My song today is ‘Look What You’ve Done’ which was recorded by the group Bread.
A Facebook friend of mine recently used one of her late mother’s descriptions that accurately fitted my overall behaviour during my romantic late teenage years. She said, that her mother would have called me a ‘Jack the lad’. I would have to acknowledge that my friend’s mum would not have been far wrong in so describing me during my late teenage years.
I genuinely believed my behaviour at the time (in respect to the many young women I dated) was honest and above board, but with wiser reflection over the passing of the years, I would have to say today that I was living in a dream world. Though I always tried to do the right thing, just because I was 100 per cent honest in what I told them at the commencement of any courtship with me, it did not always turn out to be as uncomplicated for them as it was for me and what I had wished it to be. We are all different when it comes to understandings, agreements and contracts. Most of us do not read the small print and tend to go with the headline.
Allow me to explain. My greatest weakness as a teenager was that I 'fell in love' with every beautiful young woman I dated at the drop of a hat. The year was 1960 and I was an attractive and presentable catch for any young woman who wanted to meet and marry a respectable young man who would prove to be a faithful husband, a loving father to their children and a good family provider. Without sounding sexist, this was the prime ambition of most young women from working-class homes at that time; to be married to a decent man by the age of 21 years and to have had a couple of children before they were 25 years of age while they lived happily in their marital abode. It was also the general expectation of many young men whose horizons were often limited to joining the list of the newlyweds by the age of 21 years, or enlisting in the Army! From the Victorian era up to the 1960s, the vast majority of young men were born and died within a 10-mile radius and often had their Christening and funeral service conducted within the same parish church.
When I was 11 years old, I was the victim of a serious traffic accident which was to have a great impact on my life thereafter. Because of this bad accident, I was awarded a sizable sum of compensation which I would receive when I was 21 years old. I was also a good singer at the time and had even been presented with the opportunity to earn some good money on the Northern Working Men’s Club circuit at the age of twenty.
However, believing that I was the best ballad singer and crooner in the country at the time, I planned to do the two things I most wanted to do when I attained my age of majority, and in another country. First, I would emigrate to Canada, become a professional singer, and be instantly recognised as an international star in the making. Second, was my ambition to travel around Canada and parts of the United States. This dream had been my only dream since the age of 16 years, and my compensation money would act as a financial safety net and make it possible for me to pursue.
Between the ages of 18-21 years, although I felt invincible to all challenges that I faced, I did have an 'Achilles’ Heel'. I was at my most vulnerable where the beautiful young women I dated were concerned. Given the times I then lived in, it was extremely difficult for me to carry on falling in love at a frequency that made me a dead certainty to eventually come undone. I wanted regular female company and I needed frequent female physical contact. After all, I was an 18-year-old chap with too much testosterone to carry around in my 'sac' for three years longer without occasionally lightening my load.
The thing was, it was not just love making I needed. I needed to find the right young woman to 'fall in love' with, and to feel those emotions that only ‘falling in love’ bring. Strange though it may seem, but ‘falling in love’ was more important to me than ‘being in love’, as the former made me ‘feel good’ while the latter placed too many restrictions on my freedom and made me ‘feel responsible’. Looking back now, I can see that I was a female hunter who loved the chase more than the kill.
In fairness to myself, I never acted intentionally dishonesty with my dates at the start of a relationship or made it feel like a rejection when ending it, as I always remained on friendly terms with my ex’s.
The answer that I found to my romantic dilemma was to be able to ‘fall in love’ with lots of different young women without any possible marriage expectations or emotional involvement being a part of our understanding. ‘So, whilst ‘falling in love’ was fine, ‘being in love’ threw a spanner in the works of my long term plans to remain a bachelor until I was thirty and to travel and sing my way around Canada and America. I decided that if I changed my girlfriend every month, I would always have a dancing partner. So, I continued to experience the joy and benefits of ‘falling in love’ by paradoxically ‘falling out of love’ about one month into the relationship; thereby clearing the way for me to ‘fall in love again’ with whichever new girlfriend I was now dating.
I found that despite my honesty at the very start of any courtship, and declaring my clear intentions to remain a bachelor until I was thirty, it did not always work out to our mutual satisfaction. I was not always able to stop the young woman who I had been dating becoming emotionally involved with me. You see, while I had been happy to leave my physical tap open, but my emotional tap firmly closed, my date would not /could not always stop herself opening her emotional tap.
When I first heard today’s song that I sing, the very first few lines reminded me of what I’d been doing in my late teens in respect of my ‘courtship contracts’ and 'understandings' I thought I’d arrived at with my dates. Today's song says it all:
“You have taken the heart of me and left just a part of me,
Look! Look! Look what you’ve done!
You have taken the best of me
Now come get the rest of me
Look back, finish what you've begun."
And that summed up my behaviour in a nutshell; I started but never properly finished what I'd begun.
Love and peace Bill xxx