Monday, February 8, 2016

THE DRAKE GUIDE TO DATING

I read an article once where the author referred to Drake as the Taylor Swift of R&B. That idea has stuck with me, and rings true year after year as Drake continues to crank out hits—many of which have themes of love, loss and sweet revenge. He's never been shy about wearing his heart on his microphone, and we love him for that.

Most rappers market themselves through their lyrics, purporting to be the best, the greatest, the most important artist on Earth. But few are able to infuse their grandiose musings with as much self-awareness and humor as Drake. We love him because he's smart, he's in on the joke, and he's wildly proud to be Canadian.

We can all relate to his lyrics, which oscillate between sensitive and thoughtful to spiteful and cutting, sometimes within the same song. Even when he's guest starring on a track for Rihanna or The Game, his signature touch of romantic realism is always present. He raps and sings rather emphatically about his love and respect for women, especially the ones who are as fun and beautiful as they are independent, educated, and above all—loyal.

The truth is, if you extract the best lines from Drake's extensive catalog of albums and singles—even the ones that ostensively have nothing to do with relationships—you can piece together a pretty comprehensive collection of wisdom, truisms and advice that are perfectly applicable to dating in 2016.

And so, here we are! Because Valentine's Day is this weekend, I figured there was no better occasion to spend most of my free time listening to Drake and Googling song lyrics that were worthy of what I'm calling The Drake Guide To Dating. It's more lighthearted than The Dating Manifesto I published last year, but may be filled with even more pearls of wisdom because, come on, this is Drake we're talking about. He's basically the musical Shakespeare of our time.


CLICK THROUGH FOR MORE...





// MODERN LOVE //



I'm more than just an option (hey, hey, hey)
Find Your Love, 2010

Don't go ghost on me imma go Thriller on ya
Mine (Beyonce ft. Drake), 2014

Let's kick things off with two short lyrics, both of which can be directly applied to online dating. Raise your hand out there if at any point in your exploration of Tinder, Bumble, Hinge et al., you've felt like you were nothing more than an option to someone you considered a gem. Did that same person also ghost you? Probably. These are two of the most complicated and frustrating issues with modern dating, and Drake summed them up in less than 20 words.

Ever since I left the city, you
You got exactly what you asked for
Running out of pages in your passport
Hanging with some girls I've never seen before

Whenever I listen to this song, I picture Drake trolling Instagram, flipping through pictures of his ex and speculating wildly about her new man, all these new girls she's hanging out with and all the exotic locations she's geotagging. He's being super careful not to accidentally double-tap a pic, and congratulating himself because clearly this girl is thirsty. She wants him to be curious. She wants him to imagine her with another guy and she wants to make him crazy. At least, that's how I picture the backstory here. Social media makes it hard to escape people from our past, and I think a lot of us spend more time dwelling on lost loves than we would if Instagram weren't around.

You told me 'bout the picture now you have to send it
I would never put you on blast when I get it
Right Hand, 2015

I know it sounds silly, lets be honest about something: Sexting takes a bit of trust. Sending suggestive or explicit photos? Even more trust. Yes, there is a lot of ridiculous and scandalous media surrounding this subject and the (very real) fear of an unsolicited nude. However, there's something very intimate and vulnerable about an exchange when both parties are excited about it. So, knowing that you can rely on your guy or your girl not to show your stuff around to all their friends? That's when you know you've found your ride-or-die bae.

Good weed, white wine / I come alive in the night time
What's My Name (Rihanna ft. Drake), 2010

A simple recipe for a great night. No need to elaborate here, really. Sometimes Drake doesn't need to hit you hard with the #feelz to inspire you right where it counts. Tell me: What could be better on a hot summer night than enjoying the above under the stars with your main squeeze? Not much, I'm pretty sure. (Just remember to enjoy responsibly, obviously.)

// FOR THE LADIES //



I know it gets hard but girl you got it girl you got it there you go
Can't you tell by how they lookin' at you everywhere you go?
Make Me Proud, 2011

I got my eyes on you / You're everything that I see
I want your hot love and emotion, endlessly
I can't get over you / You left your mark on me
Hold On We're Going Home, 2013

You the f*ckin' best / You're the best I ever had
Best I Ever Had, 2009

They say flattery will get you everywhere, and there are few rappers who flatter a woman quite the way Drake does. Shy guys, emotionally closed-off guys... Take note. From effusing that your girl is a catch and sexy and you're totally in love and want to take her home right this second ("Hold On We're Going Home") to reminding her that you're proud of her and proud to be with her ("Make Me Proud")—Drake knows the importance of reminding his love interests that they're amazing. I think he does this often because it says as much about his excellent taste as it does about her qualities. So, everyone wins. And let's be honest, telling a girl she's the best you've ever had? #Swoon.

