When I first heard the song, A Fine Romance, sung by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, I was blown away. Who wrote this song? Was it a woman married to a gay man? I am not sure we will ever know.
A Fine Romance
A fine romance with no kisses
A fine romance, my friend, this is
We should be like a couple of hot tomatoes
But you’re as cold as yesterday’s mashed potatoes
A fine romance, you won’t nestle
A fine romance, you won’t even wrestle
You’ve never mussed the crease in my blue serge pants
You never take a chance, this is a fine romance
A fine romance, my good fellow
You take romance, I’ll take Jello
You’re calmer than the seals in the Arctic Ocean
At least they flap their fins to express emotion
Songwriters: Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields
The lyrics of A Fine Romance was written by Dorothy Fields. She was married to a man, and they had two children. The words of her song so clearly express what I felt as a man attracted to other men but married to a woman. I did not want to be cold, but my attractions were to men, and that translated to a distance and coldness towards my wife, which was unintentional. As the years went on that coldness and distance grew. I worked to control my emotions and had an icy coolness, never getting too ruffled by anything.
I remember my wife asking, “How come you never come up to me while I’m cooking or at the sink and put your arms around me and tell me how much you love me?” I could not do what she asked. There was a turn-off bordering on disgust in the act of embracing my wife when in my heart, I was not attracted to her. When my wife and I first began to date and later the early years of our marriage, there was some attraction I felt, but that feeling faded in the first years of our marriage.
The expressions used in the song so clearly express the coldness, distance, and softness I have seen in so many men, including myself, who are gay or bisexual but end up marrying women. The coldness and distance are not planned or anything against the woman, it is just biology.
Today I am married to a man. I do come up to my husband in our kitchen and put my arms around him, sometimes for a kiss. At other times to reach under his shirt and touch his chest for some delicious physical contact. Our relationship is anything but cold or distant.
Maybe someday the origins of this song will come out, but for now, I suspect the words of A Fine Romance, were written to describe what goes on when a gay man marries or has a relationship with a woman, and it is not good.