We’ve all been there. You’re pining over someone who’s just broken your heart, or you haven’t quite convinced of your potential perfection as a couple. You play that same song over and over. You eschew calories for the tub or bag or bowl of whatever’s gonna at least make your tongue and stomach feel a bit less alone.
We get you. We’ve been there, too.
When I’m walking my dog around every corner of my Washington Heights hood, my hat pulled tight over my head and my eyes imploring the sky to make something fucking change!, I listen to these. Some more than others. Some over and over and over again. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes I dance. My dog thinks I’m weird.
- Everywhere But Here by Robbie Gil: This is especially great right after a breakup when every stupid thing reminds you of the person who just smashed your heart.
- I Gave You All by Mumford and Sons: You angry? Yeah, me too.
- Hold On by Tom Waits: When you still have hope. You stupid idiot.
- I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You by Colin Hay: Feeling sweet? Feeling sad? Missing someone from a billion years ago? Drinking coffee? Listen to this.
- Lonely by Tom Waits: Ugh. Sigh. The longer I’m single, the more this song makes me wanna become a charcoal artist or something and just blacken the world.
- My Man from Funny Girl, sung by Babs: This is unrequited love at its worst. This is, like, for day one, two and three of the after-the-breakup playlist.
- Big Picture by Robbie Gil: When the trees are swaying and they can’t hear me praying, and they know something I don’t.
- Stay with Me by Bette Midler: When you’re not ready to let go, let some Janis as embodied by Bette scream it out for you.
- Say It to Me Now by Glen Hansard: If you have something to say, say it to me now. Am I right?
- True Love Will Find You in the End by Matthew Good: Here’s hoping. Here’s to always hoping.
- Oh, What a Day by Ingrid Michaelson: When you’re finally, fully, completely recovered, and you’re ready for something good.
- Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad? by Derek and the Dominos: Eric Clapton is on my list three times. His lyrics and vocals epitomize the broken unrequited lover, for me. And the guitar solo in this song in particular is both heart wrenching and tasty as hell.
- Black by Pearl Jam: “I know you’ll be the sun in someone else’s sky, but why… why… WHYYYYY can’t it be mine?” Crushes my soul every time.
- Creep by Radiohead: For when you feel completely unworthy of her perfection.
- Have You Ever Loved a Woman? by Eric Clapton: For when the object of your unrequited desire is in a relationship with your best friend.
- Valentine by Robbie Gil: For when the day is fast approaching and sometimes you spend it pining over someone in particular. Be prepared: this song is devastating.
- Hurt by Johnny Cash: This isn’t really about unrequited love, but it is dark, introspective and beautifully tragic… just like I feel when I‘m unloved.
- Make You Feel My Love by Adele: Her cover of Bob Dylan’s great song perfectly expresses the felt need to educate the object of your affections about your tremendous capacity for love.
- Layla by Eric Clapton: Not just one of the greatest unrequited love songs ever. One of the greatest songs ever. Period.
- The Night Before by The Beatles: When you’re getting mixed signals and want to good signals to turn into consistent ones.
- Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains: Unrequited love can lead to incredibly dark times. This tune reflects that better than most,
- Estranged by Guns N Roses: “You took everything. Yeah, you took everything from me.” Oof. Epic song.
I have a lot of food issues that mean I can’t just go grab some Hostess boxes and crawl under the covers. So I have a two-thronged approach to feeding my insides when they hurt.
Sustenance: I cook myself something really indulgent, like buying a shitload of lamb shanks and braising them in wine and aromatics in my Dutch Oven for five hours. I drink the rest of the bottle of wine – and maybe another – while it’s cooking. I may make a batch of organic-gluten-free-low-glycemic cookies and eat half of them while it cooks, too. But it’s all about the process: splurging on great ingredients and finding solace in the skills I have in preparing them.
Indulgence: I’m generally a healthy person, in that my diet is really clean and I meditate / yoga myself constantly. But in times when my body is overwhelmed by a broken or yearning heart, I give myself a day off… or two. I smoke things. I drink whisky. The food part doesn’t matter. It’s usually Irish whisky. Powers, mostly. Sometimes with a piece of ice. Sometimes with hot water, lemon and honey. Whisky makes me warmer. So there.
Sustenance? Um… what? No thanks.
- Fried chicken drenched in hot sauce, followed by scraping plate with my finger and licking up every morsel of hot sauce there is.
- Ben N Jerry’s Chubby Hubby flavor.
- Sour Patch Kids.
- Popcorn loaded with a sickening amount of butter and salt.
- An enormous steak and seafood dinner that’s WAY too expensive, but I do it anyway. ‘Cause FUCK IT!
- Katz’s Pastrami Sandwich and Sour Pickles.
- Beef Lo-Mein, boneless spare ribs and egg drop soup from my corner Chinese food place. Also, a Pu-Pu platter with a shitload of dumplings.
- Whiskey. Lots and lots of whiskey. Preferably with Jacqueline, crying into each other’s arms.