The Ex-Files: Songs that remind us of exes


Catching up on Nerve last week, I came upon a wonderful post: “15 Songs That Make Me Think Of My Ex,” in which readers sent in the songs that made them “look wistfully into the distance”  — and then change the station.

Perhaps my experience of breaking up is different than the average Nerve reader, but the last thing I feel when I think about an ex is wistful. Still, the topic is worth, um, borrowing so that we can share the joy of tunes we can hardly bear to hear.

Here are a few of mine. Some are sappy, I know, but being in love tends to make every song beautiful, right?

“My Romance”Tuck & Patti

If you’ve been on awhile, you’ve heard this story: A girlfriend gave me Tuck & Patti‘s Tears of Joy album and said she wanted “You Take My Breath Away” to be our song. I loved the duo’s version of “My Romance,” though, and suggested we adopt it instead. She said no; I demurred. Later I learned that she gave every girlfriend that album and “My Romance” had already been claimed. I really hate that she ruined the classic song for me, especially since so many of my favorite divas perform it so well. Such is the price of love.

Secret O’ Life” – James Taylor

I should’ve known better than to get invested in a song with “O'” in the title. But my GF said it was her theme song and the lyrics are actually quite nice: “Try not to try too hard; it’s just a lovely ride.” Unfortunately, GF took the “not trying” part a little too literally.

“Beautiful In My Eyes”Joshua Kadison

One of the sweetest things this GF ever did was give me a tape (yes, tape) of this song. And hearing it now makes me much angrier with myself than her. At the time, I had just been diagnosed with chemical depression and hadn’t found the combination of meds and therapy that worked. I didn’t believe anybody could think me beautiful. I’m much different now — but this song makes me sad about the years I lost to the disease.

You Could Drive a Person Crazy” – Company

Early in my lesbian life, I came home to find this song — the entire thing — on my answering machine. (Here are the lyrics.) I had never heard it before; it’s from the Stephen Sondheim musical Company and I honestly didn’t understand most of it. (This was pre-Internet, mind you.) My GF came over that evening and I played it for her — she turned red, then called her ex, who had left the delightful message. I was young and naïve; otherwise, I might have wondered what prompted such intensity. A year or so later, I found out. In fact, the ex’s ex who left the message also cannot listen to “My Romance” with throwing up a little in her mouth.

Your turn: What song reminds you of your ex?

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