And you don't do it for the man, men never notice
You just do it for yourself you're the fucking coldest
Intelligent too, ooh you're my sweetheart
I've always liked my women book and street smart
Long as they got a little class like half days
and the confidence to overlook my past ways
Fancy, 2010

On the surface it feels like "Fancy" is an ode to the women who show up to the club looking really done up. In some ways it is. But really, being "fancy" is so much more. It implies that not only do you dress in designer clothes that you paid for yourself and buy your own drinks at the bar, but you're also educated, employed and independent. In this context, who doesn't want to be fancy?

This song—like many a Drake song—pays homage to the bossy women in his life. He likes women who are successful, smart and uncompromising, as well as financially and professionally killing it. (Rihanna? Serena Williams, anyone?) They don't need him, but they definitely want him—and vice versa. He likes finding equals. This is one of Drake's favorite themes, and it should be one of yours, too.

// KEEPING IT TOO REAL //



Every lost girl I know is over 26 / Every lost girl I know is just too afraid to admit it
Drama (Roy Woods ft. Drake), 2015

Whoa, Drake. Speak right to my soul, why don't you? It's a funny thing, but even though I feel much more grown up and self-assured at 30 than I did at 25, in some ways I feel even more lost. Facing a future that doesn't follow a traditional timeline, like the one you might have imagined for yourself in college? Not easy. Often traumatic. Ultimately freeing. 

However, there's definitely an adjustment period that can feel shaky, frustrating and scary—especially if you're "single and looking." Whether it's your job, your friends, your city or your love life, feeling lost at one time or another (or all the time, tbh) is a fact of life after your early 20s. Drake knows this.

Don’t get impatient when it takes too long, drink it all even when it tastes too strong
Light Up, 2010

How does Drake know exactly what to say to those of us who are single and looking for love? Sometimes going through life (or part of it) without a partner really challenges you. It's easy to spend way too much time dwelling on what might be wrong with you, or wondering why everyone else seems to be moving forward in that way and you are not. I feel like this line is Drake's way of reminding us to be present. Life is what happens when we're busy making plans, right? We shouldn't look at our single lives as the opening act before the main event. Our single selves and coupled selves should be co-headliners on the world tour that is life.

Y'all don't even know what you want from love anymore
I search for something I'm missing and disappear when I'm bored
But girl, what qualities was I looking for before?
Who you settling for? Who better for you than the boy, hah?
From Time, 2013

She’s losing it right now, cause if I wasn’t who I am, she woulda been moving in by now
But instead we’re moving slow, I guess she’s used to it by now
And she gives me all her trust and I’m abusing it right now
But this money coming in is just confusing shit right now
You just told me I ain’t shit and I guess I’m proving it right now
Hate Sleeping Alone, 2011

Will all the emotionally stunted, ghosting-prone 20-something guys please stand up? (And ladies too, if we're being honest.) In "Hate Sleeping Alone," which, within the title itself seems to explain Drake's not-so-honorable intentions, he raps about how if things were different and he were different, this relationship would be in a different place. He's well aware of how invested this woman is, how much she cares, and how ready she is for things to move forward. The best part is that he knows that she knows exactly what he's up to, but he's not particularly motivated to do anything about it. 

I suppose this set of lyrics rings very true for me (and probably a lot of you out there) because we all know the guys and girls who are amazing, fun, wonderful people who would make excellent partners, but for whatever reason they can't be that person right now, or for us. Hell, we've all probably been that person, too. 


The girl that I wanna save is like a danger to my health
Try being with someone who wanna be somebody else
The Motion, 2013

What's a life with no fun? Please don't be so ashamed
I've had mine you've had yours we both know
Take Care, 2011

There are so many feelings laced throughout "Take Care" that it's tough to pick just one couplet that stands out in the canon of Drake's dating advice. I will say, however, that one of the themes from this song that I relate to the most is this admission that at a certain point in our lives, everyone we meet will have baggage. Drake says he feels like he's being pushed away; "Dealing with a heart that I didn't break."

Remember that time you tried to date someone who had just gotten out of a serious relationship and they were like, "I'm fine!" and then it turned out they weren't even a little bit fine and used their relationship with you to avoid dealing with their deeply-rooted emotional issues and then suddenly it all imploded out of nowhere? Drake won't stand for that and neither should you. Often times the true test of a relationship with lasting potential is whether or not both parties can either get 'past their past' or work through it by communicating honestly.

