Why Oh Why, Delilah?


At age 29 I was happily married with two children. Increasingly, however, young people these days seem to be postponing this next stage in their lives until they’re well into their 30’s. Let me be very clear: I’m not saying this is wrong in any way. In fact, I’m all for building a career and a bank account, accumulating post-graduate degrees and titles, and seeing the world and all it has to offer before settling down. To my own kids, I’m saying I’m in no hurry to have grandchildren and sleep beside a grandmother every night. Take your time.

What I was wondering about is why my generation got married so early; and while walking around our village in a futile attempt to lose weight, I think I found the answer. Blame it on the music.

Trudging past my neighbors’ houses terrorizing the stray cats stretched out on the streets, I asked Spotify to feed me a stream of hit songs from the 1970’s, and there it was—Ella del Rosario teasing every teenage boy with words set to a seductive Brazilian song:

O, lumapit ka

Kung gusto mo akong halikan

Ba’t kita sasawayin?

Alam na alam mo namang

Ito'y gusto ko rin

Alam na alam mo namang

Ako'y kikiligin

Back in the day it was enough to make us get up and take the first step, to take a break from the arcade games, set aside the dummy rifle, put down the comic book (or Penthouse magazine), and scrounge up enough courage to say “Hello” because maybe, just maybe, the girl with the animé eyes would say “Hi” right back.

Then, Regine Velasquez added her voice to second-the-motion because, young and confused as we were back then, we literally took two steps back after that one step forward.

Huwag na magalinlangan pa

Kung gusto mo ako lumapit ka

Huwag nang patorpe-torpe pa

Minsan tuloy ako'y naiinis na

Di mo ba ito napapansin

Na ako'y may pagtingin din

Di mo ba ito napupuna

Na gusto na rin kita

(Repeat I)

Bakit ka ganyan

Puros ligaw tingin ka na lang

At nung minsan lalapit ka na

Bakit biglang tumalikod pa

KORO:

Urong sulong ka

Bakit ka ganyan

Urong sulong ka

(Repeat Koro twice)

Huwag nang pag-isipan pa

Kung gusto mo ako aminin mo na

Huwag nang patorpe-torpe pa

Minsan tuloy ako'y naiinis na

Bakit ka ganyan

Hindi kita maintindihan

Damdamin mo'y tinatago pa

Mabuti pang sabihin mo na

(Pound in message by repeating Koro until fade)

Regine’s song had more urgency. She didn’t seem to understand that we were studying hard, that while we fantasized about women, we had other dreams like becoming a member of the Supreme Court. She nagged us, bullied us and called us names. Torpe! Worst of all, she mocked our heartsick, distant yearning as nothing but “ligaw tingin”.

But it was Leah Navarro who delivered the coup de grâce.

Boy, mga sulyap mo'y malambing

Little boy, ngiti mo'y type ko rin

Datapwa’t walang mangyayari sa ligaw tingin

Boy, gusto mo ba akong yakapin

Little boy, halika't subukin

Ibig kong ang buong puso mo'y maging akin

Ligaw tingin

Lagi ka lang ligaw tingin

Kumilos ka ng mayroon marating

Ligaw tingin

Halika sa aking piling

Kailangan kong ikaw ay maangkin

Boy, Pag-Ibig ko'y iyong iyo

Little boy, nasasbik ako

Bilisan baka magbago pa ang isip ko

Shabada papara para para para

Shabada papara papapa

Shabada papara para para a

Ligaw tingin

Lagi ka lang ligaw tingin

Kumilos ka ng mayroon marating

Ligaw tingin

Halika sa aking piling

Kailangan kong ikaw ay maangkin

Boy Pag-Ibig…

We were men. We had come of age. And yet, we were being dismissed as little-boys in a driving tempo that had the women dancing the swing while we watched. Unacceptable. So, we stepped up, manned up and got hitched.

Now, I see it clearly. We were like hapless fish—hooked, reeled in, then pounded senseless and captured. In the 50’s they blamed it on the bossa nova. We can look back and point to the Pinoy Girl-Power Pop Songs of the 1970’s. Not that I’m complaining.

Shabada.

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