I find myself in public places pretty frequently – grocery stores, thrift stores, bars. Most of these places tend to put on play lists that cater to the most middle of the road, white, pop-rock’n’roll musical palates, which is fine. There’s a lot of KFOG playing at these places, and recently I’ve noticed this one fairly grating pop song that always seems to seep into my head and latch on. I don’t know who it’s by (because I don’t care) but the hook is, “I like that you’re broken, broken like me, maybe that makes me a fool.” It’s catchy in a child like, sing-songy kinda way, and I must admit that I kinda hate that line. There’s nothing inherently offensive about it – when I think about it in a cursory way, I guess there’s something endearing about the underlying sentiment. Maybe we should all just admit that everyone’s flawed, and there’s comfort in that mutual admission. But at the same time, I somewhat resent it because, in its simplicity, the line lends itself to a different interpretation, namely: maybe you should just settle despite the red flags. I know that’s a cynical way to look at things, but after 31 years of being a woman, I tend to hear the dog whistle that tells women to short sell themselves, to have low self esteem, and to accept a place in life that is less than they deserve. Sure, sure, maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I can’t help but be wary of an oversimplified line that could blow in either direction. I think that’s what I dislike so much about this drug store song – it lacks conviction, it lacks depth, it lacks commitment to its underlying philosophy. Sure, I’d like to think that this song is about being forgiving with people because we need forgiveness ourselves, but…where’s the fucking meat? It’s just so tawdry. I can’t sink my teeth into this song, so whenever it comes on, I immediately bust out the side eye and start looking around to see who is being subliminally indoctrinated into less than best because of the hook on a song. I mean – I’m pretty fucking susceptible to that kinda shit, so I assume there must be other people out there who are susceptible, too. I guess I just want to think that I can like people who are broken like me, but that we’re going to give it our best, we’ll get better over time, and we’ll not use it as an excuse to not love each other eventually.