Loving Someone Like Ariana Grande Would
And doing the dishes because you love yourself, ft. Celeste Scott from Not a Writer's Club
Welcome to Only Child! Happy Valentine’s Day. Today, we’ve got something kind of special as my friend Celeste Scott from Not a Writer’s Club is writing a guest post for me, and vice-versa—you can find my post for this week on her site!
Her biweekly newsletter is about sharing writing experience and tips for people who have a tough time writing. In her words, if you’ve been looking for a sign to motivate you to keep writing, this is it. Check out her work!
I didn’t realize when I agreed to write a guest post for Chuckry's newsletter on Valentine’s Day just how difficult it would be.
It’s a lot of pressure if you think about it. How does one write about Valentine’s Day (during a pandemic, even) without sounding incredibly corny or otherwise utterly depressing? For the record, I think Chuckry did a pretty good job over on my newsletter, which you should certainly go check out after you’re done here.
I thought about writing about the email I got the other day from Sugar Cove, with the subject line, Book Now for Valentine’s Day with your Sugar Mama. Which reminded me of the Before Times when I’d scour Groupon for Brazilian wax coupons and then subject myself to truly inhumane hair removal methods for the bargain price of $75. “I’m doing it for me,” I’d tell my friends to make it sound more feminist.
I could also tell you about the other night, when right before bed I got the idea that I would only love myself in the morning if I did the dishes before I went to sleep. So, I did them. Afterwards, I was exhausted and passed out. But when I woke up I felt like I could marry myself.
Speaking of marriage, I also contemplated writing an entire newsletter about Ariana Grande’s Positions, which has recently joined CTRL and When I Get Home on the list of albums I listen to from start to finish on a regular basis. When the album first came out in October, most people seemed to think that it was just a chance for Ariana to talk about how horny she is. Which in my opinion is a very lazy critique.
When you look past “34+35” and “nasty”, songs that were more than likely made with TikTok virality in mind, Positions is an album about being brave enough to believe in love again, after having your heart trampled on by a stampede of relentless, failed love affairs. The Ariana we all know and love is notorious for falling hard and fast. Her new concert documentary on Netflix is literally called excuse me, i love you – a reference to her incredibly quotable song “R.E.M” in which she confesses her love to someone she believes to have met in a dream.
But Positions takes an entirely new approach to the subject of love. Of course, it’s still very upbeat and loaded with sexual innuendos in true Miss Grande fashion, but there’s also a sense of hesitancy. It’s clear that Ariana has been burned before, but she’s past the tongue-in-cheek tone of “thank u, next.” The fifth track on Positions, titled “off the table” begins with the lyrics:
Will I ever love the same way again? (Way again)
Will I ever love somebody like the way I did you?
Never thought you'd be so damn hard to replace
I swear I don't mean to be this way
If I can't have you, is love completely off the table?
But even in the midst of her hesitance, Ariana demonstrates a willingness to try again. The song “six thirty,” in particular, is one that I listen to on repeat, if only to hear Ariana croon “Are you down?” to her lover over and over again. Because isn’t love just asking a person if they’re still down for you, over and over again?
It’s not lost on me that just a few months after dropping this album, Ariana announced an engagement to her real estate agent boyfriend that no one even seemed to know she had. It’s just another example of Ariana doing what Ariana does best: Loving. Despite all odds. I’m Cole Cuchna and you’re listening to Dissect.
In all seriousness, I kind of relate to Ariana when it comes to love. Last year I woke up on Valentine’s Day in San Francisco, laying next to a boy I’d only ever seen in person a handful of times, but I was most definitely already in love with. I met him through a mutual friend in the weeks leading up to my move to New York. With so much newness in my life at the time, I’d been hesitant at first to jump into a long distance relationship right away. But despite the distance, we ended up talking everyday, in every form imaginable – texts and phone calls and voice messages and romantic emails. The more we talked, the more I just wanted to be close to him. Which is how I found myself on a redeye to the other side of the country on Valentine’s Day weekend.
When he woke up, he rolled over and asked me if he should introduce me to his friends as his girlfriend when we hung out with them later. I smiled and said that was fine with me.
Today we’re celebrating our one year anniversary. Which is cheesy. But also kind of the best.
Other Things Of Note
If you’re interested in reading more on the topic of love, check out Haley Nahman’s newsletter from last week titled “Love in quarantine.” (It’s very refreshing and not at all depressing, I promise.)
I’m also in the midst of reading Memorial by Bryan Washinton, which is not so much a love story so much as it is about two people who have love for each other. That’s vague, but maybe it’ll inspire you to just read the book.
Lastly, I would highly recommend you watch To All the Boys: Always and Forever on Netflix if you haven’t already. This film is best consumed while viciously hungover, eating a bagel, with copious amounts of tissue within reach.
Only Child is a weekly newsletter about finding excitement in the mundane. Tell your friends and enemies to subscribe!
—Chuckry Vengadam (@churrthing)