A 1980 ode to beta’s

Summer 1980, four of us from the recently graduated high school class made our way to Cincinnati, OH to attend a concert. We were some sorry @ss small town boys. We pooled our money from our respective summer jobs for this big weekend we planned. I was making a whopping $5.65/hr. because I was to be an engineering student and the state had a program for low income kids with those aspirations whereby the highway department hired us and paid us a multiple of the minimum wage. I think minimum was $2.90/hr. by then.

The point is, I had some cash. The other kids parents had some cash. So….WE had some cash. We booked a room at, if memory serves, a Westin hotel downtown. It could have been another brand, I do not recall, but it was so swank it was like entering a foreign country for us.

When we stumbled off the elevator, and we absolutely stumbled because we did not avoid drinking nor a couple of other things we should have avoided, so much so that a middle aged black maid who was working in our hallway muttered under her breath while shaking her head, “them boys come off that elevator effed up”. When we heard that it became lore for the four of us while we were young. [Note: I attempt humor in this retelling but it is not intended to glorify our behavior. Its just facts]

The floor was packed with people. It was odd until we learned that somehow we’d managed to get a room on the same floor as the band we came to see at the local forum. Despite all the chaos and partying around us, I was not convinced until after the concert. I’d gone to the bar downstairs to pick up some drinks that would have cost double if they came by way of room service (we called and checked). On the return elevator ride, at the very last moment, Kevin Cronin, the lead singer from REO Speedwagon and a couple of other folks jumped into the elevator. Now I was coming off the elevator not only effed up but star struck.

People in the hall saw us spill from the elevator and me head to my room. We left the door open then and our room became a destination for every layabout that was trying to get a glimpse of the band. We didn’t know that the band were notorious for not being party boys and therefore the hallways were cleared and the area quieted by 1AM, at which point I ended up sleeping on the floor of a room in which there was half a bed my 25% had reserved.

Teens, Gory [sic] days. What made me even think of that?

Today an REO song came on the radio when I was driving. I paid attention to the lyrics, then came home and read them to see if I had heard them correctly. If I had heard them correctly, I thought, then Ive found an example of female pandering and profound beta male angst.

Cronin sings (and I add red pill commentary):

She doesn’t like the tough guys (BS)
They think that they can do anything they please
But they’re gonna get a surprise
When she brings them to their knees (what does this mean?, she will so attract them they will fawn over her beta style and stop being tough, or she is going to reject them and that will devastate them? Either way its absurd)

‘Cause she doesn’t like the rough guys (BS)
They think that they can have any girl they choose (pretty much, yeah)
They’ve got tricks, but my baby’s got wise (her wisdom strangely coincides with conventional wisdom about what the ladies want, be nice, emote, be gentle, don’t display masculinity)
So in case you haven’t heard the news

She doesn’t like the tough guys(BS)
She doesn’t like the rough guys(BS)
So find someone your own size (the layers of meaning and the lack of space to expound)
‘Cause she’s not afraid of you (juuuuust a hint of abuse to complete the melange)

She doesn’t like the tough guys (BS)
She says that they’ve got brains all where they sit (what she fails to say is she couldn’t care less if they have a brain or not, let alone where it is located)
They think they’re full of fire
She thinks they’re full of shit (maybe the only thing she thinks that resembles reality)

‘Cause she doesn’t like the tough guys(BS)
She doesn’t like the rough guys(BS)
She’s gonna call your bluff, guys (what bluff, like the old Monty Python bit where the guy ribs the other guy saying “your wife, does she GOOOOO?”….this woman in the song either goes or she doesnt go……these guys say N E X T)
And you better believe it’s true
She don’t like you, no
{ From: http://www.elyrics.net }

Several repeat verses follow.

Goodness. There was a time I would have given a mental fist pump to the spunky gal in that song. I was very wrong but able to maintain my mistaken ideas because I was able to find girls that responded, initially, to the kind of approach this song subliminally suggests. They responded adequately to meet my immediate need. Few, however, failed to drift away after a few weeks, some hurting me deeply.

If Id had a sense of Christian morality, I’d have avoided some of that pain and maybe lots of other pain. But contrary to what that song says, the tough guys also avoid that pain regardless how delusional the protagonist girl may have been.

How far back would we need to go to find music that was not designed to pander to women? Its one thing to sing a romantic song, that is not pandering per se. Its another to froth all over the pedestal a song puts her on.

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6 thoughts on “A 1980 ode to beta’s

  1. The thing is, like a frog in an increasingly hot pot of water, it’s hard to SEE this. When you think about it, so many beta triumphant comedies in that era too. The hot brunette yearns for him, the hot blonde doesn’t get it but she’s a fool. And men with confident ways are jerks. The shy young man tries to be confident, but just being himself gets him better things including the hot brunette.

  2. If there was a skywalk from the hotel to the large fountain directly across the street, it was the Westin.

    “We didn’t know that the band were notorious for not being party boys and therefore the hallways were cleared and the area quieted by 1AM”

    I kinda sorta wonder if the infamous Who concert at the Coliseum (where you most likely saw your concert) about six months beforehand had anything to do with that. Probably not, but still…

  3. I do not recall if there was a walkway or a fountain but it feels right, what you suggest. Yes the infamous Who stampede, you got my nostalgia gland activated with that…I had totally forgotten that. But I do not think the two were related because as years passed I read where the REO boys were Divas about having vegetarian food and (back then, the term) mineral water etc. Our experience was hedonist enough without the hotel floor turning into an opium den, so Im glad

  4. 777… I was so glad you left Grand Funk Railroad off your list – would have been crushed if they’d made it.

    Be sure to add Boston, Fleetwood Mac Seals & Crofts, and dozens of others. The breakup of the Beatles left such a huge vacuum in the boy-band genre that the 70’s pop music scene was littered with some really great musical talent which was wasted making deplorable songs.

    Fortunately, we did have Zappa, Ted Nugent, King Crimson, and some others that didn’t fall prey to the siren.

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