For people of my generation, Vanessa Williams's "Save the Best For Last" was a theme for the yearbook, or title for the last dance of eighth grade, or in my case, both. At that dance, they were almost compelled to play "Save the Best For Last", last, because to do otherwise would be a slap in the face to Vanessa Williams. But was the song as romantic as I remembered?
When Louise was driving me home from the movies, the song came on the radio, and we were struck by how oddly unromantic the lyrics are:
Sometimes the snow comes down in June
Sometimes the sun goes round the moon
Meteorological irregularities, an abrupt overthrow of the heliocentric model of the solar system - Vanessa is describing a world where pigs fly. "I said I'd never hook up with you until hell froze over, but now that Hades is icing up...well, you want to go for it?"
(Just so this is clear, I am not referring to the X-rated video queen, but rather to the Vanessa with a singing career.)
At its heart, this is a song about deciding to finally settle:
It's not the way I hoped
Or how I planned
"Enough" is the romantic word where Vanessa finally lands. When you're on the dance floor in the auditorium that doubles as a cafeteria, hands on the hips of the girl across from you, careful to keep your upper bodies at least 9-12 inches apart, you don't think you're celebrating a love that just qualifies as "sufficient". Did Vanessa's man really save the best for last, or did he simply arrive at "last", shrug his shoulders, and decide it was for the best?
Sometimes the very thing you're looking for
Is the one thing you can't see
Sometimes the very thing you're looking for is the one thing you've ignored for years and years, never thinking you'd lower your standards far enough that it became feasible. But now we're standing, liquored up, emotionally dead, ready to surrender completely our hopes of ending up with not just our first choices, but also choices 2-24. Isn't this world a crazy place?
As a caution, "saving the best for last" is also how you end up married to Rick Fox.