“Love hurts, love scars,

love wounds and mars …”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for any newbies in the beginning stages of love, is it?

Thankfully, by the time I first heard the song — the Nazareth version, released in 1974 — I was already a seasoned veteran of love’s disappointments. At 13 years old, I could nod knowingly along with the beat as I whispered the lyrics through my heartbreak.

Yeah, love hurts. It hurt when I was a mere lad of 6 years old and the girl on the playground told me she’d love me forever if I’d share my toys. I had no idea how fickle love could be, so when she dumped me not even an hour later for another boy who pushed her on the swing, I was blindsided.

I swore off love forever ... or at least until the next day, when another girl asked me to sit next to her at lunch. But once she finished eating my dessert, she left me for another boy who still had an extra cookie.

I was in first grade, and I was already looking to stomp Cupid into a puddle.

By the time “Love Hurts” started climbing the charts in ‘74, I’d already been through the love wringer. Seriously, does any other emotion cause anywhere near as much confusion? I stumbled and staggered my way through school dances, even managing to maim my eighth grade crush while trying to slow dance with her. I couldn’t slow dance. I couldn’t fast dance. Heck, if there’s a medium dance, I can’t do that one, either.

But the chance to hold my dearly beloved’s (she didn’t know it, but she was) hand and place my arm around her was too much to pass up. There I was, face to face with her angelic features as we both fell in love — she did, too, I bet — to Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

Then I fooled around and stomped her poor, bare foot, and that was the end of the dance. We had to call off the wedding (she was planning one, I bet), and once again, love hurt, love scarred, love wounded and marred. Mostly her. Mine were invisible wounds.

Even my very first kiss managed to summon more disaster. I mean, how hard is it? Two lips mash against two lips, and bam! You’re smooching.

Nobody warned me. There weren’t any songs featuring kissing instructions in 1975. “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli talked about carrying books from school — (I did that; duh) and a make-believe marriage, but the song didn’t bother explaining stuff to a first-time kisser. We both wore glasses, so our first attempt was like smashing two car windshields together. Then there was the problem of figuring out who would tilt his or her head left while the other tilted right. Not a single song on the radio bothered telling me where my nose was supposed to go.

Somehow, we managed it. And I bet some guy later totally fell in love with the cute little scar on her bottom lip.

Love hurts ... indeed.

I’d love to boast of getting better at the bussing, but I ain’t gonna lie. I did not. At 15, I actually remembered to remove my glasses. I waited to see which way her head would tilt before I zoomed in (her eyes were closed, but I wasn’t about to take a chance on missing my target). Once our lips docked, I thought I’d done good.

Then she suddenly stuck her tongue in my mouth.

Now hold on just a danged minute. I’d just figured out where lips and noses go. Not once was I told a tongue would make an appearance.

“Wh-wh-what are you doing?” I stammered.

“French kissing,” she said, giggling.

“But I’m not French,” came my all-too-suave reply.

Gloria Gaynor sang, “Never Can Say Goodbye,” but my girl sure didn’t have any problem with it after my tongue tangling.

With all those experiences and failures under my young belt, surely I’d realize the whole love thing wasn’t gonna be as easy as others made it look. Surely I’d used the hard-earned wisdom to avoid future heartache, right? I’d change the love radio stations to something more positive, something like I saw others experiencing.

You know, maybe get to jam to some love songs saying something good about love.

By 1978, I’d somehow managed to get through the worst of my teen angst — albeit without a true love in tow. It’s cool, I thought. Someone’s gonna think of me and sing one of the hits of the day: “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel. “Always and Forever” by Heatwave.

“Kiss You All Over” by Exile. Ooooohhhh. Scandalous.

I’d either find the right lady at the wrong time, or the wrong lady at the right time. Got dumped more than the trash. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” — or every time he (I) found out she had another boyfriend.

Shoot. I couldn’t get the dating scene right if someone had tattooed the instructions on the inside of my lip. When the J. Geils Band released the song “Love Stinks” in 1980, I figured it would be my permanent anthem.

And for a long time, it was. I lived all the words of “Love Hurts” too many times over. Learned just why there are so many variations of songs wailing about love gone wrong. Why country music held the monopoly on “tears in your beer” and “cheatin’ heart” songs.

Even the hair bands of the ’80s weighed in on the bad sides of love. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn?” Preach, buddy. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone.” Ya think?

“I Wanna Know What Love Is.” Dude. Who doesn’t?

Hard rock/heavy metal (my personal favorite genre)? No relief there. Turns out even headbangers can suffer a broken heart. Cupid managed to fire an arrow right through the chains draped all over the singers.

“Still Loving You” by the Scorpions. “Wasting Love” by Iron Maiden.

The songs hurt just as much as the heartbreak, but with heavy metal, the pain’s gonna get pounded in like nails.

By the time I managed to hit my 40s, I was pretty much sick of love and anything else to do with it — especially the music. Not only was my own love life a disaster, but I was also having to watch my teenage daughters experiencing heartbreak. Their young hearts were broken, meaning there were nearly some bones broken on the maggots who hurt my girls.

Poor guys couldn’t win.

Did you kiss her?

“No, sir.”

Why not? You think she’s ugly?

When the broken hearts happened, of course there were the soundtracks. The emo music craze of the 2000s coincided exactly with my daughters’ first heartbreaks.

Lord, we old folks thought we had some sad music? Those emo songs my girls insisted on cranking had me ready to gargle battery acid. “Miserable at Best” — my daughter Jordan’s go-to breakup song — had me banging my head more than Metallica ever had.

I was all ready to spend the rest of my life as a bachelor. More than ready to keep “love hurts, love scars” as a distant memory on an oldies station to which I’d never again tune in.

Perfect plan.

Then “she” screwed it up. Her. The one I’d been hearing about for pretty much 30 years. The one I thought was either a myth or a flat-out lie concocted just to sell records.

Yup. I found Mrs. Right. She was just “Miss Right” until I talked her into marrying me.

I even got the first kiss right — even though my approach wasn’t exactly smooth. She sat on the tailgate of my truck as we sat under a full moon out by the lake. I’d been noticing those lips for weeks as we went on our first dates.

How’d I talk her into our first smooch?

I just interrupted whatever she was saying and mumbled, “I’m gonna kiss you now.”

Head lined up right. No clashing noses. No smashing teeth.

It went so well, she let me do it again.

Almost 16 years later, we’re still smooching any time we want.

The woman sure changed my radio station, I’ll give her that. Now, instead of looking for another “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong” song, I find stuff that reminds me of her. Of us.

Good stuff. Stuff that before I met her would have had me diving for the dial within the first few notes. Heck, I can even go back to those old ’70s tunes I avoided back then, and danged if they’re not right. Even the really, really sappy ones.

Hey, if you’re sappy and you know it, kiss your girl, right?

I don’t know what made love so hard to find. I don’t know why I — and so many others I know — had to suffer every word of “love hurts, love scars” before I found out why anyone would bother singing another tune.

All I know is ... every word of Etta James’ “At Last.” All the words to Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do” (one of her favorites).

I can bust out some “Unchained Melody” complete with a falsetto at the right time — just for her.

Yes, love sure has a variety of soundtracks, suitable for every heart and ear.

Here’s hoping the tunes you hum in February make some beautiful music indeed.