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Charlie Hatton
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Putting the Squeeze On

You’d think a guy like me would wind up in hot water with my wife often enough that she wouldn’t need to invent ways to put me in the doghouse. You would be wrong. Twice.

First, you’d be mistaken because my foolishness and gooferosity don’t get me into trouble with the missus nearly as often as they should. She’s a generous, patient, beautiful woman, with an apparently superhuman tolerance for my brand of offbeat shenanigans.

(Also, she doesn’t read this site very often, which is probably a good idea. A few hundred more words of my nonsense a day might finally snap her, and she’d meet me at the door one day with divorce papers in one hand and a meat thermometer in the other.

Open up and say, ‘eek‘.)

“One bout of marital strife over a mediocre new wave pop band is quite enough. I shudder to think what might have happened if we’d been listening to A-ha.”

Second, it wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that my wife’s never surprised me with a bit of finger-pointing from way out in left field. It would be almost accurate, but not entirely accurate. Once every ten years or so, she’ll find a problem in something that I would never have imagined could be an issue. Considering that she overlooks real issues of mine at a rate of thirty or so a day, I’m more than happy to deal with this once-a-decade out-of-the-blue blindsiding.

Besides, it’s not like I can claim any high ground. Where she’s ‘mildly quirky’ every ten years or so, I’m ‘flailingly irrational’ at least three times a week — and I have the incriminating photos, impulse buy receipts, and telltale scars to prove it. I once bought a ‘Thompson Twins’ CD, for crissakes. I’m not throwing any stones here.

I will, however, tell you about the last time I found myself floundering bewildered on the jagged stones of relationship rockiness. It was several years ago — possibly, we weren’t even married yet — but I’ll never forget what I’ve come to call:

The Time I Endorsed the Wrong ‘Squeeze’ Song

We were sitting in a room together, listening to a CD. It was her ‘Squeeze Singles 45 and Under disc, and it was almost over. I’d never been a huge Squeeze fan, but their songs are generally catchy and hummable, in an offbeat pop sort of way. They’re no Smithereens or Talking Heads, mind you — they’re not quite even Crowded House — but they could certainly be worse.

(They could, for instance, be the Thompson Twins. Can we just forget that I ever mentioned them?)

At any rate, the CD had nearly played itself out without either of us taking much notice. I forget what we were distracted with, exactly — studying, or reading quietly, or knitting tea cozies, perhaps. We were awfully wild and crazy in our younger days.

(Possibly, we were even hopped up on the Old Milwaukee. That’s the ‘gateway beer’ to Schlitz, you know. Move over, Sid and Nancy!)

As the next song started, I felt a twinge of remembrance. I’d recognized a few of the other tunes — they were standard party fare and radio filler at the time. But this new song was one I recalled from a few years before. It was particularly catchy, and I remembered the video from MTV — back when MTV played videos, if that tells you anything about how long ago this was. I didn’t even know Squeeze played the song. Flushed with the thrill of new knowledge, I felt I should comment. Little did I know I was about to have the ‘squeeze’ put on me:

Me: Wow, this is Squeeze?

Her: Hrm?

Me: This song — ‘Black Coffee in Bed’. Squeeze sings this?

Her: Yeah. I guess so.

Me: You know… this must be my favorite Squeeze song.

Her: What?!

Me: Yeah, I like the tune, and the video-

Her: I can’t believe you just said that.

Me: Um… said what?

Her: You like this song?

Me: Yeah.

Her: It’s your favorite Squeeze song?

Me: Erm… I think so.

Her: You know it’s about an affair, right?

Me: Well… I hadn’t really listened to the ly-

Her: Unbelievable.

Me: But I only like the-

Her: This is typical, you know. Just typical.

Me: I had the MTV, see, and-

Her: Of all the songs they sing. Just like a man!

Me: Um… I’m sorry?

Her: Gah!

It’s years later, and I’m still not quite sure what happened that day. Maybe there were ‘twos’ and ‘twos’ that I wasn’t putting together, or she’d just watched exactly the wrong sort of movie on Lifetime, or something. Luckily, the black cloud didn’t linger long, and I’m sure she’s long forgotten about the exchange by now.

(Well, mostly sure. That girl can remember what we wore to weddings we attended in the ’90s, and what I had for breakfast on the third day of our honeymoon. It’s possible she’d recall the ‘Squeeze incident’ — but I hope not. One bout of marital strife over a mediocre new wave pop band is quite enough. I shudder to think what might have happened if we’d been listening to A-ha.)

As a footnote, and in my defense, I submit that there was no right answer for me in that situation — short of keeping my big mouth shut in the first place, which is often a husband’s best move. But look at the other options I had, were I to choose a different ‘favorite Squeeze song’ from the CD:

Goodbye Girl‘ — Besides sending the wrong message, I’m not sure I could even hum the song. Certainly, I would only know two words in the lyrics, and they’re not words one should be singing to one’s sweetheart.

Annie Get Your Gun‘ — Three problems here. One, her name’s not Annie. Two, we don’t own a gun. And three, if she’d been any more upset, she might’ve taken the advice, anyway. No good for me.

Tempted‘ — No way. First off, it’s a song that’s really, obviously about an affair. Plus, I have this bad habit of singing the chorus as: ‘Tempted by the fruit of your mother‘. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have helped matters any.

Another Nail for My Heart‘ — See ‘three’ under ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ above.

Pulling Mussels From the Shell‘ — Inocuous enough on the surface, familiar enough to be a favorite, and possibly the song I should have chosen. Except that I couldn’t, because I can’t shake the notion that the title is a sly euphemism for some sort of sloppy sexual act I’d prefer not to think about during mealtimes.

Up the Junction‘ — See ‘Pulling Mussels’ above.

If I Didn’t Love You‘ — Another song I couldn’t hum if you — or Annie, for that matter — put a gun to my head. Also, there’s no good way to finish the title phrase that I could come up with under pressure. And ‘If I didn’t love you, maybe I’d be a pimp in Brooklyn’ isn’t going to win you any love points.

Take Me I’m Yours‘ — Probably the obvious choice, given the title and the familiar bone-jarring rhythm line. But for all I know, this song’s about an affair, too. Hell, that’s all these perverts seem to sing about — that and shoving ‘mussels’ up your ‘junction’. This Squeeze thing was a disaster waiting to happen. Can’t we all just play some Men at Work and get along?

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Putting the Squeeze On”

  1. JEP says:

    Man, I’ve been there and had exactly that SAME thought once about the song “Pulling Muscles From A Shell”. It came to me while I was attending a stag party with a head full of acid in the late ’80s. Between the hallucinogens, the porn, and the soundtrack, there was little wonder why I was hysterically terrified of the strippers all night and it took nearly a week took get my libido back.

  2. kerry says:

    as a woman, let me assure you that your wife will NEVER forget about that exchange. ever. those sorts of things get burned into our memory. sorry.

  3. Jerry says:

    How about a song from the “babylon and on” album: “Trust Me to Open My Mouth”.

    BTW, I never knew that “Black Coffee in Bed” was about an affair either.

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