A wise man once exclaimed: “I thought love was only true in fairy tales, meant for someone else but not for me.” That man was Neil Diamond, in a song performed by The Monkees (and later covered by Smash Mouth), but that love, at least for me, happened on February 10th, 2018, when I saw SZA perform at a Proenza Schouler perfume release event in New York City, New York. The perfume might have been called “Arizona,” but the event was SZA, and when I saw her face, I was a believer, without a trace of doubt in my mind.
In a conversation about love, Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords once said: “I think she might be the one… when it happens to you, you’ll know.” When Bret McKenzie reminds him that he’s called other women “the one” before, Jemaine replies, “some people are lucky, I’ve had a few ‘ones,'” and that night in Chelsea, I saw my second “one.” The first of course, being my girlfriend, who was at the event with me, but the second “one,” of which Jemaine assures there are “a few” of, was the talented and beautiful, SZA.
On so many of her songs from her debut record Ctrl, she speaks of men that can’t commit, satisfy, or give her the attention that she deserves. Who are all of these men ignoring someone as clearly amazing as SZA? Even at a fragrance release party, SZA performed as if she hadn’t sung “Broken Clocks” at the GRAMMY Awards just two week before. Her charisma matched her earnestness, and she shined on that tiny stage.
I could say that she looked right at me when she said “Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday/I just keep him satisfied through the weekend,” and I could say that in that moment, our love was real, but when I turned to my girlfriend by my side, and made a face that was to say “did you see that? she looked right at me!,” I knew that this love was as real as my previous affair with Busta Rhymes. That is to say, entirely unrequited and fictional. Until then however, I shall remain a believer and treasure SZA’s glance for the burst of passion that it was, as I still have my girlfriend, and “I couldn’t leave her if I tried.”