01 April 2011

Rod Stewart: Do Ya Think I’m Sexy

So things have been pretty quiet the past several weeks here at Lyrics, Weakly (new motto: Where the pun in the blog’s name becomes less apt with each passing day!), but i’ve been wanting to post a new song, really i have. And since yesterday was Thursday, Thursday…, tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards, it’s certainly time to do so.

But we’re not going to be looking into Rebecca Black’s “Friday” this evening. After all, as no less an authority than Rolling Stone has pointed out, “Friday” is one of the greatest songs ever recorded.

No, this week i’m presenting something much, much worse—Rod Stewart’s 1978 worldwide hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”.

Oh, wait. That was the wrong video (though you and i both know it’s much, much better than anything Mr. Stewart would have created). Try this one, instead.

But enough of the visuals—let’s bounce to the disco beat as we get to the lyrics…


One of the advantages of posting these is that i get to learn what the lyrics really are to songs where i’ve never been able to figure out the words. (Well, at least most of the time.) Of course, i have to say that learning what Mr. Stewart moans at the beginning of this particular song has never been all that high on my to-do list, but i suppose that now i can say that i know this additional piece of information and so i should be happy, since knowing is half the battle.

She sits alone waiting for suggestions
He’s so nervous avoiding all her questions

Okay, here’s a problem: If she’s alone, how exactly is she asking him questions? This is, after all, 1978, so it’s not like she’s on her cell phone or texting questions to him or such.

But let’s just gloss past this issue so that we can get a good idea of the scene: We’re in a discotheque, probably in New York City (we find out there’s high-rise apartments nearby later in the song), filled with young men wearing polyester leisure suits and women wearing unexpected amounts of eye makeup, and Mr. Stewart informs us that they’re avoiding any meaningful human interaction.

Wait a minute! I never made the connection before, but it makes sense! Young, urban, and putting forth the image that they don’t really need any of the people or things around them—these are hipsters, 25 years before there was a word for such a thing. Even John Travolta makes sense now.

Dance, sad dancing hipster, dance! (Make sure you scroll down a bit on that link, by the way.)

His lips are dry, her heart is gently pounding
Don’t you just know exactly what they’re thinking?

I don’t know about her, but i’d guess he’s wondering if she has any ChapStick.

If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on, sugar, let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on, honey, tell me so

You know, this is ordinarily a text-only blog, and i provide links to any audiovisual content. Here, however, i do feel the need to provide some embedded images to demonstrate my point.

A picture of Rod Stewart looking uglyA picture of Rod Stewart looking uglyA picture of Rod Stewart looking ugly

No, Mr. Stewart, we do not think you’re sexy, and believe me, we have absolutely no desire to touch your body.

Your money, on the other hand, there’s apparently a lot of women out there who wouldn’t mind touching that.

He’s acting shy looking for an answer
Come on, honey, let’s spend the night together

Okay, a couple things here.

First of all, this is acting shy?!? I mean, what would be more forward? Maybe “Should i call you in the morning or just nudge you?” “That dress will look better once it’s on my bedroom floor”? “Pardon me, are you in heat?” “Nice shoes, let’s screw”?

Second of all, i realize that i hadn’t even hit puberty when this song came out, and so i wasn’t busy figuring out the intricacies of the whole human mating ritual thing yet, but did this sort of line actually work back in the late 70s? ’Cause if it did, i think we have all the evidence we need that people now are way more intelligent than people were back then.

(Yeah, I know, we already had evidence of that. I mean more evidence, i guess.)

But anyway, the woman Mr. Stewart (you know he just has to be wanting us to believe he’s the guy in this story) is speaking to goes for it and accepts the offer—because she responds back with what has to be the most mindbending acceptance of a sexual proposition ever:

Now hold on a minute before we go much further
Give me a dime so I can phone my mother

Okay, dude, let’s say you’re after no-strings casual sex, and you find someone who’s willing. Just as a rule of thumb, if his or her response runs along these lines, leave. Now. Yeah, it may just be one furtive night, but you don’t want those sorts of mommy issues anywhere near any part of your body or property. Seriously.

