Monday, June 7, 2010

Jealous Guy by John Lennon

It's a good thing that my wife Diana isn't the jealous type.

I have more female friends than most guys. I don't know why this is or how it turned out this way but ever since middle school I've always had friends who are girls.  It's not that I don't have any male friends but when I think of the ten closest friends I have in my life right now half of them are girls.

It's not unusual for me to talk to one of my female friends on the phone or go out to lunch with one of them without Diana. None of these things have ever been an issue with Diana. Part of this has to do with the fact that many of the these female are also friends with Diana and the fact that I've never given Diana any reasons not to trust me.

Now coming me, well . . . I'm Diana's only boyfriend. She did go to prom with a guy and even though they went as friends I still have the irrational urge to beat the guy up. The thing is though, Diana never flirts with other guys and doesn't really hang out with male friends without me besides so my jealousy has been kept in check. Now if I had married a girl with more of a history and a different kind of social life, it might have been a different story.

"Jealous Guy" by John Lennon from his 1971 album Imagine is one of Lennon's most personal and achingly beautiful songs. While the title track "Imagine" (which I discussed in this earlier post) was a contemplation on the nature of humanity "Jealous Guy" is a deeply personal apology.

The words of "Jealous Guy" are straight-forward written without the use of poetic devices like symbolism, imagery and metaphor that Lennon in other songs ingeniously utilizes. The words deliberately lack literary devices so that they sound less like song lyrics and more like a letter to a loved one.

Lennon carefully crafts each line with gentle rising and falling, "I was dreaming of the past." Then he builds tension with an ascending melody "I began to lose control." The chorus starts on a higher pitch and the the contour drops and rises back up with "make you cry." Then "I didn't want to hurt you" stumbles, descending in pitch mimicking the sound of crying. Then the last line "I'm just a jealous," is sang with a slight smile, a shurg and a twinkle in the eye.

Lennon’s insight and introspection reveals that jealousy is not so much something that comes from the outside but our own feelings.  Maybe if I was with a different girl I would feel more jealous but maybe I wouldn’t because at the end of the day it’s the feelings inside of me, the projections of my own insecurities that define my jealousy. 

However I can't deny the power of Diana's love to change me feel stronger, embrace my insecurities and be a better man.  In that way Diana has really helped me not be a jealous guy.

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