He had me at ‘a shyness that is criminally vulgar’

Back in college, my roomie’s friend visited and brought her Smiths tape with her. (Yes, it was a tape, y’all. I’m an old.) Anyway, I heard the track ‘Girlfriend In A Coma‘ and couldn’t wait to hear more. I bought ‘Strangeways,’ ‘The Queen Is Dead,’ and ‘Meat Is Murder‘ and went into lockdown. It was a revelation for me. Hey, these guys are all about dark humor to advance progressive themes. I fell hard for ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again,’ ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me,’ ‘What She Said,’ and ‘That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore‘ among many many others and jumped from my obsession with The Police into a love affair with The Smiths that I’ve never grown out of.

And the one song that is not even typical-Smiths is the one song that speaks to me the most lyrically and musically. ‘How Soon Is Now?‘ could be written about me. Though I discovered it in college and needed it most in middle and high school, it still resonated so strongly with me. I remember thinking, this dark dude gets me. (I know Johnny Marr wrote it with Morissey, so I guess “dark dudes” would be more appropriate.) To discover that other people had this depth of shyness was hard to believe but certainly was like a balm for my soul. Middle and high school were seriously difficult to navigate for me. College was unbelievably different, and I remember thinking often that I didn’t want to analyze it too much lest I mess up the fragile deal I must have struck to have such a happy and carefree college experience.

That song is still in my top 5 favorite songs regardless of genre. It’s usually in the top 3 but I like to reserve the room for new favorites that swap in from time to time. It still speaks to me because I remain shy and introverted. That’s right – I’m an introvert too. That means that I’m exhausted after spending time in larger social situations particularly with people I don’t spend time with regularly. Do you know how frustrating it is to be an introvert that is shy? Talk about a double whammy in social situations. If only I were a misanthrope, it would make life a lot easier. Unfortunately, people are too interesting to give up, and I rarely meet someone that I don’t have something in common with. It’s just awfully difficult to find out what that commonality is when you are introverted and shy. So when I find myself in social situations I’m unable to navigate, ‘How Soon Is Now?‘ plays on a loop in my head to comfort me. Happy belated birthday, Morissey, you dark, beautiful dude.

3 thoughts on “He had me at ‘a shyness that is criminally vulgar’

  1. Wow. I wish I actively listened to lyrics more. That song STILL resonates with me. I guess it probably always will. But as Stuart Smalley says, “And that’s…OK.”

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