71. Hold on to me


Said you’d take me for a little dance
If you had a little time on your hands
Well all I do is push and shove
Just to get a little piece of your love
I want it all or nothin’ at all
I want it all or nothin’ at all

Springsteen, All or nothin’ at all



Now there’s an interesting word with, for most, a purely negative connotation. But I’d argue there’s context to be considered. We’ve probably all been in relationships where the other was unbearably smothering, where their dependence upon us became like a cloying, choking cloud of asphyxiating gas. Or maybe – God help us – we’ve been that other person.

In men, this often manifests as paranoid suspicions and inappropriate jealousy. That kind of unhealthy dependence can become dangerous – even violent. In women, clinginess can often present as a stiflingly intense attentiveness, a need to do (and be) absolutely everything for their partner.

That second sort really doesn’t sound so bad compared to the first but, in both cases, the real issue arises from an acute imbalance. To put it frankly, one party loves the other more than they feel they are loved. This is when the cling becomes unbearable to the one who feels the least.

Basically, the one in the more powerful position has to endure the doubts and insecurities of the less regarded half of the relationship. In the end, it becomes intolerable for both parties.

I have certainly experienced this sort of relationship. I even wrote a song about it at the time (no, I don’t randomly write songs about my love life, I was in a band in those days). When we went in to record a demo, I decided to call it I Don’t Need You. Much of it revolved around that clinginess which so vexed me back then (we’re talking twenty odd years ago).

But here’s the thing, if there is no imbalance, if both parties are equally in love, the cling factor really feels very different. Both Jersey and I can feel incredibly clingy at times; it’s a consequence of being so much apart. The difference is when either of us is being that way, the other kind of loves being the recipient. I’d have never believed that possible until this.

When there’s no desperation behind it, no sense that the other might be slipping away, cling morphs into something else, something actually quite positive; even bonding. At least, this has been our experience.

In a sense, I’m almost ashamed I wrote that song. There’s not a lot of empathy there. It’s pretty cold really, I can actually hear the contempt in my voice.

I’ve thankfully matured a lot since my band days, learned that life is never quite as we imagine it. There are so many ways we can slide towards becoming an arsehole without ever intending to. What always saves us, in the end, is love. Real love unfucks the world and turns insensitive young musicians into older, wiser, (and sometimes, clingier) partners.




11 thoughts on “71. Hold on to me

      1. Well, I’m glad you found something in it to like.
        I had the pleasure of working with some pretty talented players. It was a fun time of my life.
        That dyed black hair is way embarrassing now, though. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I was told I was clingy once upon the time. It made me retreat a little from showing affection in later relationships but like you I met somebody who just liked me being me. I’m glad you found that special someone in Jersey Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

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