Girl groups: I recently mentioned them!
This song is notable for being the first song by an all-girl group to reach #1 in the United States. (Just think of the many all-girl groups that have come along since then! And what we would do without them! Our worlds would be so much darker.)
It was also written by Carole King when she was about eighteen years old, which if that doesn't make you love her I just don't know what will.
(Previous Carole King: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman)
It's also one of my personal favorite songs, now and forever, and like all such things I find it has a new meaning when I return to it each time.
As I get older I find myself thinking more and more about how people (taken in general) tend to make life so much more complicated than it really has to be. Perhaps because as I get older I find myself facing more and more of the emotionally complicated moments of life.
These experiences have led me to believe that, when I do occasionally get a break from complicated concerns, I should spend that time experiencing things I find to be simple, beautiful, and good. With people I find to be beautiful and good. (But never simple.)
When I was younger and I loved this song, I assumed the question of the title referred to sex. As in, if we do it, will you throw me away afterwards? Which is a natural thing to assume of this song considering the sexual politics of the time when it was released, but I now think it's much more about love.
I don't want to spend my time wondering whether or not someone loves me. There are just better things in this life to wonder about. Like that baby walruses need to be snuggled to grow up into healthy adult walruses, or that Stephen Hawking seems to 100% think there is intelligent alien life out there.
That's why I love that line, "tell me now and I won't ask again," because it says to me something that I really do believe to be true about loving relationships: that they can sustain an honest question and an honest answer, and that that is the foundation on which the rest of it is built. Trust, I guess you could call it. But a trust in constancy. A trust that not too much will be different when you wake up in the morning.
As someone who has done my time in dysfunctional relationships of all sorts, I know that the food of dysfunction is inconstancy. Push me-pull you, you never know which side of them you're getting, etc etc etc. And this is supposed to be exciting and interesting but as everyone who has experienced it knows all too well, it stops being exciting and interesting and starts being incredibly painful pretty much as soon as you are totally hooked by it.
That's why I love the confidence of the (very) young woman represented by this song. That mixture of toughness and vulnerability, I think, gets access to some of the innermost truths of the human soul.
Plus, it's catchy! And that combination -- true and fun -- is why I consider myself to be a forevermore devotee of the Universal Life Church of Popular Music.
Come let us worship together.
The song: The Shirelles, "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; 1960