Mistress of the Mix: Free Love Advice & Songs of Desire


The smell of my lover’s cologne. On him, not on anyone else. The sound of his special ringtone when he’s finally gotten off of work after 10 hours. His hand on my hip as he leans in to kiss my neck. The voicemail I’ve saved from 2008 that says, “I love you more than all the raindrops in Oregon.” The taste of Wild Blueberry Twist gum that he was fond of when we went on our 2nd date – rafting down the Rogue River on the 4th of July. That moment in the middle of the night when he wakes up momentarily, to search for my hand so he can hold it. The feel of his tongue running along my lip. The memory of the first time he kissed me, at a ninth grade dance, just before the Vice Principal came up behind him and cleared his throat. These are the things (the things I don’t mind sharing with you, that is) that make me swoon.

Not literally, of course. Swooning, in the traditional sense, means to faint or become completely enraptured by ecstatic joy. For me, swooning is more like a giant sigh while butterflies do somersaults inside my stomach. Swooning is the way I feel when I’m in the first stages of falling in love. When I’m completely smitten and can’t seem to stop smiling from the moment I wake up in the morning to his “Good morning baby, I love you” text message. And still today I find myself feeling all giddy, whether it’s with anticipation, knowing that my lover will be here any minute, or from a sweet memory from four years ago.

That swoon, that deep breath that relaxes every muscle I have, is what lets me know that I don’t just love him. I’m in love with him.

There is one other thing that still makes me swoon, and that’s music. Of course. You know me well enough by now to know that was coming, right? But admit it. You’re the same way. I know you are. When you’re falling in love, just like when you’re going through heartbreak, you relate emotionally to every single song on the radio. Your senses are at Defcon 4. Suddenly, the lyrics that were pretty meaningless last week now make perfect sense and seem as if they were written specifically for you. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

If you’ve been reading the Mistress of the Mix for a long time, maybe you recognize the words above. I first wrote them five years ago. Before my lover became my husband. But heading into our 9th year together, they still ring true. And the songs that made me weak in the knees then, still do it today. When I wrote those words, I published them along with a playlist filled with the music that was special just to us, the music we’d play when the kids weren’t around because…well, you know. For this Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d ask my friends to share the songs that make them and their lovers – whether its been 5 weeks or 50 years – share that secret smile of desire. I was overwhelmed by the response, but it created one heck of a playlist for 2017, so I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and click on the play arrow below to give it a listen.

There were a few other words I wrote in that column back in 2012 that I wanted to share again with you today. Just in case your situation has changed since then, or if you’re sorta new to the Mistress of the Mix. Consider this my official Valentine’s Day address to everyone. Those in love, but even more importantly to those who aren’t, and especially those who want to:

Free Advice

I didn’t always have Eddie. Four years ago (well 9 years ago now), I was freshly divorced and pissed off. I felt like I had so much love to share and I wanted to be with someone. Or at least I wanted to have fun with someone. Even that seemed like too much to ask for. Dating was like beating my head against a brick wall sometimes.

Maybe that’s where you are right now. Wishing you had someone to swoon about. Maybe you’ve been hurt before, or lost someone or things just ended badly. Perhaps you’ve taken a few hesitant steps out there into the dating world, fallen on your face a time or two, and now you’re resolved to spending the rest of your life alone because you don’t want to get hurt again. Don’t want to get cheated on. Don’t want to be lied to. Don’t want to end up neglected, lonelier with someone than without.

Please, don’t do this. Don’t give up.

Would you rather be lonely for the rest of your life, never taking a chance because you’re afraid of something that may or may not happen?

So what if you end up in a relationship that doesn’t last the test of time. At least you had some happiness, some good company, maybe – hopefully – some good sex. At least a couple of nice dinners and interesting conversation. Maybe you’ll be lied to again. And it’ll hurt. But it’s not on you, it’s on them.

What’s the harm in putting yourself out there?

That old saying about how “It’s better to have loved and lost then to have never loved at all?” It’s true.

So get out there. Give it all you’ve got. Worry about getting hurt when it actually happens. Don’t let it stop you from having a fulfilling life.

Flirt. Get smitten. Love. And here’s the most important thing of all: Be the best person you can be. Because when you fall in love, it’s not because someone else ‘made’ you fall in love with them. It’s because you love who you are when you’re with that person. You’re falling in love with YOU. So be that person every day, whether you have someone else encouraging you along or not. Because when you’re the best person you can be, it’s extraordinarily attractive. Who could possibly help but to fall in love with you? But you gotta put yourself out there.

Run along now, fall in love.

But don’t forget to listen to today’s Playlist for Lovers put together by lovers. Maybe you’ll recognize your special song on the list, but feel free to add new ones in the comment section below. Also, if you’ve got your own advice for those searching for love, let’s hear it!

Valerie Ing

Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.

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