Day 27: Listening to “Someone To Watch Over Me” at home while it’s raining outside is BTS

Aside from being a closet virgin, I need to come out as a sentimental schmuck. I bawl my eyes out at the corniest things, often costing me, among other things, a potential lay. After dinner at a Thai resto in the UES once, my date and I went back to his apartment and popped in a DVD of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”. While I was able to affect a slightly-bored-with-a-suggestion-of-come-hither expression, I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably at the climactic scene where Steve Carrell almost gets run over by a truck and Catherine Keener runs after him and they profess their love to each other. Only the stone-hearted would not be moved by such a moment and my date, it turns out, was a feisty young Gestapo.

Still, there is something to be said about fixtures of pop culture designed to indulge our inner romantics, whether movies, books or songs. For the longest time, I’ve balked at jazz standards convinced that they’re Jukebox relics from the Jurassic era and, at best, simplistic and naive. Until a few years back, when “Before Sunset” introduced me to Nina Simone and, two summers ago, I sat enthralled on my picnic mat in Bryant Park as Lauren Bacall instructs Bogey, her growl one of raspy seduction, in “To Have and Have Not”: “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together – and blow.” And with that legendary blow, one of the greatest romances, on-screen and off, was born. It might be tricky to argue that these are part of pop culture, since they’re practically artifacts of a bygone – loftier, more dignified – era but the tenets of love and romance they lived by continue to ring true. How the whole affair is a feverish melange of euphoria and loneliness, bliss and pain, redemption and devastation. When you hear Frank Sinatra sing “Someday, when I’m awfully low and the world is cold, I will feel aglow just thinking of you and the way you look tonight,” you believe every word. It was a time without irony and romance involved games that had as much of the playfulness and as little of the malice and neurosis. 

Listening to a staple of the Great American Songbook, George Gershwin’s “Someone To Watch Over Me”, which was written back in the roaring twenties, I’m astonished that a ballad about a flapper looking for love in the big city can speak to somebody like me today. It’s daunting and terrifying to want to find someone who will be your rock and anchor in a city of 8 million people, all of them practically strangers. The thought of going out there in search of that is nothing short of paralyzing. At any rate, I’ve always been the type to romanticize being single; this song makes all the melancholy and heartbreak worth the price of admission. It’s a welcome little comfort in the land of romantic uncertainty. 

Tomorrow I’ll be heading for Boston and Provincetown  to spend the Fourth of July weekend with my friend A.T. I’m wont to think that this song speaks to me like today’s fortune cookie.  There’s an earnest and openhearted core to it that eggs me on to “seek” and maybe there’s somebody I might just “find” in my weekend adventure.  

There’s a saying old, says that love is blind

Still we’re often told, seek and ye shall find

So I’m going to seek a certain lad I’ve had in mind


Looking everywhere, haven’t found him yet

He’s the big affair I cannot forget

Only man I ever think of with regret


I’d like to add his initial to my monogram

Tell me, where is the shepherd for this lost lamb?


Theres a somebody I’m longing to see

I hope that he, turns out to be

Someone who’ll watch over me


I’m a little lamb whos lost in the wood

I know I could always be good

To one who’ll watch over me


Although he may not be the man some

Girls think of as handsome

To my heart he carries the key


Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed

Follow my lead, oh, how I need

Someone to watch over me




Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed

Follow my lead, oh, how I need

Someone to watch over me


Someone to watch over me


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