In the summer of 2011, I listened with great enthusiasm to the Taylor Swift record, “Speak Now.” A female friend gave me the extended cut CD because she thought it was time I joined the movement. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and left it in my car to listen to daily as I drove to work.
This happened during a time when her following was growing bigger by the day because of the music she wrote, not the feuds she was involved in. For some reading this, you might remember the sweet innocence of this version of the artist before she turned twenty-one.
Anyway, as a songwriter myself, I loved picking apart her music at the time. I loved how she chose to write about her own life with such sincerity. I loved how adept she was at combining melody with deeper themes that spoke of heartbreak, love, and pain experienced at such a young age.
As a relationship-minded guy, it dawned on me during that summer just how much knowledge I could glean about women by listening to her songs. When I take myself back to that space, I still feel the timelessness of one song in particular—the first track on the album—because I lived it too, albeit on the male side.
Here are three lessons I learned from listening to “Mine,” the first single from the album that seemed to be playing everywhere that year.
1. The protection a man offers is still something women crave
“Do you remember, we were sittin’, there by the water?
You put your arm around me for the first time
You made a rebel of a careless man’s careful daughter
You are the best thing, that’s ever been mine”
There’s always been an intimacy to the language Swift chooses in her songs and here, in the chorus, we find the perfect example.
There’s no mention of hugging or kissing or even making out, just an arm placed around her while she and her boyfriend sit outside overlooking the water near where they live.
To me, this speaks to the kind of protection that women are looking for from the man they’re in love with. It’s a security—both physical and emotional—that allows her to surrender and let go and fall slowly until she’s found a safe place to land.
I’ve always known that women are completely capable of taking care of themselves, but even so, I’ve also known they love it when a guy is able to show her that he can be the one to do this also.
They want to let him, but there has to be a layer of safety first and this is why protection is so important.
2. Women appreciate a man who gets to know her for who she is
“Flash forward, and we’re takin’ on the world together
And there’s a drawer of my things at your place
You learn my secrets and you figure out why I’m guarded
You say we’ll never make my parents’ mistakes”
Most women are on a quest throughout their adult lives to find guys who will put in the time to actually get to know them. How do we know when she’s found one of these? Well, there are usually wedding bells involved if he feels the same way about her.
We hear about this search though, and it usually pops up when she talks about her sexual experiences within dating. Either she’s with guys who are just interested in sleeping with her or she’s with ones who are looking for “something more”—and sometimes she’ll even ping-pong back and forth between the two as she attempts to navigate the tricky world of undefined relationships.
That’s what the lyric about figuring out “my secrets” is about to me.
The guy that she’s with has stuck around and put in the work to know her in a deep way. There’s trust there and where trust lies, one always find the seeds of intimacy.
3. Women long to be fought for
“And I remember that fight, two-thirty a.m.
‘Cause everything was slipping right out of our hands
I ran out, crying, and you followed me out into the street…
Braced myself for the goodbye…”
This is the big one as it’s something women can go through entire lives hoping for, but never experiencing. This particular line could only be written by a woman: I ran out crying and you followed me.
It’s an intimate moment between two lovers that speaks of what it takes to hold space for a woman even in the moments of argument, anger, and frustration.
How does her man hold space for her here? Simply by being present.
He doesn’t run away and he doesn’t stay inside the apartment either. He follows her and stays with her in the moment of crisis as the cars keep rushing by.
Have you ever been privileged to hear a woman say how much she wants a man who will fight for her? Well, here’s a secret: the best way you can fight for her in these moments is simply by showing up and being present with her, sometimes even in complete silence.
Having been there myself, she’ll feel your strength if your presence isn’t false. If she trusts you, she’ll feel safe enough to speak her truth, too.
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Photo credit: YouTube/”Mine” by Taylor Swift