Back in the Stoned Soul Picnic Age, there was a very popular vocal group called The 5th Dimension. Although I don't think they planned it this way, two of their biggest hits had the word "bell" in their titles and now act as retroactive primer bookends of What Not To Do Whilst In Love. Let us examine the first hit, "Wedding Bell Blues," written by Laura Nyro and released by The 5th Dimension in 1969.

Bill, I love you so, I always willI look at you and see the passion eyes of MayOh, but am I ever gonna see my wedding day
I was on your side, Bill, when you were losin'I never scheme or lie, Bill, there's been no foolin'But kisses and love won't carry me till you marry me Bill
I love you so, I always willAnd in your voice I hear a choir of carouselsOh, but am I ever gonna hear my wedding bells
I was the one who came runnin' when you were lonelyI haven't lived one day not lovin' you onlyBut kisses and love won't carry me till you marry me Bill
I love you so, I always willAnd though devotion rules my heart I take no bowsBut Bill you're never gonna take those wedding vows
Oh, come on Bill, oh, come on BillCome on and marry me, Bill, I got the wedding bell bluesPlease marry me Bill, I got the wedding bell blues, wedding bell bluesMarry me Bill, I got the wedding bell blues

The 5th Dimension, "Wedding Bell Blues"

OK, here's the HUGE MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR LESSON to learn from this song. Ready? Here it comes! LISTEN UP, FOOLS AND TOOLS!


Although this seems to be common sense, HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE DONE THIS? HMM? Here's the brutal question you need to ask yourselves, Pushers Of Legal Commitment: WHY would you ever want to be married to ANYONE who is reluctant to marry YOU?

Think HARD on that. For all the rationalization in the world (like whatever "I see the passion eyes of May" means), however much you think your guy or girl is madly in love with you but just afraid to say "I do" because they've had bad experiences in love, or are workaholics, or self-loathing, or poor, or WHAT. EVER., the bottom line is in some way, they aren't feelin' it like you are and do not want what you want. Setting up a marriage where one half of the couple feels manipulated or bullied or coerced into a level of relationship they do not seek themselves is a rotten idea, and will very likely blow up in your pretty face someday.

For all the time and effort you may have poured into your Bill or Billie Jo, for as much as you love them, for as scared as you might be to think of a life without them, accept that there are indeed more Bills in the sea...fantastic ones, in fact. More importantly, you have to accept that you DESERVE a partner who is on the same page relationship-wise, whether that's marriage or happy co-habs or happy separate places. If it isn't right, it isn't right, and it ain't gonna get right just because you want it to be so. Cry your little eyes out, then dry 'em up and look with a clear mind and strong heart about exactly why you wanted to make someone do something they didn't want to do. Maybe you don't even really want to get married, either; you just want to WIN someone and join the "normals." It's better to start over than lock in a doomed outcome, no matter how much you love someone. Read these paragraphs over and over and over until you hear a BELL.

The other 5th Dimension "bell" song was "One Less Bell To Answer," released in 1970 and written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. UH OH, the poor girl's marriage from the previous song didn't even last a YEAR!

One less bell to answer
One less egg to fry
One less man to pick up after
I should be happy
But all I do is cry

(Cry, cry, no more laughter) I should be happy
(Oh, why did he go)I only know that
Since he left my life's so empty

Though I try to forget it just can't be done
Each time the doorbell rings I still run
I don't know how in the world
To stop thinking of him
'Cause I still love him so
I end each day the way I start out
Crying my heart out

One less man to pick up after
No more laughter, no more love
Since he went away (he went away)

(One less bell to answer) Why did he leave me
(Why, why, why did he leave)
(One less bell to answer) Now I've got one less egg to fry
One less egg to fry
(Why, why, why did he leave) And all I do is cry
(One less bell to answer) Because a man told me goodbye
(Why, why, why did he leave)
(One less bell to answer) Somebody tell me please
Where did he go, why did he go
(Why, why, why did he leave)tell me 

How could he leave me

The 5th Dimension, "One Less Bell To Answer"

Well, OF COURSE, the dude was gonna bolt! All the bell-answering and cleaning up and egg-frying in the world ain't gonna keep a person on board who just doesn't wanna be there! Here's the lesson!


Someone who cares about you isn't going to treat you like a house slave or take advantage of your kind nature or loving good intent. Someone who cares about you will, yes, accept kindnesses from you, but will always be wanting to do kind things for you as well. Not because they think they should, but because they love you and it makes them feel good to see you smile or make your life better in any way. You want a partner, nothing less. Again, read that last sentence until the BELL thing happens.

In my little scenario here, I like to imagine that our poor Bell Girl, still moping around lovesick and lost, turns on her radio on 1971 and hears "Respect Yourself," by the Staple Singers, and her BELL goes off. She is wisely counseled, and THEN finds someone who is together enough inside to be a good partner to her, and THEN they move mountains. Or at least living room furniture, happily.

If you disrespect anybodyThat you run in toHow in the world do you thinkAnybody's s'posed to respect you
If you don't give a heck 'bout the manWith the Bible in his handJust get out the wayAnd let the gentleman do his thing
You the kind of gentlemanThat want everything your wayTake the sheet off your face, boyIt's a brand new day
Respect yourself, respect yourselfIf you don't respect yourselfAin't nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na naRespect yourself, respect yourself
If you're walking 'roundThink'n that the worldOwes you something'Cause you're here
You goin' outThe world backwardsLike you didWhen you first come here
Keep talkin' 'bout the presidentWon't stop evolutionPut your hand on your mouthWhen you cough, that'll help the solution
Oh, you cuss around womenAnd you don't even know their namesAnd you dumb enough to thinkThat'll make you a big ol man
Respect yourself, respect yourselfIf you don't respect yourselfAin't nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na naRespect yourself, respect yourselfRespect yourself, respect yourself
The Staple Singers, "Respect Yourself" (Soul Train)