Some mornings just start so nicely, you just awake in a good mood, there’s no barking from the dog, no smog, a breakfast with no hog, er wait, I like bacon. The point is everything in the world just feels right. Then you get into the elevator at work and the lingering aroma from the last occupant assaults your nostrils and sends the day down a whole new awful direction.
The weird thing is the smell wasn’t a fart, or a rotting corpse, or some other foul rancid odor. The scent that set me off was the fragrance of some, I’m presuming, woman’s perfume. Now for the most part I love the way women smell, usually they smell so pretty. This particular morning the perfume wafting through the tiny compartment was that of a cocoanut persuasion. It smelled like a goddamned pina colada in that elevator. Now I’m not against pina coladas, but if given options I wouldn’t drink one. But that is not where the problem lies. The problem comes from Rupert Holmes and his asstacular song “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”
“Escape” is the song that starts, “If you like pina coladas.” If you need more you can find the lyrics here (and if you’re some kind of masochist, you can hear it here). And as soon as I thought “pina coladas” I immediately started singing this song in my head. And like the stink loitering in the elevator, this damn song wouldn’t leave my head. Eight long work hours made all the more miserable by a soundtrack with one song stuck on repeat.
But I as this played over and over and I contemplated who has the best office in which I could hang myself, I started thinking more about the story the song tells and just how messed up it is. If you hadn’t heard the song, or have only heard the part that ends up in movies (like Dirty Work for the bar fight. Man I love Chris Farley yelling G-SEVOOON, only to be told he pressed G-8 and the surprised look on his face. I should totally turn off Can’t Hardly Wait and watch that instead), and were smart enough to not look at the lyrics, here’s the run down.
In the first verse, the first line no less, the dude informs us how he’s basically done in his relationship. His words exactly, “I was tired of my lady.” His immediate solution? Search the personal ads, in bed, while she sleeps next to him. This seems a bit cold hearted, and a little ballsy. I don’t know if I could ever do that, I can’t pull myself to search other jobs on my lunch break at work without feeling guilty.
Then he goes on to find this ad about liking pina coladas and all these other fairly feminine things. Real quick can I ask for some female feedback? Ladies, do you want a man who likes to drink something as fruity as or fruitier than you normally drink? Seriously, if your man came in and declared he was no longer going to drink whiskey, gin or beer but solely sticking to cosmos, appletinis, and pina coladas, what would you say? Are fruity drinks a quality women enjoy in a man? If you’re using pina coladas as your main lure, you are searching for a very specific man and you’re chances of fining such a person are extremely slim. Maybe don’t start with that, mention it later.
But apparently this tactic worked for whoever placed the ad, as our narrator was totally into. He decides to hell with his old lady, after all they are in the “same old dull routine.” Sensible reason to answer a personal ad while you’re still in a relationship and she is asleep next to you in the bed. Another thing that bothers me about this verse, this whole narrative sounds like it is happening as we are hearing it, but he pauses to tell us he didn’t think about his lady, but if that were so then why is there this part about not thinking about her and the routine you have fallen into? How can you talk about something you didn’t even think of? Seriously, right now tell me about something you’re not thinking about. You can’t do it!
Let’s move on before I really snap.
So we get to hear his reply, informing us that he does indeed like pina coladas. I guess I owe an apology to the initial ad writer. Her straight forward approach on odd booze choice paid off. He then tells us about other things he likes and doesn’t like, and how he wants to meet her tomorrow by noon and “cut through all this red-tape,” um, what red-tape is there. Also this is a newspaper ad, when exactly is tomorrow going to be?
Let’s break this down. We know his lady is asleep in the bed, so it can be safe to assume it is night time when he writes his response. Additionally this is pre-internet, so he’s not writing an email. This means he either has to mail his response or physically take it to the newspaper offices, both of which would have to be done the next day. Now I don’t know exactly how newspapers work and I’m sure different ones have different standards, but best case scenario the ad wouldn’t make it to the masses for at least one more day. So the “tomorrow” he writes is at least three days from when he writes that. Did he take that into consideration? Again that is the best case scenario. He may have no idea when the ad goes to print. Is he just going to hang out at the same bar everyday at noon until his mystery date arrives? This seems like a hard way to date, especially when you have a girl, and could probably easily fix that relationship with communication.
Back to the song.
Well they both managed to figure out which day they would both be at the designated bar and he spotted her as soon as she walked in. Here’s the big reveal, the shock of the song, it’s his lady, the one who feel asleep at the start of the song. Oh, sorry, there maybe should have been a spoiler alert there, but if you’re really upset that I ruined it for you, then you are someone I don’t want to know. They quickly realize it was each other in the ads and have a good laugh and chat about learning knew things about each other. And their relationship is now all better.
What. The. Fuck?
I think this song wants to be a semi-sweet love story, and it is until you think about it. I have a hard time believing that last verse would have played out that way. That’s the scenario that would play out as the mega happy ending. Let’s look at a few other possible endings.
If this were a sitcom, both parties would lie. Each making up some excuse as to what they are doing at the bar only to see the lie slowly untangle and finally blow up in everyone’s face. Then we are fed some cliché shit about telling the truth, then a stupid joke is made while everyone laughs and the screen freezes, then the credits role. Only to see the same thing happen, but with some details altered, in the very next episode.
In the how it should have gone down version, these people would not have pussy footed around the short comings of their partner and either A) ended the relationship proper-like, or B) worked it out. Now remember, she was the one who wrote the first ad, so neither one of these people were happy in the current state. I feel at one point one of them would snap and a shouting match would ensue. Then she would go to her mother’s, who never really liked him anyway, and the wedge would be driven further. Then he sleeps with the copy girl, because they were on a break.
Or we can go with one of the first thoughts I had was that she had set this whole thing up in an effort to spice up the relationship (remember I spent eight hours thinking about this stupid song). But in order for this to be the case there is a lot of ground work as well as luck involved in the execution. So she formulates this plan of putting an ad in the personals. Then she has to turn the relationship sour, forcing him to seek companionship elsewhere. Then hope and pray he seeks this companionship in the personal ads. Like seriously what are the chances he would go there? Furthermore, and back to a point I made earlier, why start with the pina coladas? As we learn at the end, neither had any idea the other liked the cocoanut flavored concoction. This really was a big gamble on her part, but it paid off. But like I said this is speculation on my part and all things considered probably not the case.
But here is what I think would have really happened.
She walks into the bar; he spots her and quickly hides. After some time he realizes why she’s there (read: he knows she wrote the ad). He decides to confront her. She tells him not to make a scene. A scene ensues. There’s yelling, and crying, and people are staring. What seems like a good love song turns into an emotional outburst and ultimate demise of the relationship. Also because these people had such a bad experience with personal ads that won’t be trying it again and will probably end up alone and sad, crying into their pina coladas.
Final summation: no one likes pina coladas, they only lead to heartache. So, Rupert Holmes, take your pina colada, and your stupid fucking song, and go fist a wolverine.
See ya in a well vented elevator…
30 Sep 2010 Lee S. Hart