Of course, even given that a dollar went further back then than it does now, purchasing a woman’s, um, services for only 10¢ seems like a pretty good deal, if you’re into that sort of thing. So you’ve got that going for you, at least. (Warning: That link isn’t safe for work, particularly if your boss is reading over your shoulder.)

They catch a cab to his high rise apartment
At last he can tell her exactly what his heart meant

Apparently he needs to be more direct, since the line come on, honey, let’s spend the night together was just a bit too circumspect for the occasion.

If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on, sugar, let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on, honey, tell me so

True story alert! (Well, at least according to the Wikipedia page for the song, which means it must be true, right?) Mr. Stewart lifted the melody for this song from Brazilian artist Jorge Ben’s song “Taj Mahal”. Listen and decide for yourself!

Or, alternatively, you could listen to one of the many covers of Mr. Stewart’s version. And then you can weep for the future of humanity.

His heart’s beating like a drum
’Cause at last he’s got his girl home
Relax, baby, now we are alone

Actually, this seems like cause for concern to me. This is particularly worrying, given that he’s at home alone with this woman who is likely untrained in emergency medical procedures, and there are indications elsewhere in this song that there is an expectation of sexual activity. All in all, it looks like Mr. Stewart might have to end this story with a trip to the hospital.

Of course, that would mean the song would have to end, so it would be a win for us.

And actually, an instrumental break right here gives us hope that maybe Mr. Stewart has, in fact, left the building, but it turns out to be a false hope, since we’re told that

They wake at dawn ’cause all the birds are singing

You know, any time i’ve ever been in a high-rise building, i haven’t heard the birds singing in the morning. I’ve occasionally heard cars driving in the morning traffic, but that’s not nearly as romantic an image, now, is it?

Also, if there was any justice in the world one of them would have been awake and gone already by this point. The other one would be waking up about right now with a missing kidney.

Two total strangers but that ain’t what they’re thinking

Well, that would be because they’re not total strangers.

Think about it. Even if they never exchanged engraved calling cards, they have had at least one short, fumbling, but very goal-directed conversation, as given earlier in the song’s narrative. Therefore, i’m pretty sure that both Emily Post and Miss Manners would agree that they can still consider themselves properly introduced, and no longer strangers.

Outside it’s cold, misty and it’s raining
They got each other, neither one’s complaining

No, they’re not complaining because they’re inside, not because they’ve got each other. I strongly suspect that if they were outside in the cold misty rain, they’d be complaining even if they were with each other.

He say’s I’m sorry but I’m out of milk and coffee
Never mind, sugar, we can watch the early movie


Really, does this line even begin to make sense? I mean, i’m trying to think of any way that this would happen in normal human conversation. Think about it:

“Oh, bummer, i can’t find anything to drink.”

“No worries—let’s watch a movie instead.”

I mean, for some reason i doubt that watching a movie is going to slake y’all’s thirst, you know?

Of course, this is the same couple that had a conversation earlier that essentially started “Let’s have sex”, which was answered by “Sure—but first i have to tell my mother i’ll be exchanging bodily fluids with someone i just met”, so i guess i shouldn’t be surprised by the content of any further unusual reported conversation between these two.

If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on, sugar, let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on, honey, tell me so
Tell me so, baby

Historical fact: This song was released in 1978, but AT&T didn’t start using their “Reach out and touch someone” slogan until 1979. Of course, i figure Mr. Stewart didn’t make any claims against AT&T for any sort of infringement, because, as we all know, they were omnipotent, so the odds would have been stacked against him.

Anyway, that’s all for this round—just a song about one more day in the history of gonorrhea. Pleasant dreams!

No comments:

Post a Comment