Months ago, while on a Whitney Houston kick, a song that I’ve loved for as long as I remember came on. But after the first few strains of music, the lyrics caught my attention.
A few stolen moments is all that we shared/You’ve got your family and they need you there.
And that’s when I realized that “Saving All My Love For You” was about adultery.
It just isn’t really something you notice as a kid. You don’t know why these two people can’t be together and why her friends are telling her to find someone new. You just know that there is a catchy melody and your parents’ friends enjoy it when you sing it on karaoke.
(Mind you, this is coming from a girl whose favorite song was Boys II Men’s “I’ll Make Love You” when she was 6 years old.)
A little research on this song (Google/Wikipedia) provided this description: “This jazzy ballad is about a love affair with a married man, and the singer is saving all her love for him.”
I was telling friend Mackenzie about how my blind love for the song was akin to my adoration for 98 Degrees’ “The Hardest Thing,” a song that I contend is probably the worst possible ballad to have dedicated to you. Then I came to another realization.
These two songs could easily be about the same love affair.
Our protagonist is obviously from Whitney’s song. She falls head over heels for this guy who turned out to be married. And, despite everything, she can’t let it go. They’re meeting up tonight to talk it over… and maybe a little more:
‘Cause tonight, is the night for feeling all right/We’ll be making love the whole night through/So I’m saving all my love/Yes, I’m saving all my love/Yes, I’m saving all my love for you.
But, as we learn from the man in “The Hardest Thing,” what she doesn’t realize is that the guy is breaking it off with her tonight out of the obligation he feels to his wife:
I’ve made up my mind/There is no turning back/She’s been good to me/And she deserves better than that.
He compares leaving her to the love affair in “Doctor Zhivago,” another man who walked away from the woman he truly loves (though if you have seen the movie, you know that this comparison is unreasonable, given that there are probably no communists in his life and no on is dying because of Stalin).
But why would a man leave the woman he truly loves? It can’t just be honor, can it?
We find the answer to that in the third piece of the puzzle, Monica’s “Sideline Ho,” which so eloquently begins, “You’s a ho, You’s a ho.” This lady, wife of the man from “Hardest Thing,” isn’t giving up her husband, no matter what.
She reaches out to the woman from “Saving All My Love” and lays down the law:
Get your shit together/You’re making a fool of yourself/It don’t matter if he spends the night/His home is somewhere else.
1. Listen more closely to lyrics.
2. You can make a story out of anything.