Wanting you back isn’t what it used to be. What used to be a basic feature of most romantic narratives has become a problematic struggle of wills and personal autonomy. In light of Feminist hero Robin Thicke’s latest noble stab at the genre, here’s an overview of history’s greatest attempts to GET HER (/HIM, I guess) BACK.
I: 11-year-old Michael Jackson.
Reason for break-up: Not wanting you around.
Method: Recording one of the most beloved pop singles of all time.
Words: “I want you back!”
Did it work? The break-up never even happened.
You: this kid.
Reason for break-up: You hurt her so.
Method: Innovative second-via-third-person message delivery through John Lennon.
Words: “You know it’s up to you…apologize to her.”
Did it work? Sorry, girl. You’re barking up the wrong tree.
You: Poor you.
Reason for break-up: You are a strong, autonomous human being with reasonable standards from creepiness.
Method: Threat of constant observation.
Words: “Every [result of action] you [action] . . . I’ll be watching you.”
Did it work? Unfortunately.
I: John Cusack.
You: Ione Skye.
Reason for break-up: Advancement of ’80s high school movie plot line.
Method: Holding boombox over head underneath bedroom window w/ Peter Gabriel.
Words: Dreamy gaze.
Did it work? Honestly, I haven’t seen this movie. But I’m going to assume yes.
Rapey-ness: N/A (’80s teen movie).
You: half-Japanese girl who might also be a lesbian.
Reason for break-up: You think that I’m some kind of freak, uh-huh.
Method: Embarrassing self-exposition via lo-fi.
Words: “If you’d come back to me, then you would surely see / that I’m not fooling around.”
Did it work? Definitely not.
Rapey-ness: Self aware.
MY FRIEND IN HIGH SCHOOL
I: My friend in high school.
You: My other friend in high school.
Reason for break-up: Advancement of 2000s high school movie plot line.
Method: Asked her to be his “weekend bitch.”
Words: “Do you want to be my weekend bitch?”
Did it work? Fuck no. (But actually, kind of.)
Rapey-ness: Problematic word choice.
I: Chris Brown.
Reason for break-up: Chris Brown is a terrible human being.
Method: Emotional breakdown during Michael Jackson/Katrina victims/self-reflection tribute performance of “Man In The Mirror.”
Words: “This . . . wind is blowing my . . . who am I to . . . ”
Did it work? Yes.
Rapey-ness: Chris Brown is SO cute!
You: Estranged ex-wife/high school sweetheart Paula Patton.
Method: Emotionally confusing video featuring naked women touching chest, bruises, text messages; naming album after you.
Words: “This is only the beginning…”
Did it work: I kind of hope so – he’s clearly very upset, and America needs a successful celebrity marriage that doesn’t involve suppressing video footage of Solange Knowles. But given the fact that the world already thinks he’s a scumbag, and that pretty much everything he does is putting more and more feet in his mouth – probably not.