Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon: April 4, 2014

By Holly A. Phillips

My first blues concert was Jonny Lang. I was 14, and more mesmerized by his long, blond hair and raspy voice than anything else.

It wasn’t long after that when I started lusting over pop singer and blues guitarist, John Mayer.

I cringed just typing that.

Even today, a dozen years of Mayer albums and tours behind me (I saw him three times just last year), I know that Mayer is a certified prick, or any synonym of the sort.

Admitting I’m a Mayer fan often results in heavy sighs, grunts, and rolling eyes from those who’ve seen his pompous media presence. I imagine WWE’s Nikki Bella gets a similar reaction when she claims she still loves John Cena.

Sometimes, being a Mayer fan means looking past his mouth and concentrating on his talent—the man can play two guitars at once.

Defending your favorite musician or TV show is one thing, but what about going to bat for your significant other?

“Does he really expect you to reply his messages when he’s texting you at 3am?” my friend asked me one night.

My then-boyfriend was the manager of a restaurant, making our time together often a late-night date.

“I don’t know if he expects it,” I told her. “But, I reply.”

It was something I didn’t give a second thought. He worked late, and that’s just the way things were in our relationship.

Will I do it in my next relationship? I’ll just say I’ve learned to value my sleep a little more since then.

I could defend our early morning conversations, but I couldn’t defend him when he got arrested for drinking and driving. There, in my pink and plaid pajamas at Troop A at 4 a.m. on a Friday, I realized standing up for this man was bringing me down—and that was the end of that.

I see women all the time dating, or even marrying, men with court dates, side chicks, and various baggage. Putting all superficial reasons aside, I wonder, “Why is she with him?” or vice-versa.

The idea of defending your lover has a touch of romance to it. After all, standing up for someone takes guts and confidence. You’ve got to do like Tammy Wynette and “Stand by Your Man,” right?

Right—to an extent—there has to be a line in the sand. You don’t want to be the Heidi and Spencer Pratt of your social circle.

This is why I’ve made a mental list of things I will defend and things I will not put up with, when it comes to dating.

I will defend my (imaginary) significant other if friends, family, or anyone talks smack about him. I’ll defend a busy schedule (provided it’s packed with wholesome activities), debt, an off-comment after a bad day, and a subpar haircut.

I won’t defend acting like a fool (especially if it embarrasses me), unemployment, physical abuse (sorry not sorry, Chris Brown), or excessive drugs and drinking.

The thing about defending someone (or something) is that it’s an ongoing gig. I’m talking to you, Hillary Clinton. Because the second she stops defending her favorite stogie-smoker, she’s the one that looks like a fool.

It’s the catch 22 of dating tactics—defend your other half, until you change your mind (or come to your senses), and the fault is on you, my friend.

While every relationship is different, you don’t want to find yourself constantly making excuses for your boyfriend or girlfriend; that’s just pathetic.

Defending your lover can be a slippery slope, ending in the way most battles do: with one winner and one loser. So, stand up for the one you love, but keep your values in check.

As for Mayer, I’ll stand by my mountain man until the cows (or whatever animals they have in Montana) come home. But that’s probably because neither of us has truly invested our hearts.

Read more about Holly’s defense mechanisms on her blog, TheBitterLemon.com. 

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