullest of days without her – then it’s love.


“Heaven” – Warrant

I don’t need to be a Superman
As long as you will always be my biggest fan

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rat race; your job, the things you own – it’s tempting to define yourself by those measures.  Don’t.  To do that is a recipe for unhappiness, disappointment, and regret.  Measure yourself by the impact you make in the life of those that you love.  The love you share will sustain you far better than anything material ever could.


“More Than Words” – Extreme

More than words
Is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
Cause I’d already know.

You have to show people you care about them – you can’t just tell them.  Words are cheap when they aren’t accompanied by actions.  If you really want someone to know that you love them, show them.  Treat them like you love them.  Then, and only then, will the words you say have meaning.


“Born To Be My Baby” – Bon Jovi

Only God would know the reasons
But I bet he must have had a plan
Cause you were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man

There is someone out there for you – a soul mate.  It may not always feel that way; there will be many, many lonely days – but there is someone out there.  You just have to keep the faith, keep looking, and when you find her – hold on to her with all of your heart.


I hope, when my son finally has a chance to read this, he will find some of the same “promises in the songs of yesterday” that I have over the years.  Learning to live and learning to love is a very rocky road.  There are moments when you feel completely alone and moments when you feel that you could fly – but both are integral to the journey.  Without the lows you will never truly appreciate the highs.  But in the end, when you do find love – as I have – the journey is what prepares you to recognize that you have found something worth fighting for.  Something special.  Something that belongs in a song…

© 2010, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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