Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone

Buzz, Heartbreak

Kris Allen's choice on American Idol is a metaphor for male obsession.

Evidently, last night's American Idol was something. That Paula Abdul* wasn't even the most difficult judge. Per Yahoo's OMG blog, that honor belongs to Kara DioGuardi. Some critics think her act is tired, though, somehow, Paula, Randy and Simon's shtick is daisy fresh and ready for silk screens, dawg. I've never been sure why they brought on an extra judge; A) it's a shark-jumping move, you may as well bring on a funky cartoon dog on a skateboard (or an even more adorable Huxtable) and B) isn't there a chance of a deadlock with an even number of voters? But the real star of the show last night was Kris Allen. His rendition of "Ain't No Sunshine" brought the roof down, literally (figuratively).

While a touch cliché, the song (originally by Bill Withers) perfectly frames timeless archetypal gender traits: dudes are obsessive and ladies are capricious (think the film version of Holly Golightly). Anytime she goes away.

I'll speak to male obsession, I've too little experience with female fickleness and I'm frankly a little impetuous myself. There's something great about men's ability to be consumed by something. Tunnel vision makes things like mountain height, valley depth and river width more or less irrelevant. But, that which we consume will eventually eat our faces off. With any boon, there's a downside (mayhaps the downside of to multitaskedness is flightiness, hmmm?). And she's always gone too long.

On the ventral side of men's Ahabism is weirdly compulsive melancholia. Most worthwhile dudes go through a The Cure-esque period after they've been dumped (and even sometimes when they're the firer). If you want Lloyd Dobler, you sometimes have to deal with Prince Hamlet. Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.

While men are two and a half times more likely to commit suicide after a divorce, reasonably well-adjusted fellas are not going to take a header off the Chrysler Building if you no longer want to serve them your potato chowder. Wonder if she's gone to stay?

The punch-line of this weird rambling mess is that sometimes a lack of attentiveness on his part isn't a sign that he doesn't care. It's a defense against getting further wrapped up. In the same way that the guy who said "winning isn't everything" never won anything, the guy who said "It's better to have loved and lost, then to never have loved at all" never lost anyone. And sometimes the f*cking game is on. Use your best discretion before quirking out. It's not warm when she's away.

*Is that the same Paula Abdul who rocked out with MC Scat Kat back in the day? Weird… all of it.