she liked Imaginary Men best of all

They’ll never break your heart, they’ll never make you cry

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So it has been The Year of the Boy Band, and as an unabashed lover of singing, dancing pretty boys who look good shirtless – I’ve given quite a bit of thought as to why this style of band and type of music has been so massively successful over the years.

The obvious answer is that Boy Bands are fun – they sing poppy tunes and do slick dance moves and dress real nice and have good hair. But I think there is something more to it than just that surface attraction. Here’s my theory:

Boy Bands say all the things females want the real males in their lives to say – but they never do

I’ll never break your heart / I’ll never make you cry / I’d rather die than live without you / I’ll give you all of me honey that’s no lie

Who doesn’t want to hear THAT? Any girl with a broken heart wants to hear Mr. Right come along with assurances that he’s NOT like that Jerkface that dumped you

I will love you more than that / I won’t say the words then take them back 

Or what if you’re still with that Jerkface but this amazing guy comes along and he adores you and wants to give you all the romance you’re missing out on?

I try / to go on like I never knew you / I’m awake but my world is half asleep / I pray for this heart to be unbroken / But without you all I’m going to be is incomplete

But maybe you dumped Jerkface and now he’s really heartbroken (which he totally deserves for being a Jerkface to you when you were together) which feels pretty good now, doesn’t it?

I just want you to know / That I’ve been fighting to let you go / Some days I make it through / And then there’s nights that never end

Yes! Who doesn’t want Jerkface to come crawling back, begging for your forgiveness and admitting he will never be so lucky as to get someone as great as you again??

All the messed up things I do / That I swear I’ll make em up to you / Before you go and have enough / Just let me make it better / I’ll try and measure up / I’ll try and measure up to you

Oh that Jerkface! He’s sloppy and doesn’t return texts in a timely manner, and sometimes buys you a totally inappropriate gift – but he knows he’s a screw up and he loves you for loving him despite all his shortcomings.

These sentiments and promises of love, fidelity and devotion appeal to girls of all ages – from the young ones who’ve never had their hearts broken, to the older ones who have bruised hearts and relationship baggage – it is just nice to HEAR it from a man (even if it is several men singing in harmony and emoting like it’s their last day on this earth!)

No lie – this music gets me through a lot of drama and Stupid Boy Shit. It’s a fantasy millions of us have bought in to for decades. Believe me, it makes putting up with Real Boys a lot easier when you know a Boy Band will be there to catch you when a Real Boy lets you down.

Author: Amy H. Johnson

Amy H. Johnson is the author of The Fangirl Files a memoir about Boy Bands, TV Boyfriends and imaginary betrothals to 80s English pop stars. She prefers to be referred to as a "Cute Famous Boy Aficionado".

4 thoughts on “They’ll never break your heart, they’ll never make you cry

  1. This is all very true!! And while you can say it about other bands too, it just works with a boy band. Who wouldn’t want four/five guys to sing to you about how twisted the road of love is and that stupid douchey prick bastard doesn’t deserve you because you are too good for them? And they are so sensitive to your needs and make you feel so much better about yourself. Yeah dude, try competing with THAT!

    Side note about INBYH: my sister made my mother pick us up from middle school the day the video premiered on MTV because she didn’t think the bus would get us home in time and she’d miss it!

  2. As always, you have a way of getting your point across with song quotes *sigh* Music is the one constant in my life that can keep up with my moods and, no matter the mood, in the end, makes me smile.

  3. Absolutely Awesomely Stated!!!! And Absolutely TRUE! All of it. And, if I may add, this is also pretty much why I think Donnie Wahlberg is so popular. On his R&B BackRub radio show, for instance, he tells his fans what they wish some man or their man would tell them – what’s right, and good, and beautiful about them. He puts them first – in concert, on the street, on the cruise, in his tweets. I always say: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE CUTE BOY FACTOR IN ANYTHING. But Boy Bands and their songs want us to NEVER UNDERESTIMATE OURSELVES…

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