skip to Main Content

Episode #31: All the *Inappropriate* Songs (I Love!) About Women (and Sex)

What’s with all the inappropriate songs I LOVE about women and sex? I mean, let’s start with “Jack and Diane”, by John Cougar Mellencamp. The song came out in 1982, when I was 16 years old. And I loved it. I STILL love it. And the lyrics are SO WRONG. It’s supposed to be a “love ballad” – and I guess it IS. Jack and Diane are two young kids – 16 years old like I was  when the song came out – growing up, as the song says, in America’s heartland and CHILLING OUT. And Jack’s got his hand between Diane’s knees. And you can imagine them kissing. And then the lyrics say Jack says to Diane, “Let’s run off behind a shady tree, dribble off those Bobby Brooks, let me do what I please.” Okay, so is it just me or does that sound RAPEY?? “Let me do what I PLEASE??” What the FUCK? I know, I know, PLEASE rhymes nicely with the lyrics BEFORE that – Tastee FREEZ and KNEES, but why not say, “Let US do what WE please??” Why is it about what JACK PLEASES?? Is Diane having sex with Jack because Jack wants it, or because SHE wants it, too? Is Jack NOT a good lover, so Diane just TOLERATES sex wtih him? What the FUCK? When I was 16 years old and this song came out, I didn’t think much about the lyrics – I just thought John Cougar was cute and I like his “little ditty about Jack and Diane”. I STILL like it and it seems to come on one or two of our local radio stations AT LEAST once a week. And I always turn it up and sing along. And I feel 16 again, just like it was yesterday. Even though *yesterday* – 16 – was THIRTY-NINE fucking years ago. By the way, some people say the reason Jack says to Diane in the song, “We ought to run off to the city” is so that she can have an ABORTION. Wow. That’s sad if Diane got pregnant and had an abortion. And it was so PREVENTABLE if they used birth control. I guess that part of the story would have changed the lyrics of the song too much, if Jack were to say to Diane, “Let’s run off behind a shady tree, dribble off those Bobby Brooks, let me put on a condom so we don’t have an unplanned pregnancy, THEN let me do – wait – let US do what WE please.” The lyrics are also sad when they go on to say, “Holdin’ onto sixteen as long as you can. Change is comin’ ‘round real soon make us women and men.” Growing up IS bittersweet. You get more freedom when you get older, but also more responsibility. So, yeah, enjoy being young. Hell, I say enjoy BEING. Enjoy BEING at ANY age. Enjoy BEING in the PRESENT. Sure, you can have good memories from the PAST and you can be EXCITED about the FUTURE. But you are BEING – you are LIVING TODAY. Okay, so ANOTHER inappropriate song about women – or about one woman in particular anyway – is Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls”. And, as inappropriate as the lyrics are in SO MANY ways, I fucking love this song and I turn it up and sing along. EVERY DAMN TIME. The GUITAR, the DRUMS, the TUNE. I love it all. But good God. What are we – QUEEN AND I – singing?? “Oh you gonna let it all hang out” – okay – not too bad so far. THEN. “Fat-bottomed girls you make the rocking world go round”. Okay, so first of all, I don’t like calling anything about a woman FAT. I know, I know. This song came out in NINETEEN SEVENTY-EIGHT at a time BEFORE people had to be politically correct. Not that I have a problem really with being POLITICALLY CORRECT, with being POLITE, with not being OFFENSIVE. And, by the way, I was 12 years old when this song came out, so I can’t say I remember it and sang along with it back then. But NOW, man when this song comes on the radio, I blast it and sing along. I guess a “fat-bottomed girl” is what today we would call someone who is CURVY or VOLUPTUOUS or with BIG HIPS or – I KNOW – someone with a GREAT ASS. Then the lyrics get almost funny – I KNOW, not very P.C. – when they go on to say, 

“I was just a skinny lad 

Never knew no good from bad 

But I knew love before I left my nursery 

Left alone with big fat Fanny 

She was such a naughty nanny

Hey big woman you made a bad boy out of me.”

