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Off the Deep End: How to ruin a relationship in one song

Back when I was a geeky poodle-skirted high school girl, a cool college guy liked me!

Unlike my usual suitors, his name wasn’t Sheldon. He didn’t wear a pocket protector. He didn’t work part time at his father’s stinky fish market.

He DID look like Tab Hunter, and for those saying, “Huh?” I’ll explain. Tab was a teen girl’s dream: a blue-eyed, blond boy-next-door with a surfer dude body. That took place several eternities ago, before Tab admitted he was not dreaming of girls.

My personal “Tab” also had had the bluest eyes, a swoon-level crew cut, and he didn’t reek of pickled herring.

I had come to a party with Sheldon, and my Tab had come alone. Upon first sighting, his blue eyes penetrated my soul far more than Sheldon’s Coke-bottle-thick-lensed-glasses. Tab and I spent the evening hugging and kissing while Sheldon did his calculus homework.

Ah, in reminiscing it all seems so romantic with Tab. In reality, he took me on one date and never called again.

I went back to Sheldon. He didn’t know I’d been gone.

Even while dating Sheldon, going out with others, and eventually marrying (twice), I mourned the loss of the oh-so-deep romance with Tab for years. I had no idea why he’d “left” me. I never completely put him out of my mind.

Recently, long-wed friends mentioned a song they’d picked as “their song” when first dating. Suddenly, I remembered I’d told Tab on our lone date that our song should be Teresa Brewer’s ”Let me go, Lover,” because the title contained the word lover. I had no idea what the lyrics were, and, even though I’d picked that title, no way would we be lovers. This was the mid-1950s. My mother made me wear a chastity belt. Still, I couldn’t understand why he never called again. Finally, I looked up the lyrics, figuring maybe they were the catalyst for Tab’s non call. Here is one verse:

“Oh, let me go, let me go, let me go, lover

Let me be set me free from your spell

You made me weep, cut me deep I can't sleep, lover

I was cursed from the first day I fell.”

My Tab must have heard it on the radio! That could be the big clue. I’d made him into a stalker. Finally, I’d solved the mystery of why he’d never called. At least in my head.

And because it took me so long to learn, let me share some sage advice: If one of you finds a cool person you think suitable mate material, here are some things to keep in mind.

One, if you pick an “our song,” go with lyrics that are innocuous, such as these from Ariana Grande’s pop single “Break Free”:

“I only wanna die alive” and

“Now that I've become who I really are.”

I’m not sure anyone could interpret meaning into those lyrics. Surely, though, no one would put you into stalker category. Maybe a grammatically challenged one.

Two, Sheldon did not become an Internet billionaire. He does, however, own a string of successful fish markets. And a line of high-end pocket protectors.

And three, on Facebook, my Tab now looks like a geriatric Homer Simpson.

Judi Veoukas is an award-winning columnist and writes from her home in Lake Villa.

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