Carrie Underwood is a multiple Grammy winning country artist who first rose to fame as the Season 4 (2005) winner of American Idol. With more than 150 worldwide awards, Underwood did exactly what Simon Cowell predicted she would do when he said, “you will sell more records than any other previous winner.”
She did that and a whole lot more. Underwood is considered to be one of the most successful artists of any music genre.
One of Underwood’s early successes was her 2007 hit, “Before He Cheats,” which describes the basic theme of the song. While it’s not exactly a groundbreaking theme in country music, it’s a great song and I confess to having it on both of my ipods.
If you’ve never heard the song, you can click on the title above, but I’d like to focus on the chorus, which goes as follows:
“I dug my key into the side
Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive
Carved my name into his leather seats
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights
I slashed a hole in all four tires
Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats”
The first point I would like to make here is that all of the actions described in the chorus are against the law. They fall into categories, depending on the state in which their committed like Vandalism, Destruction of Property and Damage to Property. If that “pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive” is worth more than $500, they can be felonies, punishable by more than a year in prison.
A conviction on any of those charges can follow a person around for life, forcing them to answer “Yes” to the convicted felon question on job applications. A felony conviction for an act of violence can also put a number of professional licenses at risk.
A good lawyer may be able to get those records cleared after a few years, but it’s an expense and a hassle that most people would probably like to avoid.
The unfortunate object lesson of “Before He Cheats” is that any actions you take to demonstrate your displeasure are legitimate and justifiable. They are not.
Our legal system does not allow for anyone to take on the roll of judge, jury and executioner, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. While cheating may be despicable, unforgivable or any of a dozen words ending in -able, one thing that it is not is punishable by law.
Estimates vary, but somewhere between 30% and 60% of all married individuals (men and women) will cheat on their partners at least once. That number may be higher for couples who are not married because the stakes are not as high. Cheating may not be right, but it happens.
As an old fashioned guy, I like to think that men are the real culprits of infidelity. We’re weak, we’re scoundrels and dogs and we have a genetic tendency to think with the wrong head. On behalf of the weaker sex, I apologize ladies. To paraphrase what the scorpion said to the frog, it’s our nature.
All that being said, you can’t go around committing illegal acts of violence because your man cheats on you. You’re the stronger, wiser sex. We look to you to demonstrate judicious behavior. Besides, you don’t want to look like you’ve been victimized by that philandering loser, do you?
What if we turn it around and say that it’s the girl’s “pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive”? Are we okay with the injured boyfriend carving his initials into the leather seat?
Maybe you live in New York City and don’t have a car. Is it okay for him to sneak into your apartment and break the heels off your favorite Manolo Blahniks?
What if the boyfriend came out for a smoke and saw Carrie smashing his headlights with a Louisville slugger? What would she do with that bat when he charged at her in a blind rage? She’d be looking at unintended consequences which could elevate the crime from vandalism to something homicidal.
At the end of the first verse of “Before He Cheats” Carrie says,
“Right now, he’s probably buying
Her some fruity little drink
‘Cause she can’t shoot whiskey”
That may be a general disservice to women, many of whom may enjoy their fruity little drinks. While I’m definitely a whiskey guy, I have been known to partake of the fruity little drinks on rare occasions. We shouldn’t think less of women who don’t shoot whiskey. We might even have some questions for those who do.
Two questions that come to mind are:
1. Was Carrie shooting whiskey or Tequila before going on that criminal rampage in the parking lot?
2. What if, after seven shots of whatever, she accidentally vandalized the wrong guy’s “pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive”?
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