Five Men

The video for Alanis Morissette’s minor hit “Unsent” has good material for this weekend’s look at life’s themes. It shows a young woman in five vignettes with the men from her past, each a character-study. Sex girds every scene and each man delivers a different balance of attraction and comfort. The beat gets heavy with her recollections of Jonathan and Marcus, the two for whom her flame burned hottest.

The men, in order of appearance:

Matthew lives by his code. A woman who wants to keep him must first submit herself to his ways, even if they make no sense to her. He trusts his vision even as he does not entirely understand it. His lean frame and gentle manner are the outward representation of his ascetic temperament and his readiness to sacrifice all in the name of his faith.

Jonathan comes from a line of men who live and die by the pride in their hearts and the fire in their guts. Quick to throw a punch, quicker to help a friend. His deepest desire is to serve and be needed and to see the fruits of his works. Men like him require a purpose and when they sense futility, they destroy themselves.

Terrance is a builder. Like his father and grandfathers before, he saw a vast nothing and turned it into something. His house is warm during the long winter nights. After the flood, his sons will have made it to the other side and they will found a new nation.

Marcus knows when to pull and when to push so when he’s with you, all kinds of doors open. More than that, he brings magic to the commonplace. Deft of touch, the silver-tongued whisperer makes you live the moment in the here-and-now. In a way, what else is real?

Lou is a blank slate, the least developed character of the five. Seen in a distance through glass, face like a child’s without contours, he represents the unknown depth in you. Some unrevealed experience binds him and the girl, maybe forever and against their wills. An abortion? A miscarriage? The things we do tie our lives to the people who walk with us.

***

In every scene, sadness drops a shadow on the memory, as though each of the men is pushing her away. Why is that?

 

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21 thoughts on “Five Men

  1. “In every scene, sadness drops a shadow on the memory, as though each of the men is pushing her away. Why is that?”

    Because 5 is 4 cocks too many?

  2. dear terrance I love you much you’ve been nothing
    but open hearted and emotionally available and supportive
    I remember how beautiful it was to fall asleep
    on your couch and cry in front of you for the first time

    Isn’t it supposed to be the knee jerk alt-right reaction to label Terrance as a “beta” here? However, in my experience if you’re able and willing to do the work of listening to some chick’s blubbering and blabbering until the point that she cries it generally means that you’ve won… they don’t even realize themselves it but they’re much more manageable and stop playing a lot of silly games at that point. (even though you may have to roll your eyes and keep humoring them during more water works sessions going forward)

  3. “Morissette has sold 60 million albums in her career.”

    “Jagged Little Pill” was a heavily planned and promoted but no one expected her to blow up the way she did; that album did like 11 million in its first two years and still is selling a few thousand copies per week today….i’m not sure of current calculus tho for sales and RIAA figures —– which aren’t necessarily one and same thing quantitatively, lol!!

    http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/6612876/alanis-morissette-jagged-little-pill-chart-moves

  4. Canadian hipsters are even worse then? Which to ruin the joke and explain it, makes sense, because they feel like they have to try harder?

    But perhaps that is my provincial attitude about Toronto. Never been there, i hear it is very diverse with many Jamaicans and other Islanders.

    Alanis has the most whiny nasal voice in the world, and talk about some clunky lyrics, yikes – “You got me seriously thinking about spirituality” – that is a song lyric how?

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  6. In character, I am 2/3 Matthew and 1/3 Jonathan, and the two haven’t always coexisted peacefully. The line “men like him require a purpose and when they sense futility, they destroy themselves” came to me by itself but upon re-reading, it explains a lot about my early twenties.

    In looks, Jonathan is an idealized version of me. Similar facial structure and expression, same hair (when younger). In effect he’s a dead-ringer for me when I smoked.

    — Camlost — “Isn’t it supposed to be the knee jerk alt-right reaction to label Terrance as a “beta” here?”

    He’s definitely a CH-scale beta in the guileless way in which he relates to women, but he has nothing of the VD-scale gamma in him. He’s a genuine “nice guy” and not a resentful fake-nice creep such as Adam from “I Am Charlotte Simmons.” The dialogue and his physiognomy show that he has a backbone. He makes me think of the Biblical saying that the meek shall inherit the Earth.

