You Don’t Get to Pick Your Song

by Chloe Jeffreys · 29 comments

in Sex, Love and Marriage

I envy couples who have good love songs. There were so many good ones from the 80s that could have been our love song. But none of them are.

Over the years I’ve told Jeff that we could pick another song (Honestly, who would know?), but he never goes for it. After 25 years of marriage, I’ve had to accept that you don’t get to choose your song.

Your song chooses you.


After telling Jeff, point-blank, that he didn’t have a snowball’s chance, I blissfully went on with my wonderful, brand spanking new, man-free life.

Can I just say right now that I loved living in a women’s recovery home? Maybe if you’ve lived in a sorority house you have some inkling of what I’m talking about, but it was even better than that. It was like getting a total childhood do-over.

For the first time in my life there were consistent rules, and I understood them.

  • Be home by 10pm on weeknights; 1am on the weekends.
  • Make your bed by 8am.
  • Do your assigned chores.
  • Have a Sponsor and Work the [AA] Steps

Turning Point is located in an old Victorian on Banker’s Hill in San Diego. My room was upstairs in the main house. It was the one with a balcony. A balcony!

I was assigned an old, stained bed—God only knows how many other women had slept in it before me—that had a nasty metal spring poking out of the middle of the mattress.

That was okay; I didn’t mind. I learned to curl around that metal spring.

In truth, I was grateful for the sharp reminder of how much I’d fucked up my life. I was not going to blow this precious second chance I’d been given.

One day, thanks to a generous donor, I received a new mattress and went immediately to The Broadway and bought myself a set of blue and white Laura Ashley flannel sheets, along with a matching comforter.

Curled up in those soft sheets, I felt just like Shirley Temple in The Little Princess after Cesar Romero gussies up her sparse little room. (I’d always loved that story and wished I could go to a boarding school where my real father–the one who loved me–would come and rescue me.)

And, for the first time in my life, I was allowed to put posters on my wall.

My mother and father had forbidden wall posters because they thought…………………………?

I have no idea what they thought. I guess they were worried that I’d lay in bed masturbating under the penetrating gazes of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman.


So, I’m sure to keep me away from sin, my parents hung a creepy, weird picture of Mormon Jesus on my bedroom wall.

Just so’s you know: Mormon Jesus is not like other Jesuses. To this day I can spot a Mormon Jesus from a mile away. Here is the Mormon Jesus I had on my wall.


It’s hard to imagine anyone catching this formidable—and extremely white—guy and crucifying him. He looks like he could kick some serious Pharisee/Roman ass, if you ask me.

If my parents thought that big ole scary Mormon Caucasian Jesus was going to keep me from masturbating, they seriously under-estimated my raging sex drive. While I’ll admit it was majorly guilt-inducing–what with angry white Jesus staring down at me like that—I just turned my back to him and closed my eyes.

Look, now I’m 50 shades of fucked up because I masturbated with my back to Jesus. If you have a daughter living in your home, here’s your takeaway Life Lesson: Don’t do this to her!


My wall at Turning Point, just like my heart, had no room for Jesus. Instead, I put up posters of Tom Cruise.

Stop laughing.

I mean it.

Stop laughing at me.

Tom Cruise was once very cream-worthy. There wasn’t a woman alive in 1986 who didn’t dream of finding her own Maverick and having him take her to bed, or risk losing her forever.

After seeing this movie, a girlfriend and I even tried sneaking onto Miramar Air Station so we could find a Maverick, or even a Goose. We were escorted off. Their loss. I didn’t want to marry a man in the military anyway.

I didn’t want to marry anyone.

I was going to college and living a great life. And when I was alone, cuddled up in my very own Laura Ashley flannel sheets, Tom Cruise watched benevolently while I masturbated.


Turning Point was heavily affiliated with the other recovery homes in San Diego, providing me with lots of sober social opportunities.

Every month there was a large AA Dance. Hundreds of sober people attended these events. And every month all the residents of Turning Point—dressed to the nines—went.

