We all know the song. It's classic. But do you know what the 1979 Rupert Holmes hit is actually about?
Based on the chorus - “if you like piña coladas, and getting caught in the rain” - it sounds like any other love song from the 1970s - Hot Stuff by Donna Summer, My Sharona by The Knack, etc. - if you like this and I like this then babe, let’s bone in the sand. Easy, carefree summer love. Right? RIGHT?
Let’s start at the start
The song begins with:
… I was tired of my lady We'd been together too long Like a worn out recording Of a favorite song
Ok…whoa. Did not see this sadboi energy coming? I thought we’re here to celebrate a shared love of a sugary summer cocktail made of rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice?
Fine, so Sadboi is sad, I can jive with that. I’m sad too. What’s next?
… So while she lay there sleepin' I read the paper in bed And in the personal columns There was this letter I read
For all my Gen Z and Gen Alpha readers, a “newspaper” is like a printed out version of a few pages on the internet that you hand out to people and they read by flipping through it with their hands.
It was 1979, so this was all normal behavior - no issue (heh) with that, though I am curious as a monkey named George about how any of this will lead to a fondness for the pitter patter of a gentle summer drizzle upon your drunk ass face.
Let’s see what the column said:
… If you like piña coladas And gettin' caught in the rain If you're not into yoga If you have half a brain If you like makin' love at midnight In the dunes on the cape Then I'm the love that you've looked for Write to me and escape
Ok what in the fuck? Yes, that’s the chorus we all know and love, but it does take on a whole different meaning knowing its part of an advertisement Sadboi is reading.
Even at my most down baddest of bad, I don’t think I would have responded to this ad. The chaotic nature of it - hey do you like this one sugary ass drink and also “rain”? Do you *checks notes* hate yoga and also happen to not be a complete dumbass? Perfect.
There’s zero info about the actual person posting! It feels like something Jigsaw from the SAW movies would write to lure people into his weird dungeons.
But wait - we haven’t gotten to the best part: do you enjoy making love AT MIDNIGHT in the DUNES OF THE CAPE. The specificity! The boldness!
What if I love to do sex on the beach but in the morning? Not interested.
How about midnight sex but in the water? Unfortunately its a no.
Ok ok, bone town at midnight but in a sand dune on the coast which is very much not the cape? Sorry but that is disgusting and I simply cannot.
Also - midnight?! That’s simply too late! I’m sleepy by midnight and wanna be in bed, not making sex in a sandy ass sand dune.
I hope that our Sadboi, who is lying next to his reasonable boo in bed, goes no further with this red flag parade. Close that newspaper up and cuddle your lady. I repeat: brother, do not do this.
… I didn't think about my lady I know that sounds kinda mean But me and my old lady Had fallen into the same old dull routine
Yes it does sound ‘kinda mean’ you sick fuck.
Dull routine? Then spice things up. Go see a play. Take a road trip. Do you even know what her love language is? Brother, get yourself together. Whatever you do don’t write to the paper.
… So I wrote to the paper Took out a personal ad And though I'm nobody's poet I thought it wasn't half bad
We’re not even into the 2nd chorus and this fun little jingle we sing at weddings and baseball games and retirement parties is about CHEATING. Infidelity!
I was on your side, Sadboi, but this I cannot abide.
Let’s see what this “nobody’s poet” whose about to be “nobody’s boyfriend” said back:
… Yes, I like piña coladas And gettin' caught in the rain I'm not much into health food I am into champagne I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon And cut through all this red tape At a bar called O'Malley's Where we'll plan our escape
Sweet mother of baby jesus herself WHAT!?
I respect the opening: restating the thesis by plagiarizing the first two lines from her ad. Weird? Yes. Clear? Also yes. And as we say in therapy, clear is kind. We stan a clear king.
“I’m not much into health food // I am into champagne.” The fuck? I’ll grant you the health food bit - a response to “If you’re not into yoga” - fine, you and Midnight Love both hate anyone trying to connect with their bodies and souls. Weird flex but okay.
But “I am into champagne”? You already said you both love piña coladas. Brother you have now brought up alcohol twice in four lines. And as a response to “if you have half a brain”?
Yes, I am smart, I like champagne? This ain’t you brother. Be better.
Next comes a very unclear request of “I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon” - ok but like, when? Anytime between now and then? Surely you are not going to just sit there at O’Malley’s for this long waiting? Or is that where you spend your days because you are, and I say this with respect, an alcoholic.
“And cut through all this red tape” - What red tape? This isn’t a neighborhood association struggling to get a water fountain built in the town square. You are trying to cheat and it looks like it’s moving right along, smooth as can be, unless by red tape you mean your super vague time of “anytime before noon,” but that’s on you. The red tape is coming from inside the building.
So okay - the song is about a man cheating. Or is it?
Reader, please make sure you’re sitting down before continuing, for what happens next will shock you.
… So I waited with high hopes And she walked in the place I knew her smile in an instant I knew the curve of her face
Wait, what? He knows the woman he’s about to cheat on his wife with?! Holy crap.
