There’s a line in one of the Bridget Jones movies…the second I think…where Bridget shares her view that unmarried men over 40 are either gay or so traumatised by their previous relationships that they never want to be with anyone ever again.
That thought popped into my head when I was listening to “Let Me In” by Skinny Living, which a friend had recommended to me.
“Let Me In” is a great song…with, if anything, and even greater video which we’ll get to in a moment.
But, like 95% plus of pop songs, it takes the perspective of a woman whose heart has been broken and a guy who’s trying to put it back together again.
That’s not to criticise a lovely song. But it made me think about what would happen if the heartbreak had been the other way around.
We know that on the average…I accept there are a reasonable number of exceptions to the rule…men aren’t great at dealing with their feelings at the best of times.
Although society has moved on a little in recent years, all too often little boys are taught not to show they’ve been hurt, physically or emotionally, in case people think they’re “soft”. They’re not allowed to cry. And they tend to have less emotional support in their lives.
They might have some blokes they hang around with at football matches or down the pub, but only rarely do they have someone in their life they can share their deepest emotions with.
I guess that’s why, in the end, they sometimes stop believing there’s a special person out there for them somewhere and just give up. They erect a wall to keep themselves safe and resolve not to let anyone in ever again.
That’s why Bridget Jones’ observation…like so many other things in those movies…appear to be just amusing throw-away lines on the surface, but they’re actually a very revealing perspective on life.
The reason that particular line from Bridget Jones popped into my head whilst listening to “Let Me In” is that often it’s men who put up that protective wall. They reckon if they don’t let anyone in, nobody else can hurt them like they’ve been hurt so many times before.
At one level, that’s right of course. But it’s also true that, although they’ve shut out the bad elements of life, they’ve shut out the good ones too.
You’ve got to be in a pretty bad place to decide that your odds of finding happiness are so slim that it isn’t worth the risk of having your heart broken for the umpteenth time.
Yet that’s a decision people make.
And…lest you think this is one of those odes to the perceived troubles of white, middle-class males whose difficulties are, on the average, considerably less than those faced by women, people with a different skin colour or religious beliefs or even white males from less-privileged backgrounds…of course people from every different creed, colour, gender and socioeconomic category make that decision every day too.
Which is where our song comes in.
“Let Me In” is by the Yorkshire band Skinny Living, which I must admit I hadn’t come across until my friend gave me a nudge in their direction.
I’m a sucker for songs about heartbreak, interesting lyrics and great videos, so “Let Me In” is right up my street.
There’s a nice touch in the lyrics. Rather than riding in on a white steed to save the damsel in distress, the guy in this song is telling the girl that he’s had the same experiences, so understands what she’s going through…
’Cause he left scars, I’m here to heal for you
And I know where you are, ’cause I’ve been there before
Plenty of men would sing the first of those lines. The second is much harder.
It requires the introspection to assess your own situation, at least relatively impartially. And it requires a degree of emotional confidence to share it with another human being.
Especially a lady you might be interested in who, society at large and your own personal experiences might have you believe, could be less than impressed at the sight of a man being anything other than emotionally rock-like and taking everything the world throws at him without complaint or showing any sign of weakness.
And yet he sees something and feels something that makes him want to keep going…
When I look in your eyes
I can see there’s something blooming
Bubbling up inside
Screaming to get out, yeah
But you’re too scared to let it
The past still ties you down
You’re struggling to breathe
It’s not that she doesn’t want to feel love anymore. In fact her feelings are “screaming to get out”.
It’s that events in the past have been too overwhelming. She’s frightened that, by letting her guard down, she’s just opening the door to more experiences exactly like the experiences which have hurt her so much in the past.
I’d love to be able to tell you that there’s an easy way to solve this problem. But there isn’t.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, it can get to the point where you only feel safe in your own little world and you don’t want to let anyone else join you in it.
That’s not a recipe for a happy life, but it is a recipe for making sure you’re never hurt again. And, as long as you can work out how to deal with the loneliness that inevitably follows your decision to shut out the good, as well as the bad, in your life, that can sometimes seem like a trade worth making.
If you’re in that situation, I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice. All I can say is that I understand your perspective.
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different results.
Maybe you’ve been through life rollercoaster of love too many times and you’re starting to feel that it’s insanity to expect the outcome to be anything other than more heartbreak to add to the mountains of heartbreak you’re already carrying around with you.
I only hope that one day the stars align in your favour somewhere and you give love just one more try.
It’ll take time. Emotional scars take a lot longer to heal than physical scars. And your path is likely to be littered with “one step forward, two steps back” moments.
But maybe, just maybe…like Bridget Jones…it will all work out for you in the end.
The video Skinny Living put out for “Let Me In” is one of the most powerful videos I’ve seen for ages.
It reminds me a little of Sia’s video for “Chandelier” where a dancer powerfully expresses the emotions in the song and there’s no sign of Sia anywhere…not even under one of her trademark wigs. (Video for that here on the off-chance that, with closing in fast on 2 billion YouTube views, you haven’t seen it yourself yet… https://youtu.be/2vjPBrBU-TM )
But not only does “Let Me In” feature a sublime dance performance, this time with both a male and female performer, the male dancer also signs the lyrics to the song as well.
Something deeply affected me about seeing emotions expressed in this way, in addition to the dancing itself and the soundtrack of a great song. I was quite emotional by the end of it.
Maybe there’s hope for me yet…
With a tremendous video and a great song, here’s Skinny Living with “Let Me In”…
The video is below, but if you prefer to listen to your music on Spotify, you can find today’s track here…https://open.spotify.com/track/2szkz6fOreck6Eh3fvGEnf