I tried to keep us together you were busy keeping secrets
Secrets you were telling everybody but me
Don’t be fooled by the money I’m still just young and unlucky
I’m surprised you couldn’t tell
Karaoke, 2010

// KNOW YOURSELF KNOW YOUR WORTH //



I'm not your trophy, baby
I won't let you show me off or shine me up or line me up, no
My Love (Majid Jordan Ft. Drake), 2015

And you're like 'Oh well,' you're like 'Fuck it, oh well
My past behind me like a ponytail'
But you're my right hand, you're my go-to
Told me everything about you, that's a bold move
Right Hand, 2015

"Right Hand" is all about Drake's love for a woman he trusts and respects so much she's as close to him as his "right hand man." Rather than a trophy, this woman is his partner. There's risk and intimacy involved, and Drake seems to understand her flaws, and he accepts her for them. He is appreciative of what she's been through and is still going through, and sees that she might still be growing up.

I think this is how we all hope our best and most lasting adult relationships will be—a partnership. As we get older, we put a lot of weight on trying to find a perfect person, someone who doesn't have any work to do. But all it takes is a quick glance inward to realize that's bullshit, and the best we can hope for is someone with whom we want to grow and evolve in order to keep that partnership strong.

The line, "My past behind me like a ponytail," is also kind of poignant to me because not only does it indicate that this woman is moving on from her past, but that she's not even dwelling on it. Ponytails swing and bounce when you walk, which to me implies lightness, happiness and an IDGAF attitude. The right person—flaws and all—can do that to you.

I'm just sayin' you could do better / Tell me have you heard that lately?
Marvin's Room, 2011

Aw, you thought you had it all figured out back then girl, how 'bout now?
Cause I'm up right now, and you suck right now
How 'Bout Now, 2015

We've all had that feeling after a relationship or dating moment ends. The feeling when you know that you won. You know that you shouldn't rub your victory in your ex's face but you really want to, right? It seems even Drake has experience with taking both the high road and the low road—from drunk dialing to remind his ex that she could do better than her current man ("Marvin's Room") to dedicating an entire song to reminding an ex that if she'd only been there for him in the hard times that she could be living it up with him now ("How 'Bout Now"). But in the latter—and in true Drake fashion—he hints that he's not totally over her via a background singer chiming in softly every now and then, "My heart belongs to you..."

I guess it really is just me, myself and all my millions
Headlines, 2013

When you're single but still feeling yourself? Drake is right there with you. If you don't have all those millions, look outside your bank account to be reminded of your self-worth: Be grateful for friends, family, health and a job that pays the bills. And if you do have the millions? Consider figuring out how to put them in a swimming pool and going full Scrooge McDuck.

All I ever ask is keep it 8 more than 92 with me, 100
100 (The Game ft. Drake), 2015

To me, this is the seminal Drake lyric that I try to carry with me throughout my dating life. This is what I want above everything else, and I bet you can relate. When it comes down to it, through all the drama and the non-starters, the baggage, the ghosting and the good times—I think most of us just want someone who is real, who gives us the whole picture—not just the side of themselves that they think we will like best.

The kind of communication that leads to 'keeping it 100' doesn't come easy to everyone. Revealing our whole selves to people makes us vulnerable, and it is scary. But, I like to think that if Drake can do it, and then rap about it publicly, and still make it out alive—so too, can we. And thus, by touching on one of the most important experiences life has to offer as seen through the eyes of our favorite rapper, we conclude.

***

Since this post wouldn't be complete without it, I've compiled a playlist of all the above Drake songs just for you—and just in time for Valentine's Day 2016. You can find it on Spotify here.

Image credits: The @drakeoncake Instagram account
run by @joythebaker, who you can find on the web here.

7 comments:

  1. girl, this is genius. bow down to you. love these posts of yours - they're inspiring to me!

    xo, Tara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you lady!!! (Doing my best over here...)

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  2. This post just made my day. Great roundup!

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  3. Omg I loved this whole thing! Thanks so much for sharing and happy belated Valentine's Day <3

    xoxo Nicole

    http://www.brazenrbrunette.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great guide!thanks, its so hard sometimes dating women that i prefer being alone!but now i will go out and take my woman!

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  5. Great article having a lot of information. Actually, Technology has exploded our dating options and put dating effectively on amphetamines. The sheer quantity of choices gives us the feeling that we can and will meet someone through technology. Don't forget to visit ilov3you.com for dating advice's.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dispose of that terrible breath (yes, you have awful breath). Try not to gaze at her bosoms (I know she has stunning bosoms!). Try not to swear. Focus on her, and don't give your eyes a chance to meander around the room (excessively). online dating tips

    ReplyDelete