Okay. Oh my. Now we’re calling the Nanny big and fat. AND she took this boy’s virginity. Okay so I’m sure in the HISTORY of the WORLD, a nanny has taken a boy’s virginity a million times over. And the boys are probably – I don’t know – PROUD of it, or at least have fond memories or their first time. But it’s kind of weird for Queen and me to be SINGING about it, isn’t it?? Speaking of kinda weird to be singing songs, that about when I was 10 years old in 1976 and Starland Vocal Bank released, “AFTERNOON DELIGHT”? Good GOD. I can remember singing along to it with my sister and our cousins at our grandparents’ house. We were all belting out, 

“Sky rockets in flight

Afternoon delight

A – a – a – Afternoon delight”

Having NO DAMN idea what the hell we were saying. 

“Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight.

Gonna grab some afternoon delight.

My motto’s always been ‘when it’s right, it’s right’

Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night?

When everything’s a little clearer in the light of  day

And we know the night is always going to be there anyway”

I think I thought “afternoon delight” was like a SNACK, a TREAT, like maybe an ICE CREAM SUNDAE. And the lyrics go on:

“Thinkin’ of you’s working up my appetite

Looking forward to a little afternoon delight

Rubbin’ sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite

And the thought of lovin’ you is getting so exciting”

HOLY SHIT. We CHILDREN were singing, “RUBBIN’ sticks and stones TOGETHER makes the SPARKS ignite??” How as THAT like a SNACK or a TREAT or an ice cream SUNDAE?? Oh my God. I CAN’T. And the year after that, in 1977, The Commodores released their FABULOUS song, “Brick House”. And there is nothing subtle in THESE lyrics. And yes, I happily sing along to this song, turned up loud on my car radio: 

“Ow, she’s a brick house

She’s mighty-mighty, just lettin’ it ALL hang out

She’s a brick house

That lady’s STACKED and that’s a FACT

Ain’t holding nothing back”

And there is a way you have to say ‘house’. HOWSE. And I sort of tilt my head to the side when I sing HOWSE. 

“Ow, she’s a brick house

Well put-together, everybody knows

This is how the story goes.”

And then they – The Commodores – AND I sing, 

“She knows she got everything that a woman needs to get a man, yeah yeah.

How can she lose with the stuff she use

Thirty-SIX, twenty-FOUR, thirty-SIX

Oh what a winning hand.”

And I do more head tilts on ‘thirty-SIX, twenty-FOUR, thirty-SIX’ and on ‘oh what a winning HAND’. Head tilts like I’M the BRICK HOUSE, this lady with the ‘WINNING HAND’ to get a man. What the FUCK? I’m singing along, enjoying being this perfect specimen of a WOMAN to GET A MAN. This is so wrong on so many levels, including that those measurements – are THOSE fucking BARBIE’S? I mean who really is an HOURGLASS in real life, naturally BORN that way? And IF someone in REAL LIFE IS shaped that way, how many had BOOB JOBS AND/OR butt implants? How does one get a tiny waist with PLASTIC SURGERY?? Do they take out a couple of RIBS? And do women really want to get a man who OBJECTIFIES her, because of her BODY? And I continue to ENJOY singing this song,

“The clothes she wears, her sexy ways

Make an old man wish for younger days,

Yeah, yeah

She knows she’s BUILT and knows how to PLEASE

Sure enough to KNOCK a strong man to his KNEES.”

Oh my God. So wrong. It’s SO WRONG how much I love this song. And there is more head-tilting. SHAMELESS head-tilting.

“She knows she’s BUILT, and knows how to PLEASE

Sure enough to KNOCK a strong man to his KNEES.”

I should be ashamed of myself for all the head-tilting and how PROUD I am of this woman and her POWER over a STRONG MAN. I also imagine that no man CATCHES her, that she KEEPS WALKING because while she has what she NEEDS to GET a man, she CATCHES and releases him. Can’t be BOTHERED with HIS needs. And BEFORE all these inappropriate songs I LOVE and sing along to every time – before “Jack and Diane” and “Fat-Bottomed Girls” and “Afternoon Delight” and “Brick House”, there was – in 1973 – “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band. And I LOVE the TUNE and ALL the lyrics, even the ones that are NOT inappropriate. There’s a LIGHTNESS, a FREEDOM, an UNABASHEDNESS – a THIS IS WHO I AM TAKE ME OR LEAVE ME – sense to the lyrics:

“Cause I’m a picker

I’m a grinner

I’m a lover

And I’m a sinner

I play my music in the sun

I’m a joker

I’m a smoker

I’m a midnight toker

I get my lovin’ on the run.”

