I’ve no beef with Adele, don’t get me wrong. She’s a great singer even if she does have the dulcet tones of a Dickensien street urchin when she talks. She’s also good banter from what I have seen on TV. She doesn’t take herself too seriously and seems very genuine. All very positive traits and her space away from the limelight while having baby speaks volumes for her character and her priorities; but Jesus that song is boring. It's the same old Adele, same old story of broken hearts with so much power behind the voice that the emotion is sometimes lost. I suspect she would be better live. I’m not here to talk about Adele however, I’m here to talk about Jolene.
I was listening to Jolene the other day on the way home. I love Dolly Parton, I love country music generally but Dolly is a hero. My personal favourites are ‘coat of many colours’ ( not to be confused with the tune from Joseph) and ‘why’d you come in here looking like that?’. The latter being a great country tune about a girl on heat. And why not? Girls like to go out and get some just as much as men do. So what’s my problem with Jolene?
‘Jolene, Jolene, Jolean Joleeeeeeeeen! I’m begging of you please don’t take my man’. The song starts off ok, there’s a girl who’s relationship is under threat from another woman. That’s fairly common in the world, I’m sure that Lizzy face will encounter this more than once in the future, so maybe Jolene is a threat, here is what we know about her:
‘Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain’ - wow, she sounds like a stunner to quote anchor man: ‘I’m very aroused!’
But here is my problem, after describing Jolene to us Dolly goes on to beg Jolene not to steal the man in question. We also hear that ‘he talks about [her] in his sleep’ and that she (Dolly) cries in the night because of this. Now all of a sudden, I found myself listening to this and thinking where is this woman's self respect? What a wet bag! And I began to imagine what I would say to Lizzy were she to come to me with this problem.
Here in this song we have a woman with a huge self esteem issue. ‘I cannot compete with you, Jolene’. She shouldn’t have to. Women everywhere should stop comparing themselves immediately, and this is what I hope to instil in Lizzyface - you are awesome as you are, and if you go around looking at other people and trying to find something they have that you wish you had you will inevitably find it, but your time would be better spent looking into yourself and seeing your own positives and dressing/acting/being whatever you want and fuck the rest of the world. The man is probably going to leave her for Jolene, not because Jo is any better but simply because she is more confident, more self assured and is not desperately worried that he will leave.
But since we’ve got there, lets talk about this man too. What a douch-bag he is. He’s crying out Jolene’s name in his sleep. Well in that case why is he stringing along our heroine? If he is into Jo he should leave Dozzer alone to get on with her life but more to the point our heroine should kick him out! If he is shouting out someone else's name, and making you worried he is going to leave then dude, life is too short. You should be with someone you know wants to be with you and likes all the parts of you, even the ones that you maybe struggle with yourself. I hope that Lizzy never comes to me and says that ‘There's nothing I can do to keep from crying when he calls [her] name’ not because it’s so terribly sad to be heartbroken, but because in this case I think the woman in question needs to drink some concrete, harden up and move on. Would Scary Spice put up with this shit? What about Germaine Greer? I don’t think so!
So here in Jolene we have the story of a woman with low self esteem and almost no self-respect, so desperate not to be alone that she will put up with listening to her man dream about another woman who is presumably hanging round and unfortunately making me feel like she probably deserves it for allowing her self to be treated this way.
How then, do I ensure that this is not the path Lizzyface ends up walking. Well I don’t know, and that’s the real worry. I hope that by showing her love at home we teach her that she has self worth and learns to tell the difference between real affection and manipulation. I hope that by having strong female role models in her life, like Fergotron, Mumseph, Mrs Johnstings for example, that she learns to stand up for herself and to be secure in her convictions and I hope that by showing her forgiveness and kindness she knows that she will always have a home to come to and we won’t judge her for her mistakes - which of course she will make. Our mistakes make us better and stronger, as much in love as in any other part of life. Lizzyface will inevitably feel heartbreak and it already breaks my heart to imagine. But hopefully, if I have done it right then she will take it on the chin, regroup and come back fighting and not lie back and live in an unhappy situation because it’s all she thinks she is worth.