LC Van Savage
And Lovers And Husbands, Too
There are three men I’m annoyed at and it’s because they wrote and performed a song back in 1963 called, “Wives and Lovers.” Burt Bacharach who wrote the music to this sexist, annoying song, Hal David who wrote the words to this sexist, annoying song and Jack Jones the silky voiced crooner who sang that sexist, annoying song. All three men were and are enormously talented and have contributed much to modern music. Bacharach has always written unforgettable music, David unforgettable lyrics and oh my, when Jones sings there’s a whole lot of melting going on, and I know that firsthand.
I wish that song had not been the huge hit it was, but it would never be a hit today because women would revolt! Back in ’63 however, we were only just beginning to be PC, the song was accepted, enjoyed and pretty much concurred with. Let’s go through it stanza by stanza and see if you don’t agree that it shouldn’t have been written or played. If you male readers out there don’t agree then I suspect you’ve got a whole lot of trouble going on where you live.
Here are the lyrics along with my opinions:
First line: “Hey little girl!” It was Gloria Steinem, bless her, who finally clued grown women to the fact that being called “little girl” was demeaning, stupid, not charming and wrong. Perhaps back in 1963 and maybe even well before that, men might have felt big and powerful and macho when they called the wifey “little girl” but it doesn’t work today. We are not cutsie little girls needing to be held by the hand and guided through this big old cruel world by big old tough, smarter men.
And while I’m on the subject of “little girls,” please ladies, can we stop saying that we “have to go to the ‘little girls’ room’”? Please. Just get up from the table and say “excuse me. I’ll be right back.” We’ll get it! And stop saying “I gotta go pee.” Just stop that. That’s what very young kids say. Yes I’ll admit it’s maybe a touch more genteel than saying “I gotta go urinate” but only just a touch. Grow up and “go to the bathroom.”
Next lines: “Comb your hair, fix your make-up/Soon he will open the door/ Don‘t think because there’s a ring on your finger/You needn’t try anymore.” Well now sure. I think it’s probably a nice thing to not look like a bag of dirty laundry when your husband is about to come home from work, but come on, how many households have The Little Woman waiting inside today? Today’s Little Women are generally out earning the bacon too, or even earning it by themselves without Little Men to help. And are there women today that get that wedding band and immediately turn into Tugboat Annie the day after the wedding? (Look it up.) Maybe. Are there men today who always held their stomachs in until their wedding day and then with a mighty relieved exhale let it all spill forward? Began an hourly cacophony of repulsive bodily noises? Began to scratch themselves everywhere on their bodies whenever the urge hit? Yeah, there are.
Next line: “For wives should always be lovers too/Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you/I’m warning you.” You are what?? Warning me? Well now thanks, Burt, Hal and Jack. So, you’re suggesting that the good husband arrives home always looking like something out of a Brooks Brothers ad? (Look it up.) I don’t think so. Thus, you’re warning us women to beware, we’d better look perfect when hubby blows in after work or he’ll what, turn on his well polished Gucci heel, climb back into his Bentley and drive off into the sunset never to be seen again? Oh please. And wives should always be lovers too? Not husbands? Really?
Next lines: Day after day/There are girls at the office/ And men will always be men.” Yeah? Because they were born male they get a pass to have a roving eye or a roving whatever because there are “girls” at the office? OK then, just to keep things in balance, men should always look absolutely spiffy at home because don’t forget, day after day there are “boys” at the little woman’s workplace too, and after all, women will always be women, right? We’re warning you!
Next lines: “Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers/ You may not see him again.” What?? For sure, that’s not a particularly good visual for a man to see when he’s saying good bye to his wife in the morning but for that she may not see him again? Talk about shallow. I mean if he’s going to leave her, let it be because of something of a bit more substance. Have some depth, man.
Next: “Hey little girl (there we go again with the little girl bull)/Better wear something pretty/Something you’d wear to go to the city/And dim all the lights/Pour the wine, start the music/Time to get ready for love.” Time to get ready for love? Is that a surreptitious, songy way of saying “time to get ready for sex”? We haven’t discussed children here, have we. I mean let’s get real. Hubby comes home after a long haul at the daily grind, and wifey, seeing him in the driveway should dim the lights, start the music, pour the wine and start to prepare for a little bumpin’ uglies? With the kids roaring about? Sure. Easily done. First they’d immediately snap the lights back on after complaining it was too dark in the house, next they’d complain really loudly about the music because it would be interfering with their evening TV shows and lastly they’d likely sneak a swig out of the wine glass just to see what it tastes like which would be followed by their knocking over the whole shebang by accidentally throwing the dog, splashing permanent Rorschach wine stains on the carpet, followed by all screaming accusations that she, no he, no she, no he did it after which they’d begin screaming louder for their dinners. Yes, a perfect setting for dear perfect well dressed hubby to walk into so he and the perfect little missus can start getting ready for love. And exactly where would that be happening? Bedroom? Tree house? Basement? Shed? Car? Roof? Garage? The kids would be howling and brawling, seriously wrecking the mood. Give it up. It appears that when Burt, Hal and Jack were sending out warnings to those careless women in curlers they hadn’t figured on kids. Maybe they never had any. I think most of us can now dismiss this song as laughable, sexist, unrealistic and stupid, right? Most good marriages go a lot deeper than dim lights, poured wine and Montovani on the stereo.
A little charity here. It’s been almost 48 years since that song became popular, so Burt, Hal and Jack, we can safely assume that by now you’ve changed your tune, right? Ah, what good little boys!
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