‘I was born to make you happy’ and other songs that destroy young minds

It was sometime during my freshman year in high school when I knew – I just knew – what my first “real” boyfriend would look like (major apologies to all the fake ones out there). He would be white, obviously. Tall, with slightly unkempt hair, a strong jawline and a single dimple. When stressed, I would be able to see his jaw muscle twitch and tighten in a manly, pensive way.

It would be mandatory for all of his shirts to be 1. button downs and 2. strategically unbuttoned to reveal massive pectorals, his sternum, and a long but tasteful gold chain that subtly emphasized both his masculinity and sensitivity. And there would be linen. Lots of linen, mostly in the form of pants that would lightly skim his bare feet and highlight impeccable toenail hygiene.

And of course, our love story would culminate in some sort of dramatic hostage situation involving Albanians who want to keep us apart because of some cruel twisted historical event that had something to do with one of our ancestors stealing a priceless heirloom and taking it back to the Mongolian Empire for safekeeping back in the year 1250.

And his name would be Chad. Yes, it was gonna be a great day when Chad and I starting dating.

Thanks to the era of boy bands and pop stars (shame, Britney and BSB), I picked up some of those unhealthy notions about true love and dating back in the 90s. Here are some of the songs I listened to on my Kenwood CD player circa ~1999:

1. I Was Born To Make You Happy – Britney

I don’t know how to live without your love
I was born to make you happy

‘Cause you’re the only one within my heart
I was born to make you happy
Always and forever you and me
That’s the way our life should be
I don’t know how to live without your love
I was born to make you happy

These lyrics remind me of that crazy astronaut Lisa Nowak, who drove cross country in an adult diaper with plans to *talk* (translation: bludgeon to death) to her romantic arch nemesis. Telling teenage girls brimming with estrogen to live for that tater-tot eating, geometry-challenged football jock that can’t read sounds like a pretty good idea.

2. Email My Heart – Britney, again.

It’s been hours seems like days, since you went away,
And all I do is check the screen to see if you’re ok.
You don’t answer when I phone, guess you wanna be left alone.
So I’m sending my heart, my soul, and this is what I’ll say:

[CHORUS]
I’m sorry, oh so sorry, can’t you give me one more chance to make it all up to you.
E-mail my heart and say our love will never die
and that I know you’re out there and I know that you still care.
Email me back and say our love will stay alive.
Forever, Email my heart.

Pros: This scenario is frighteningly accurate, and gives a nod to the beginning of the internet era. I can hear the screeching of the AOL dial up right now.

Cons: The only thing more pathetic than being a crazy stalker is being a crazy online stalker (man up, you weirdos). I know this because I am one. If you weren’t aware, the concept for To Catch a Predator was born the minute this song was released. Chris Hansen, you can thank Britney now.

3. I Wanna Love You Forever – Jessica Simpson

I wanna love you forever
And this is all I’m asking of you
10,000 lifetimes together
Is that so much for you to do?

I don’t know about you, but I think Jessica Simpson may be the poster child for unrealistically high expectations.

4. I Need You Tonight – Backstreet Boys

I need you tonight
I need you right now
I know deep within my heart
It doesn’t matter if it’s wrong or right
I really need you tonight

Pretty sure this song is on the soundtrack for all those weird teacher-student sex scandals specials you see on TV.

5. As Long As You Love Me – Backstreet Boys

I don’t care who you are
Where you’re from
What you did
As long as you love me

This is false. What if that person’s favorite movie of all time is Gigli? This is the IMDB synopsis of Gigli: The violent story about how a criminal lesbian, a tough-guy hit-man with a heart of gold, and a retarded man came to be best friends through a hostage. WTF.

And there we have it. 5 songs that will turn you and your impressionable offspring into blubbering, lovesick, psychopaths.

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