Written by Percy Sledge and first recorded in 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman” hit a cultural nerve. The song shot to the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Another version, recorded twenty-five years later by Michael Bolton, also went straight to the top of the charts, and the song now sits at number 54 on Rolling Stone’s list of the five hundred greatest songs of all time. Nothing is more prominent than love and sex in Western media, and “When a Man Loves a Woman” is an example of the message whispered in romantic ears throughout the world.
What does Mr. Sledge have to say about a man’s love for a woman? What are the signs of true masculine love? Copyright restrictions won’t allow us to quote the song’s lyric in full, but most readers know the words by heart anyway. To review, when a man loves a woman:
- He becomes obsessed and can’t think of anything else.
- He’ll exchange anything, even the world, for her company.
- He’s blind to any fault she may have, and will abandon even his closest friend if that friend tries to warn him about her.
- He’ll spend all his money trying to hold her attention.
- And last but not least, he’ll sleep in the rain if she tells him to.
We’d like to suggest an alternative title for this song: “When a Man Becomes Pathologically Obsessed and Sacrifices All Self-Respect and Dignity by Making a Complete Ass of Himself (and Losing the Woman Anyway Because Really, Who Wants a Boyfriend Who Sleeps Out in the Rain Because Someone Told Him Too?).”
Sex at Dawn
Ryan and Jethá 2010