I love dancing. I had even seriously toyed with the idea of becoming a nude dancer at one point in my life.

Jeff, who I frequently saw—but just as frequently ignored—lived in the men’s recovery home next door.

Jeff also loved to dance.

Every month Jeff and I would find ourselves dancing together. To the same song.  And after a few months, it became our song. Mony, Mony by Billy Idol.

At some point, at every dance, the DJ would put on Mony, Mony. And no matter who we’d been dancing with up until that point, Jeff and I would search each other out and dance to our song until we were breathless.

What’s your song?

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Fox April 7, 2016 at 1:10 am

I don’t know precisely what Internet Surfing Journey led me to this years-old post about “Your Song”, but I have to comment.
Because I totally get you.
Because…telling people that “Our Song” was Let’s Go to Bed by the Cure hasn’t really been that easy. Or something that we’ve done publicly. Until now.


Bethany September 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

“The Joker”, by Steve Miller Band. I know. I know. Not only is it, well, “The Joker”, but it’s utterly undanceable, although we give it hell whenever we can.

It became our song when we were still in high school, and had dated for about a year. We were talking about the future, whether we wanted to live together then get married after college grad, or get married asap after high school grad and not infuriate our families by living in sin. I was frustrated by the whole discussion, my senior year was taking for-freaking-ever; I wanted the future to get here NOW. I mentioned that I didn’t know any high school sweethearts that had “made it”. Dh said it didn’t matter one bit what anyone else had done, we were talking about *us*.

Right about then, The Joker came on the radio. I had never heard it before. Dh and his friends would sing the lyrics, and I had always joked with them that they made it up. There is no song out there with lyrics that stoopid. When it was over, after singing every line, dh said something along the lines of “See? I told you about this song, and I’m telling you about us. We are going to make it, and we’re going to be great.”

He was right, and The Joker is our song.

I was going to write something funny and cute about how unsurprising it is that a couple whose song is Mony, Mony has a rock ‘n roller son. Then I remember that our song is The Joker, so I decided to STFU.


Chloe September 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Seeing all these other songs has made me feel much better about ours. In my imagination, everyone else in the world has “(I’ve had) The Time of My Life” as their love song.


Jack September 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

I used to hate being dragged to The Broadway at the Northridge Fashion Square. OTOH, my folks would usually get me an Orange Julius so it wasn’t a complete waste. 😉
Jack recently posted..Inside the Blogger’s Studio- A Dream, Er NightmareMy Profile


BigLittleWolf September 6, 2012 at 9:04 am


May I sheepishly confess I just guffawed?
BigLittleWolf recently posted..Mailing to a Dead WomanMy Profile


Chloe September 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

Stop laughing at me!!!

Even though now I think that between creepy Mormon Jesus and Tom Cruise, I was better off with Jesus.


Tricia O. September 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm

We were both small when it was released in 1980, but “Let My Love Open The Door” is our song. I don’t exactly remember when we decided that, but it’s on our wedding CD, so it must be true.

Loving your story, as always.
Tricia O. recently posted..Do the words ‘Parent Volunteer’ strike fear in your heart?My Profile


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I like that song. I wish it was ours. It’s wayyyy better than Mony Mony.

And yes, the words “Parent Volunteer” make me want to hide under my bed. I’m so glad those days are over!


Lorri September 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Hmm. Just what does it say about me that when I read that you went to The Broadway and I thought, OMG (yes, I actually said the letters, oh em gee), Chloe shopped at the Broadway! You’re a Southern California girl like me! I miss the Broadway. I still remember the little jingle, at the Bro-ahd- way!

Does that make the jingle my song?
Lorri recently posted..The ExploratoriumMy Profile


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm
Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Uh, maybe. I loved the Broadway. I don’t think anyone can really understand what it meant to me to go there and buy Laura Ashley sheets with my own money that I earned myself.


