For “men,” “trading in for a new model” has always been commonplace (and parlance)–even if the current “model” he has is already youthful to begin with. And even though being crass about switching to a new girl at a moment’s notice has been rendered less and less socially acceptable to brag about (relegated to the “behind closed doors” phenomenon called “locker room talk,” as the Orange One is well-versed in), it doesn’t mean his actions can’t still scream the words not being said. Words that pertain to, as Olivia Rodrigo recently pointed out, just another form of invoking déjà vu. In fact, that’s what her latest song is called.
A song that’s all about the type of “man” who feels perfectly comfortable re-conjuring the same memories he shared with his ex even though that ex thought he at least respected her enough and valued what they had enough to make some vague attempt at more originality with the new bia. Then again, maybe it speaks to the notion that, as Rodrigo elucidates lyrically, “men” are ultimately reliant upon women who can make decisions about activities–this includes, apparently, driving to Malibu, getting strawberry ice cream, trading jackets and, unfortunately, watching reruns of Glee. Because, obviously, most “men” lack a sense of originality (even if Rodrigo showcases a predilection for basicness, at least she comes up with something). That’s why they do so often rip every great line they’ve ever had from a woman (*cough, cough* F. Scott Fitzgerald).
And it’s honestly a wonder “men” were ever deemed to “wear the pants” (before Katharine Hepburn broke down that barrier) when they lack any viable form of assertiveness or dominance in terms of being able to steer the memories ultimately cultivated from a romance (sort of like what Clementine does for Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Then again, there was a time when “Johnny” loved to take “Susie” to “Lovers Lane” circa the 50s and make out, but that was more “the thing to do,” than any testament to “Johnny’s” originality in coming up with “interesting ways” to spend time with “Susie.”
So yes, for the “man” who appears endlessly “okay” with re-creating the exact replica of a dead relationship with a different eventual corpse, there is a special category of dicklessness. For it also indicates a certain soullessness and spinelessness, to boot. That’s a lot of important missing parts.
And yeah, maybe we’re all guilty in some way of trying to replace an old relationship with a new one. Telling ourselves that with a tweak here or a modification there, it can be just like that original edition but better. Because clearly things didn’t work out for whatever reason with the “old permutation,” even though they were probably the love of your life, but whatever (like Haddaway asked, “What Is Love?” anyway). So you try your best to make it work in a similar vein with a new person. It just seems as though “men” (short of being John Cusack in a rom-com) are much more prone to and skeevier about this behavior of “re-creating.” It doesn’t bother them to go to the same places and do the same things with a different girl because, well, they’re a pretty mentally checked out breed, so maybe it never even fully occurs to them what they’re doing. That’s just lazy sociopathy in motion. And why they can’t explain their ever-present sense of déjà vu.