Features, One Song One Story

Don’t Cry About It, It’s All Gonna Happen: Lana del Rey’s “This Is What Makes Us Girls”

When you live with a song long enough, it becomes part of your memory-scape. In our BRAND NEW COLUMN One Song, One Story, our writers share a song, and the story it evokes in them.

lana

They curve their fingers, cupping the air outside the window to make music-video style waves with their hands. They sing, This is what makes us girls, we don’t stick together ‘cause we put love first. They check the rear view for red smudges around the corner of their lips. They sing, Something that we die for, it’s our curse. All horrific suburban cliches mesh into one golden haze. I feel it all: dread, terror. Intrigue. Pangs of disgust. I feel it all stockpile in the backseat as I fade into the glow of their dangerously cavalier rendition. Don’t cry about him, it’s all gonna to happen.

***

I take the train back to the city, and on the MetroNorth, I stare out my window. Distractedly. At nothing in particular. I return to my book, read the same sentence four times before I restore my bookmark to its previous position. We all look for heaven and we put love first. Lana’s gloom of cool prompts me, making me feel deliberate. Grey. Cinematic. “It’s all gonna happen”?  I cannot resist the sabotage. Lana is in my head, her second-sex lamentation saddling me with the sorrows of my own curiosity: Is it true?

***

We don’t stick together ‘cause we put love first. What is it that Lana speaks of? Wisdom? Knowledge? Half-way truth?

I key into my apartment door with my friendships mapped, the ones upheld and strained, the ones not. Are they upheld and strained by the presence of men? But Lana sings of bambi eyes, eyelashes dripping mascara. She does not sing for me. She sings of Lolitas, of Mrs. Ramsays. She does not sing for us, the contemporary, no-longer-lily-livered Lilies, the networking lot with ten internships under their belt at 20. Why are we listening? Why are we listening when she makes our friendships feel like placeholders for the Real Thing? Why am I trying to urge my exemption from a law that doesn’t apply to me?

***

My friend rings my phone. She is around the corner. There’s a show downtown. But I am tired. But I was just upstate. (But the man I am seeing lives four flights above.) There will be a show tomorrow night. I am not to feel institutionalized in the coeternal hours of degenerate beauty queens because I decided to stay in (to be with him).

***

I walk down the stairs for a smoke, check the screen on my phone. Nothing. But he is tired. But he works seventy hour weeks. This is what makes us girls. No, I have friends. I was just upstate with my friends. My friends who also have friends. More friends than our male counterparts. Who is Lana to imply that there is nothing more commanding or serious than the love of a man for a woman?

***

My friend, she is alone tonight. I am alone, too. Darkened. But each of us is lonely.  But friendships are circumstantial. But love is barbaric and stupid and inhumane and tedious, regardless of gender. But love is beautiful and necessary, too. She would have done the same.

 

October 24, 2016

About Author

Gauraa Shekhar Gauraa is a freelance writer based out of New York and Mumbai. She founded The Sympathizer because she was sick of having editors reprimand her for ending sentences with prepositions and charging songs guilty of being "as contagious as cholera in a sewer pipe." She is currently working on her first book.


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