Published by The Good Men Project, Feb 27, 2017 (Click to view)
Dierks Bentley is sleeping with your wife. That’s right, Dierks Bentley the country music star. Ok, he’s not literally sleeping with her, in fact he’s married and doesn’t even live around here. But he is. He’s sleeping with her and they’re doing it nearly every single day.
I hear he drives her to the country, far away from her responsibilities and far away from her marriage. With her feet on the dashboard, she sits back as his old truck winds down a dirt road to a secluded cabin. Under the starlight he holds her in his arms and tells her that she’s beautiful. She’s breathtaking and nothing in the world matters - except her. He can’t wait to get her out of that dress. He doesn’t care about you, because you don’t deserve her. In fact, he tells her that she should break up with you and soon that dress is nothing but a cotton pile on a hardwood floor - a beautiful or painful sight, depending upon your perspective.
This is where they go. Every single day. In her mind.
There’s a reason more women now listen to country music than men. Routine is the slow death of passion and country singers are telling our wives and girlfriends the things we stopped saying long ago. “You’re gorgeous. You’re appreciated. Don’t worry, I’ve got you.” But it’s more than adoration. Their words represent presence and vulnerability. They let her know that she is seen, especially across a crowded bar (or across the dinner table). They let her know that she’s worth the pursuit and the risk of rejection. Country music song writers and musicians know this and they’re making a killing off it, in the bank and in the back of the tour bus.
You don’t believe me? Go to a concert and see for yourself. They’re not hard to find now that country is the #1 music genre in America. And once you’re there, wade through the anticipation. Notice that the crowd is mostly women, married women in their 30’s and 40’s, and dressed like it’s a single girls’ Saturday night in Nashville. Sure, there are guys there too, but this isn’t your old-school Charlie Daniel’s Band type of crowd. These women are there to feel that cowboy who’s been driving her down that dirt road.
Picture this. The singer walks on stage like he’s got dirt on his boots. He’s unshaven and wears his hat low. Muscles bulge from a t-shirt as if to say, “I work for a living.” But he’s also an artist whose arms are covered in tattoos. Forget that his image is a carefully crafted marketing façade. To her, he’s a cowboy poet who’s got life by the horns, and also a man who’s willing to dive into love with an open heart and risk it all for her. So when he plays that guitar she imagines those hands are playing her with the same skill and tenderness. And when he lays his heart open on the stage, there’s not a dry pair of jeans in the house.
I won’t write another word without acknowledging the talent, influence and power of female country artists (my next article). It’s not all about men singing to women. But if you’re having that marriage, the one with less affection, less sex and more strip clubs, and if your wife or girlfriend is listening to Chase Rice, then I assure you that something else is on her mind.
“What if that $74.95 you spent at the store, takes the rest of the night off as it slides to the floor.”
- Chase Rice, Whisper
And yes, sex is a common theme in country. But I think you’ll find that for any unfulfilled need that a woman may have, there’s written many country songs about it. Turn on your radio and you will hear lyrics about presence, attention, simplicity and safety. Songs about unbridled pursuit. If she feels unnoticed, then she may fantasize about being that girl who gets seen from across the crowded bar - and it’s not hard to find a country song about that.
And here’s the thing - She deserves your presence. She deserves your vulnerability. And if you’ve fucked up, she deserves your regret. Fail to give her what she deserves and I assure there’s a lonely cowboy sittin’ at the end of the bar who’s going to tell her that, “He doesn’t deserve you,” and convince her that, “You should break up with him, at least for tonight.” And even if they’re just lyrics, the fact that she’s receptive to those words should wake you up like an alarm about how you need to change - which, by the way, is another common country theme.
Look, I’m not saying you need to run out and buy a pair of Tony Lamas. I’m not even suggesting that you need to enjoy country music. I am telling you take notice because another man is driving her to a secluded cabin. Realize that YOU can be the one to drive her there, only it doesn’t have to be an actual cabin. The destination represents a place without distraction. It represents your full presence, whenever you’re with her.
Think about the next time she’s driving home from a long day at work. She’s sitting in traffic when that country song plays on the radio. Her imagination wanders to that cabin. But instead of that cowboy, in her mind it’s your arms holding her under the stars. It’s you sliding those straps over her shoulders as her dress falls to the hardwood floor.
The choice is yours. You can open your heart now and give her the presence and vulnerability she deserves. Or you can sit at the bar later and cry over your whiskey about how you let her get away. Either way, they both make great country songs.
- Derek Robert Delahunt