… It was my own lovely lady And she said, "Oh, it's you" Then we laughed for a moment And I said, "I never knew"
WHAT???1!??!?!?!/?/!/!2.12!?1??!?!?! IT WAS YOUR OWN WIFE??!/!? DID M NIGHT SHAYMALAN WRITE THIS FUCKING SONG WHO SAW THAT TWIST COMING I DID NOT NOT!>!>!>!>!
I cannot fucking believe this. They’ve been caught red handed, both of them cheating and being cheated on WITH EACH OTHER. I’ve never seen Degrassi, but for some reason I feel like this would be an episode of that show.
How have we all been singing this song without knowing the depth, the pain, the betrayal, that lies right beneath the surface?
Everything is out on the table now, no secrets left so, as the good folks at Drowning Pool once said in one of my favorite love songs, “Let the bodies hit the floor.”
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This verse is my favorite by far. I love the first line from Midnight Love: “Oh, it’s you” - I can hear the deflation, the defeat, the anguish - it feels almost biblical, a surrender to the Ultimate Truth: there is no escape. A+
“Then we laughed for a moment” I mean, okay yea, sure. What could you do BUT laugh at this cruel joke they call life? We are destined to our fates, me to you, you to me, now and forever. Lol but for real.
The final line “I never knew” gives me tingles: a sigh of defeat as Sadboi realizes he doesn’t know some of the most basic details about his lady including that she likes piña fuckin coladas.
… That you like piña coladas And gettin' caught in the rain And the feel of the ocean And the taste of champagne If you like making love at midnight In the dunes on the cape You're the lady I've looked for Come with me and escape
I am sick.
Sadboi realizes that 'she is the lady he’s been looking for?’ You mean the one who just tried to cheat on you by writing into your local neighborhood paper asking if anyone was into fucking on the beach at the precise time of 12A??
HAVE YOU TWO NEVER TALKED TO EACH OTHER BEFORE?????
AND WHY, GIVEN HOW LITTLE YOU KNOW ABOUT EACH OTHER, IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP SO STRONG? SO RESILIENT? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
It’s gonna get weirder but you already knew that. Midnight Love responds with:
If you like piña coladas And gettin' caught in the rain If you're not into yoga If you have half a brain If you like making love at midnight In the dunes on the cape I'm the love that you've looked for Write to me and escape
As Nietzsche once said: “God is dead. We killed him when we all sang that piña colada song.”
To recap: in the last twenty four hours, Sadboi and Midnight Love have both decided to cheat on one another, written and accepted the most bonkers personal ads I have ever seen based on a shared love of….piña coladas, rain, not yoga, not health food, champagne, and fucking in the dunes at midnight. Then, after realizing they were in fact cheating on one another with one another, decided it was okay, laughed for a moment, and sang their cares away.
I am very worried about these two. They need couples therapy. And Sadboi may need AA. Maybe they should try yoga? And for god’s sake, talk to each other. Say “what do you like?” and then wait for the other person to list some things.
Rupert Holmes is a twisted genius, a postmodern Shakespeare weaving the most ironic AND iconic tale of ‘if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with’ known to mankind. Alanis Morsette should redo “Ironic” and just sing the lyrics to this song, word for word.
Oh and I should mention - the song’s title? It’s not Piña Colada song. It’s ESCAPE. The song is called Escape.
Actually the song was called Escape but everyone kept calling into radio stations asking for the Piña Colada song so Rupert reluctantly agreed to call it Escape (The Piña Colada Song).
Oh and here’s the album cover for the single:
The signs were all there, we just didn’t want to see them.
There ARE other interpretations of this song. My wife Lauren, for example, ever the optimist, thinks Midnight Love wrote the ad hoping that Sadboi would find it and rekindle some flame between them. She’s creating a little role play experience for them, to cheat without cheating, to find the new inside the old.
Which is simply bonkers. I don’t agree. The theory makes no sense and honestly begs the question - is Lauren out there posting ads like this? And if I ever find them she’ll just say “I wrote it for you to find lol.” Has she crafted a perfect alibi? Sweet lord.
So What Did Rupert Mean?
When asked what he thought becomes of the couple, Holmes says:
I like to think that they looked at each other with chagrin and realized that before either one of them runs off to find some fantasy that probably doesn't exist in reality, they might reinvestigate their own relationship because there's a lot there they haven't yet explored. I think it's a happy ending with a footnote: They both are a little shocked, but neither can point the finger too hard at the other because they both were willing to try a new relationship, and happily their possible indiscretion led them to each other again.
Respectfully, Rupert, I disagree. I think both you and Lauren are lunatics, but honestly, who am I to say? I’m a guy who belted out the piña colada song for the entirety of my adult life no idea it was actually about the screaming infidelities of two people who, despite their not knowing basic details about each other, deciding to cheat on each other, AND THEN catching each other in the act still somehow make it to the other side, stronger and more in love than ever?
Maybe I’m the weird one. Maybe Sadboi and Midnight Love have something most of us could never dream of: a boundless, unconditional love. Or also maybe not.
I don’t know.
But I do know this: tonight, when we are asleep in our boring little beds living our boring little lives, the clock will strike midnight and there in the dunes of the cape will be Sadboi and Midnight Love, drunk as shit on piña coladas, making sweet sweet love.
And it will rain.
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wait omg who is gen alpha?!
I laughed so hard at this that I realized I haven't laughed hard lately. High-five!