And then my FAVORITE – I should be ashamed to admit this one, too –

“You’re the cutest thing that I ever did see

I really love your peaches wanna shake your tree

Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time

Come on baby now, I’ll show you a good time”

WRONG WRONG WRONG but I still love love love this song. I mean, well, what’s so WRONG about “you’re the cutest thing I ever did see?” – NOTHING! – and “I really love your peaches wanna shake your tree?” Well the way I sing it is WEIRD at least – more head-tilting as if I’M the man objectifying this woman’s BOOBS: “I really love your peaches wanna shake your tree” and there’s really nothing WRONG with “Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time. Come on baby now, I’ll show you a good time.” HE’s just being direct and kinda sweet, really. I can’t say I remember singing this song when it first came out in 1973 when I was 7, but as a young adult and now FOR SURE, this song makes me HAPPY. What can I say? AND The most recently released song I can think of, that I BLAST on my car radio and HEAD-TILT while I’m singing along is, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”, by Jet. I can’t say I remember it when it came out in 2003. In fact, I feel like I only came across it in the past year or two. And I fucking love it. ALL of it. The tambourine in the beginning, the bass guitar, the THROAT clearing the lead singer does, the introduction of the DRUMS, electric guitar and then, “Go!” And the black and white VIDEO, the PRIMITIVENESS of the band-members – grungy, long-haired and a little greasy-looking even. And the SCREAMING, NOT SINGING of the lyrics – which I am so happy to MIMIC:

“So one, two, three, take my hand and come with me

Because you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine

I say you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine”

Oh my GOD – it’s SO primitive and raw he might as well be saying, “me caveman” and pull her by her damn hair! And then: 

“Oh, four, five, six, c’mon and get your kicks

Now you don’t need the money when you look like that do you honey”

And I’m yelling along, doing my best Elvis LIP CURL and my head-tilts and my favorite part comes,

“Big black boots

Long brown hair

She’s so sweet with her get back stare”

And I can imagine MYSELF as this badass-looking girl and whatever exactly her “get back stare” is, which I can imagine is a look that says, “don’t fuck with me”. ANd then the song goes on and Jet’s lead singer and I yell, 

“Well I could see you home with me

But you were with another man, yeah

I know we ain’t got much to say

Before I let you get away, yeah

I said, are you gonna be my girl”
I now, I am actually the lead singer, I have transitioned from being the GIRL, the OBJECT of his attention, to BECOMING HIM, trying to steal her away from this other man. And I want to steal her away BECAUSE of her “big black boots, long brown hair” and because “she’s so sweet with her get back stare” and her bad-assness. Somehow, I have transitioned into the primitive caveman – that’s redundant, I think to say *primitive* caveman, I think, just caveman will do. So, now I’M this YELLING and GUITAR-PLAYING, grungy, greasy, long-haired CAVEMAN trying to win over this girl, AWAY from ANOTHER CAVEMAN and caught up in all the MUSIC, the BEAT of the song, all the instruments: bass, electric guitar, drums, tambourine and I FUCKING LOVE IT. Is this WRONG? I don’t know. It’s not as if this girl exists, as least not in MY life. I don’t think I’m attracted to women in this way and I don’t think that if I were, I’d try to steal a woman away from her man. I certainly wouldn’t YELL – slash – SING at her to convince her to come home with me. ANYWAY, since 2003, I’m sure many more songs have come out that are inappropriate about women and/or about sex, but this is MY SHORT LIST of songs that bring me joy, make me feel young and free and really in the moment, living life, feeling fucking ALIVE. And don’t worry, listeners, in the same way that since 1939 the American Humane Association has monitored the treatment of animal actors on the sets of thousands of films, giving most of them its famous seal of approval, stating that “No animals were harmed” in the making of this movie, I can assure you that NO WOMEN WERE HARMED in my singing along with and/or yelling along with ANY of these songs. I’m cracking myself up. And FORGIVING myself to loving these damn songs.

Back To Top