“Taylor Swift?” you may be saying to yourself right now. "I’m supposed to be taking dating advice from Taylor Swift, pop star? And also, isn’t she only 15? Or 22, or something? And also, doesn’t she only date boy banders and jazz-fusion guitarists and teenaged members of the Kennedy family? What insights could she possibly have into my own love life, which includes zero Kennedys, and only ever involves a jazz-fusion guitarist when I fail to read someone's OkCupid profile closely enough?"
Fair enough points all around, gentle reader. As much as Taylor Swift is presented as a Real Girl who just enjoys a Diet Coke and some online shopping like the rest of us, Swift is indeed a bajillionaire pop star who appears in movies, bangs famous dudes, and somehow comes out of the gym looking like she just spent an hour getting a paraffin manicure and a nice blowout.
And yet! Even though Swift’s love life is high profile
enough that we know her songs are about other celebs, and not Tim, the Paralegal Who Wouldn’t Commit, there’s
something deeply real and relatable about her attitude towards dating and love,
and has been from her first moments in the public eye.
From 2008’s breakthrough album Fearless up through today, Swift has
lyrically (and publicly) gone through a change that is familiar to many of us — the transformation from a starry-eyed teenage virgin, dreaming of being swept off
her feet, to a pragmatic, sass-mouthed, and frankly exhausted woman putting in her
years on the dating scene, relying
on her besties
to help her get through a world of bullshit and bullshitters.
In fact, one could easily argue that she’s so damned popular because, despite being rich and famous, she doesn’t speak in bland pop platitudes; Taylor Swift would never tell you to do something as ridiculously vague as “roar.” Taylor Swift offers specific and detailed instructions for all of love’s thrills and disappointments. She is like your one friend who always has a Band-Aid and an extra hair tie in her bag and something perfectly mean to say about every dude who has ever dumped you. She just knows exactly what to do.
So, in honor of her upcoming album 1989 and new single "Shake It Off," here are seven pieces of
dating advice from Taylor Swift songs that even a grown-ass, non-pop-star lady
such as yourself can use.
1. "FOREVER AND ALWAYS"
“Oh, I stare at the phone/ He still hasn't called/ And then
you feel so low/ You can't feel nothing at all/ And you flashback to when we said forever and always.../ You didn't mean it,
Lesson: Getting burned by love hurts. But it hurts the worst when a once-serious, now-bored partner tries to pull the fadeaway, even
though you’ve been dating for, like, two years. But chin up! This
happens to everyone. EVERYONE! We have all stared at that phone, willing it to do
something to prove that our ex is thinking of us, and it has never worked out. And we’ve all grown from it, and moved on. And so will you! But feel free to wallow now. It's character-building.
2. "WHITE HORSE"
“And there you are on your knees/ Begging for forgiveness,
begging for me/ Just like I always wanted but I'm so sorry/ Cause I'm not your princess, this ain't a
fairytale... Now it's too late for you and your white horse to catch me now”
Lesson: And when that fucker comes back, begging for a second chance, show them (and any wildlife they may have brought with them) the door.
3. "SPARKS FLY"
Lesson: If you’re lucky enough in this life to find someone that
you have BANANAS sexual chemistry with, try to roll with it and see what
happens, even if they’re a "bad idea" (we’ll assume here that Taylor is
referring to the kind of guy who’s a bad idea because he’s a heartbreaker, not
the kind who’s a bad idea because he’s selling meth out behind the Taco
Bell). You can brush yourself off later, and be glad for the experience overall.
4. "DEAR JOHN"
Lesson: There’s a variation on the old “I can change him!” trope, where you see a troubled guy who has left a bunch of emotionally ravaged women in his wake, and you convince yourself that the problem must have been them. You think you’re stronger, smarter, sexier than they were, and this guy just seems so appealing; they must have not been enough of a match for him. But you are! But in the end, you’re not. You should pay close attention when someone tells you that all their exes are “nuts,” or that the other girls they’ve been with didn’t understand them. Because the problem is probably them.
Also, don’t date John Mayer.
5. "WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER"
“So he calls me up and he's like, ‘I still love you’/And
I'm like... I just... I mean this is exhausting”
Lesson: The break-up/make-up cycle runs you down emotionally, and rarely actually leads to anything worthwhile. Instead of wasting time with some dillweed who can’t make up their mind, have a party with your weird friends who wear animal pajamas and play keytars. They’re always so supportive, and they love your new bangs!
6. "BEGIN AGAIN"
"And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid/ I
think it's strange that you think I'm funny 'cause he never did/ I've been
spending the last eight months/ Thinking all love ever does is break and burn
and end/ But on a Wednesday in a cafe I watched it begin again”
Lesson: Every time you think that you have finally given up on love,
or that it is never ever going to work out for you, or that you’re permanently flawed and
every shitty thing your ex said to you was right and you should just give up and retreat to a solitary life of mountain hermitry, you get another chance. There’s
always another chance. Love’s a pretty wild fucking ride, man. Can you even believe it sometimes? So hold on to hope. I know it sounds cheesy, but you have to.
7. "SHAKE IT OFF"
“I go on too many dates/ But I can't make them stay/ At
least that's what people say/ That's what people say/ But I keep cruising”
Lesson: Eventually, we all hit a point where we are no longer able to give any kind of shit whatsoever about what anyone thinks about our love lives (especially when said commentary comes from exes, fake friends, and other assorted jerkos). And what a great thing that is! It makes dating, and life, and just getting up in the morning so much easier. So celebrate your lack of ability to give a shit by doing a jaunty little dance, too. You've earned it!Images: Giphy (10), eonline.com, justjared.com, take40.com