Melanie Morris September 5, 2012 at 7:45 am

Put Another Log on the Fire. Or Bridge Over Troubled Water. Probably both. 😉


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

This is funny. I keep suggesting that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” should be our song.


Karen September 5, 2012 at 7:42 am

I love your story of how your song became your song. Ours is “Have a Little Faith in Me,” by John Hiatt. And it’s held up over the years, probably because it’s a good motto for a long marriage.
Karen recently posted..Should young teens read book reviews?My Profile


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

That is a good song for the long haul. Long term marriage is an act of faith. And selective hearing. And patience. And so many qualities that are lacking in our culture today.


Anne (@notasupermom) September 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I never liked Tom Cruise. I preferred Ice Man.

Our song is either Night and Day sung by Frank Sinatra, or Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars.
Anne (@notasupermom) recently posted..Tools for Back to School from Boys and Girls Clubs of AmericaMy Profile


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Val Kilmer was hot. No doubt. He hasn’t aged well, though.


Brenda September 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Dh picked out our song while he was driving down from Reno, back to Sacramento after a USMC Reserve weekend, Steelheart’s “I’ll never let you go.” And yes, we danced to it at our wedding.

Big hair, baby.


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Big hair!! I’m going to write an entire post devoted to big hair. I had some big hair!


Kristi R. September 4, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Our song is “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry. Everywhere we went, that song was played. Football games at SDSU, Padre games, elevators, Benihana’s waiting room, regular radio – everywhere we went!

Your love story reads as a real one.


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm

It’s real. It isn’t altogether pretty. But it is ours. I love that song, by the way. Jeff and I never miss an opportunity to dance to that one.


Jo Heroux September 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I am so old…Tom Cruise…a child. My guy on the wall in posters and in my heart yet today…Elvis. The sexiest and most versatile singer ever, imho.
We don’t really have a song, but The Hawaiian Wedding Song has become our song over the 30+ years because we have spent a few anniversaries in HI and always found someone to sing it or play it for us. And it is my very, very favorite Elvis song. I love a few dozen of them, but this one is always top of my list.

Really good post, Chloe and I’m enjoying hearing your love story one bit at a time.

Rock On Young One!
Jo Heroux recently posted..Deja VuMy Profile


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Elvis was sex on a stick. There’s no doubt that he deserves his title as King. That boy was sexy.


Sharon Greenthal September 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Maybe Tom Cruise and Mormon Jesus are the same person…oh wait, he’s a Scientologist.

If you ask my husband, he’ll probably say “La Bamba” is our song, since that’s what we danced to the night we met.

However, he’d be wrong. Our song is Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” It was our first dance at our wedding. My my husband had nothing to do with that decision.
Sharon Greenthal recently posted..My Favorite Books of 2012 – So FarMy Profile


Chloe September 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

There is a deep irony here. I might have been better off sticking with creepy Mormon Jesus, huh?


Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator September 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Love your story, thanks as always for your hilarious honesty. I did like Tom Cruise back in the day, but now I only like him in movies where he’s not “Tom Cruise”… Tropic Thunder, Collateral, and Rock of Ages. And in a funny/weird note, last year I met the drummer for Billy Idol’s band.


Ginger September 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

We don’t have a song. Should I not admit that in public?

I will happily admit to being the one woman alive in 1986 who did not like Tom Cruise. I have always found him creepy. You will find this hard to believe, but I find him as creepy as your definitely creepy Mormon Jesus. The only film of his I’ve ever seen was Rain Man, and that is because I did not know he was going to be in it until I was seated in the theater.
Ginger recently posted..Once Upon a Time, Adoption is Not EvilMy Profile


Sharon D. September 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Easy like Sunday Morning by the Commodores. It’s a wonder we’re still together. Bobby Sherman = oh yeah. Tom Cruise = ewwwww. And I love hearing your story. I knew the basics but some of the little details are fun to hear. And I miss the Broadway.


Previous post:

Next post: