Songwriter Gerry Goffin died.
A woman I know tweeted, ‘he wrote with the heart and head of a girl’. Didn’t he just.
I don’t need to hear this song. The Carole King version. It’s in my head for all time.
What girl who grew up in the English-speaking world of the sixties or seventies doesn’t know it off by heart, I wonder?
Then, the pill had arrived but the underlying morality of the age was as slow to change as the proverbial tanker is to turn around. At least, so it seemed to me. But then, I was Catholic, educated at an all-girl secondary school run by nuns.
This morning, hearing a clip on the news, I was transported instantly to the corridor where our lockers were, standing with the flipped-up lid balanced on my head while I stashed records and books, sweets and gym kit.
The other side of the corridor was one of the six Marias in our class.
I could see something was wrong. Tears were rolling. Beside her, a girl we all knew to have ‘done it’ – many times with the same person – was standing next to her offering consolation.
Yes, Maria had done it. The boy had told her he loved her, that he would have to leave her if she didn’t.
You know the rest, don’t you?
It makes me wonder how the girls of today feel. Do they still want sex to be the signature of love? Do they want marriage, or a long-term partnership, when they give themselves completely, so sweetly?
We old ones read about the pressure of online porn, the vajazzles and Brazilians and – well I won’t go any further than that – we can all imagine.
And speaking as one who, before the days when images were hidden in email readers, once received pornographic images, unsolicited, that have burned themselves onto my brain forever, like the words of these tender, moving songs, I feel sad.
We’ve been watching the American TV programme ‘Two and a Half Men’. One of the men spends his life bedding women, drinking and writing jingles. How appropriate then for an insight into (what the scriptwriters see as) the way women think.
Three days is more or less his commitment limit. He ditches them, having bored himself by an excess of enthusiasm for the physical. And when we see their reactions, the women are more often than not upset, betrayed, let down. They were in it for love, or some kind of commitment.
I wonder how much things have changed, underneath all the razzle-dazzle and junk-sex?
I remember as a student climbing over the gate at my all-woman college after a late night. They locked the door at midnight in those days.
And I remember the first time I didn’t. I blame the platform shoes, they wouldn’t go through the railings.
I remember thinking – will he still love me tomorrow? But even more so, I remember thinking, do I still love me, now?
I hear Carole King, whether it’s ‘Natural woman’ or ‘You’ve got a friend’ or ‘Will you still love me tomorrow’ – and the softness of the pain is still there, the anxiety, the striving, the questing and soul-searching.
You may regret the passing of the thrill of the chase, the heady whirl of that fall into love – but think what else you ditch along with it.
Give me settled. Well, most of the time.
Who’d be a teenager?
Not I. Sigh.