Songs that have shaped my love life: Liz Phair, “Fuck and Run”

Liz Phair has been a favorite of mine since high school. Could be the Chicago gal connection, or simply the fact that she had the ovaries to call her first album “Exile in Guyville,” aiming her middle finger sky high and skewering the cock-rock of the Rolling Stones’ signature “Exile on Main Street.”

Though there are plenty of Liz Phair songs that I love, the one that most aptly characterized my love life for the longest time was “Fuck and Run.”

Maybe that sounds self-explanatory, but let’s probe a little deeper, shall we?

Phair’s stripped-down sound appeals to me even now, because who doesn’t love a girl and her guitar? (Haters, that’s who.)

And if you can work in jingle bells in a non-Christmas, non “Jingle Bells” song, you rock harder than most people. It’s basically the cowbell of kick-ass motherfuckers.

“Divorce Song,” also off the same album, appeals to me as well, both for the melancholy take on relationships so easily bruised and the jingle bells. But let’s stick with “Fuck and Run.”

What kind of person fucks and runs?

Lots of people.

People who are scared of relationships. People who hate commitment. People who like one-night stands. People who are lonely and need human companionship, but only in small doses. People who like you, but don’t like you like you. People who want love, and still haven’t found it. People who like to fuck.

After a particularly bad breakup, a male friend invited me to his place for dinner and drinks. Not thinking clearly about the obvious import of this invitation, I took him up on the offer. He listened to all my moaning and wailing about my ex, gave me drinks, fed me dinner, and even gave me a back rub.

Then he invited me to spend the night, because the bus had stopped running at this point.

I accepted.

We fucked.

He wanted to see me again.

I said I didn’t think that was a good idea.

He cornered me with this line: “But I’ve never had a one-night stand before!”

I came back with: “Welcome to the club.”

Are one-night stands really so bad? Not if that’s what you knew you were getting into from the start. Less so if you didn’t realize that one fuck doesn’t mean engagement, marriage, babies, and growing old together.

I find that a lot of people need reality checks when it comes to sex. They build it up so much in their minds, when sometimes it’s just a way to pass the time, relieve stress, enjoy someone’s company, or scratch that itch. And none of that is at all terrible… so long as you’re both on the same page when you start bumping and grinding.

But most people like to believe that the other person in the equation is already on the same page, without even discussing it casually. Guys might say, “I’m not looking for anything serious,” and girls might say, “Yeah, me neither.” But what does that really mean?

It means you’re having a one-night stand, so don’t get butthurt when the other person doesn’t return your phone calls. They warned you. They’ll fuck and run.

And so will you, at some point.

Maybe because the sex was awful. Maybe because it wasn’t awful. Maybe because you don’t want to deal with the feelings you’re feeling. Maybe because you’re not looking for anything serious. Maybe because you don’t like complications. Maybe because you shouldn’t have done it. Maybe because you enjoyed it too much.

There are a million and one reasons why people fuck and run. And it’s hardly ever because of YOU.

Sometimes a fuck is just a fuck. And that’s okay.

P is for Pop Songs

Read about more of the songs that have shaped my love life.

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What pop songs make you think about love? How have pop songs influenced your relationships? Check out Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned From Pop Songs for more essays about love songs by the people who love them.