Today, for the 10,734th time, I heard OMI’s “Cheerleader”. Like all empty pop songs, it doesn’t warrant close scrutiny.
So let’s scrutinize it.
I finally actually heard the lyrics beyond “found myself a cheerleader” and it was confusing and frustrating to listen to. Now my pain can be your pain.
You’ve probably heard this song whether you realize it or not, but just in case it’s not springing to mind, here’s the music video, killing off any last shred of sanity you may have had.
All right, there’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get started.
Wait, no, that’s a lie. There’s very little to unpack here. This is mostly a basic song about a guy singing about how much he loves his girl and how great she is.
But the part right before the incessant title-dropping chorus is what stood out to me this time. Here are the lyrics you probably missed as you braced yourself for the pain that was to come:
All these other girls are tempting but I’m empty when you’re gone
And they say
Do you need me?
Do you think I’m pretty?
Do I make you feel like cheating?
And I’m like no, not really
OMI is here positing that other girls are coming up to him, asking him if he needs them, asking him if they are pretty, asking him if they make him feel like cheating.
This is nonsense. This has never been a conversation anyone has had. Can you imagine if a woman walked up to a guy and asked those questions like that? It’s madness.
There are only two believable scenarios in this case. The first is that his amazing girlfriend is worried that he wants to cheat, so she’s getting other girls to tempt him and see if he’ll cheat. She just picked really dumb girls who don’t know how to be subtle. This is not a good look for a girl that he ends the song basically saying he’s prepared to propose to. I can’t imagine a girl as great as he says she is would stoop to this behavior, but like every hack comedian ever, I can’t claim to understand the female mind.
The other scenario, which is the more plausible one, is this is happening in his mind. He sees a girl that is tempting, and he’s arguing with himself if she’s worth pursuing. Is she worth cheating on his amazing girlfriend with? To his credit, he’s “like no, not really”. So hey, good for him.
The problem in that case is that he’s still just looking at women and already categorizing them as objects, and trying to determine a value relative to his current girl. He’s looking at women and saying, “She’s hot, but is she hot enough? No, in this case she is not.”
There isn’t really any consideration that these women might not want to sleep with him–because who could turn down OMI? Come on. He’s OMI!–or that they are tempting him with anything more than their presence and their appearance. He is, in essence, blaming these women for tempting him, but really he’s just tempted to chase after other women.
This is not exactly painting the flattering portrait to his girl that he thinks it is. Saying that he could cheat but that he has decided not to isn’t good behavior. It’s just not doing something bad. You don’t get credit for not breaking into houses and robbing them every time you pass one. It’s more of a threat–he’s saying that if she doesn’t keep being his cheerleader, being worth it, that he’ll just go off with one of these hotties that’s tempting him.
Congrats on his cheerleader, who’s always there when he needs her, for finding a guy who doesn’t pursue the opportunities of his mind. No wonder she grants his wishes like a genie. We should all be so lucky to find someone like OMI.
1. This is still operating under the hypothesis that the women are not actually going up to OMI and asking the questions he attributes to them, and that hypothesis is based on the fact that no woman has ever said those things. If you disagree with that hypothesis, you can disregard this whole argument, but you should also examine yourself to see if you understand how human conversation works. ↩
2. Which brings up several other questions. Is she an actual wish-granting genie? Or are his wishes so mundane that a human is capable of granting them? If the latter, man, dream bigger, OMI. The world has problems. Get your genie cheerleader to fix them. And definitely don’t cheat on her, for your own sake. ↩