Why Guys Secretly like Whitney Houston

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January 20, 2015 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

“Guys are just mutated, retarded chicks.”

-Louis C.K.

Last year I went out on a date with one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.  Why she gave me the time of day in the first place is still one of life’s greatest mysteries.  We went out to one of the bars on Long Island, and it must have been date night or something, because the only people at the bar were couples-Couples that had been together for years, couples just starting to dislike each other, and couples like us, trying to figure out if we liked each other enough to keep going out.

While we were knocking back drinks, trying to gauge if the other one was worth our time, I noticed that a song I secretly enjoy had just started.  That song was Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know”.  Now, as with anytime I hear a song that I like, my first instinct was to start singing out loud, but I realized that if I was trying to impress her, I probably shouldn’t start belting out “How Will I Know” on a first date.  To my surprise though, a drunken choir began to sing along, building to a crescendo as the song wore on.  This choir of inebriated angels was made up every drunk guy in the bar, singing “How Will I Know” at the top of their lungs, to their girlfriends, all the while these women shared a shocked, “what the fuck is this” expression on their faces.

Over the past year, I’ve been searching for a reason behind this phenomena, and I believe I’ve isolated a trend between guys and pop songs sung by DIVAS.  Tucked away beneath a façade of exaggerated masculinity and toughness lays a weird but sincere love of sappy, pop love songs written from the perspective of a woman, directed to her guy.  A lot of this is really just a vicarious embellishment of everything we want a woman to say or feel about us.  Whatever kind of poppy love songs a guy secretly likes is indicative of an idealized version of what he wants in love.  It’s fucked up, believe me, I know.  As in “How Will I Know”, we want to know that they spend their time thinking about us, or wondering how we feel about them.  It’s egotistical, and childish, but I’m pretty sure the same applies for women as well.  It’s probably the same reason why my sister loves “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”.

Whenever I’m going out with someone, or even blindly smitten, I listen to an obscene amount of Madonna.  It’s the only time I’m capable of digesting her music.  When I’m single I don’t listen to Madonna at all, but when I’m seeing someone, the switch is flicked, and I wear out True Blue and Like a Prayer.  During my junior year of college, which was really the first time that I began to go out on dates regularly, I’d spend most Thursdays playing MVP Baseball 2005, while eating taco bell and blasting The Immaculate Collection from my room.[1]  The one song that got the most replays was, by far, “Open Your Heart”.  At first, I had no idea what to make of this until I realized that back in 1986, my dad bought a copy of True Blue on vinyl.

I slowly started to realize that this wasn’t a hereditary trait though.  When one of my friends started going out with his girlfriend, I more than once overheard him singing Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” to himself.[2]  One guy on my floor freshmen year of college would listen to Lady Gaga after sex.  For one friend in college, it was Katy Perry, for another it was Janet Jackson, specifically “Love Will Never Do without You”.  Then, a few months ago I saw some guy in his car blasting “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul, all the while the woman in the passenger seat wore a bewildered look on her face.  Even looking back on it, one of my friends from high school all of the sudden became a huge Taylor Swift fan when he had his first serious girlfriend; naturally enough he stopped listening to T-Swift once they broke up.

It’s unsettling enough to hear a drunk guy sing “Beast of Burden” amidst a stream of tears, but it’s even weirder to hear a guy sing “Superbass” with a manic glee in his eye after he just kissed the girl of his dreams.  Every guy has a song or set of songs that when they come up on the radio as they’re driving, the windows quickly roll back up and the volume gets turned down and they whisper along hoping that no one will see them.  Getting caught jerking off would be far less embarrassing than getting caught listening to Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From”.

Ultimately, what these songs convey, are feelings that, however exaggerated, we want to either inspire or have a woman feel about us.  That’s really the truth.  One guy might want to be some girls’ summer boy, another might want to make her heart beat like an 808 drum, and yet another might just want to see her care.  Because most guys aren’t equipped to deal with these feelings we automatically turn to these silly pop songs to express it for us since we can’t do it ourselves.

Last weekend I went out to that very same bar I took that woman out to one year ago.  This time I was out with some friends and instead of hearing “How Will I Know”, they were playing Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth”.  Once again, the only people singing were the guys in the bar.  This time around I went with my gut instinct and started singing along with about 16 strangers.  Why not?  I didn’t have anyone to impress.


[1] That sounds much sadder than it actually was.

[2] Drunkenly of course.  The only way your friends find out about this is when you drunkenly talk about girls that you actually care for…scary shit man.

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