For some reason, October always makes me think of John Lennon. He isn’t my favorite Beatle (that’s George) but he’s the one whose birthday I remember. So, here’s something I wrote a good while back and then rewrote two years ago for Rose’s talent show birthday party. Warning: It’s longer than the average post so don’t click after the jump unless you’ve got a few minutes.
Paul, John, George and Ringo. The world’s most successful boy band, The Beatles, have influenced our fashions, our politics, our media, as well as our music. Is it possible that they could’ve influenced our choices in love as well? After a twenty-five year experiment of my own relationships, I’d come up with a theory. I tossed my conclusions down on the table for discussion one night. My friends were skeptical.
“The Paul Stage,” I started, “cute boys. Think the early love years. Puppy love. Non-threatening. Round faces.” I remembered my first crush, with his apple red cheeks and large brown eyes. The girls sighed as they traded stories about their own early loves. Large eyes and a mop of unruly hair seemed to be the common factors. “Paul maybe,” Carole argued, “but Ringo? He’s funny looking. Maybe I’ve been stuck in the Paul stage my whole life!” No, I argued, the Ringo stage was next. In fact, sometimes it even came first.
Ringos were the funny guys, the odd guys, the guys you hung out with, the best friends you should’ve dated, the ones you wish you knew now. Ringo was the guy who pulled your hair in gym class or snapped your bra or moved his paper so you could copy his answers to the pop quiz in geometry. If Paul was the guy you mooned over, Ringo was the guy who listened to you talk about it every night. When you run into him on the street later, when you’re thirty maybe, he looks good, better than you remember. He’s married now and he gushes about how great it is. He confesses he had a crush on you and, you tell him, you guess you had a crush on him too. The girls remember the guys that got away. Maybe it’s the drinks, but my crazy theory is starting to ring true.
In college you find your John. Perhaps you meet him in the library or he’s campaigning to save the whales. He explains Greenpeace and urges you to vote or protest. He’s smart. He aces midterms without studying and writes poetry. He breaks your heart and can’t be tamed. He has long hair and speaks fluent French and his enthusiasm for life is boundless. Once, he let you win at pool and he showed you how to play quarters, flipping the coins into the shot glasses with ease. He’s the memory that never quite fades…and he always leaves.
“Oh, that’s ridiculous,” Alice, ever practical, gives me a look. “John is every guy you’ve ever gone out with.” “Every guy I used to go out with,” I correct her. “And Teddy is so different?” Alice remembers that Teddy, my current favorite has a vast vocabulary and does the crossword puzzles in ink. “Teddy,” I retort, “is my George.” The girls laugh. “George? He’s nothing like George.” “For me,” I say thoughtfully, “he’s George.”
George, I explain, is the guy you finally get to. He’s his own guy, he lives by his own rules, stands on his own two feet and is often a little elusive because he’s a guy who sometimes needs his own space. He does his own thing and is unafraid to be who he is, even if it’s not popular. He doesn’t care about everyone else’s opinion, just yours — and he cares about that a lot, even if he doesn’t always tell you. The rebel who wants to settle down. The guy who surprises everyone. Not that he isn’t cute. Or funny. Teddy’s those things. But he’s definitely quirky. Which is okay, because he’s okay with being quirky, with being a little George. But maybe, and I concede this to Alice, who wants to see how I’m going to wriggle out of this one, he’s also a little bit Paul, a little bit Ringo, and a little bit John. My own personal one man boy band. After all, I loved all The Beatles, not just one.
Image: Harry Benson