  7. Her songs are well produced. I love professional quality popular music, and hers is an example of excellent arrangements and production, especially Jagged Little Pill. And those lyrics are much better than the ones in this song. Their cleverness goes with the theme, and it is actually kinda sad and makes you think. You finally take that flight, … and your plane crashes. Take that, shitlord!

    That song is the hipster anthem, it is about irony after all! But her aiaayyyyyiia’s might as well be the voice of a generation (she so like beat you to it Lena!). Her triumphant screams of becoming, transcend and defy explanation and cannot be reduced with explanation and theory: aiyaiyaiayaaiay!!

  8. All the guys in her video are more or less models. The first guy is very delicately framed, but 2 3 and 4 are totally hot! from the perspective of a junior high school popular girl, and coincidentally, from the perspective of a hipster too. Hey i might be on to something with that … it’s almost like hipster strivers are trying to live out and set right, their junior high experience.

    But talking of hipsters and that song as an anthem, is of course very dated. And Alanis is aging and looks older than all her beaus, by exactly one “least noticeable difference,” which she can sorta of get away with because she is goodlooking (not to mention rich and famous but in her vids she is supposed to not be rich and famous?). Uh, too much meta.

    Aiayayaiaayaaiayyyaai!!!

  9. @ Nik – LOL, I make it a point to avoid Oprah in general, especially when she finds it necessary to start referring to Stedman. But yes that interview was saccharine sappy trite, but I’m ok with Morissette doing something like that many years after her peak stardom, but then again that behavior is definitely a far cry from someone whose lyrics were considered “edgy” for blatantly discussing revenge f***ing just a few years prior. And I think we all could’ve predicted the inevitable Pinterest-type themes of yoga, inner disharmony, new age self-help, disconnect from fame, finding her soul mate and having a baby. Give them a few more minutes and they’d be talking about their small toy dogs, love for Syrian refugees and all-around rehashing of Obamist talking points.

    He’s definitely a CH-scale beta in the guileless way in which he relates to women, but he has nothing of the VD-scale gamma in him. He’s a genuine “nice guy” and not a resentful fake-nice creep such as Adam from “I Am Charlotte Simmons.”

    I’m more than willing to play the Terrance role on occasion if it doesn’t cost me any money. Sitting there and listening is free, it can score some panty points at little investment. Not that long ago I dated this pretty cute blonde 30-yo who I talked through the tail of a bad divorce – and we had a very intense thing going until she shoulder surfed my phone password and found out I been screwing some dumb skank party girl, too. Oh well, busted. But within months she begged me to get back together because I “made her feel more human than anyone ever did” lmao and she put that kind of crap all over her Tumblr page, of course. Score one for Camlost.

  10. In the video (rather than in my archetype extrapolation) Marcus takes it a degree too far with the sleazy lothario vibe. Lose the silly rings and you’re nailing her.

    To Morissette’s credit as an actress, she plays the “good girl” well. That’s exactly the look a girl has when you’re overgaming her.

  11. “Give them a few more minutes and they’d be talking about their small toy dogs”

    In some of the outtake vids of that interview that were also in the youtube queue on that page, Oprah and Alanis take off their shoes and socks and are barefoot for the segments where they discuss the rewards of yoga and meditation…..I think they know how this looks; I mean, it HAS to be some kind of sophisticated ruse or joke.. Come-the-fuck-on!

  12. The lyrics in that song read like some relationship weekend workshop manual.
    PA, I don’t know about you, but i went to a good public suburban high-school that was over 50% Jewish; those Jewish “Good girls” ain’t so good and they WILL fuck you up!

    That song is pretty damn insufferable, when you think about it. Though the vid is interesting for purposes of negatively ‘deconning’ it.

  13. Uggh shit like this turns me off modern women.

    I’m like Lou. I never had a strong personality. I was never surrounded by “good feelz”. Acting all happy and shit seems cheesy and unnatural to me.

    As such, they don’t like me much either. Good riddance – at least that’s how I feel right now.

  14. @ Kid Jupiter
    “5 is 5 cocks too many!” FIFY, because it only takes one man to ruin a girl forever, unless you like being cucked by the dude who hit it before you.

  15. hey PA,

    why is my most recent Alanis comment in moderation? it seems that problem happens often when you post vids or other hyperlinks within your comment?

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