Friday, August 8, 2008

The Musical Misogyny Hall of Fame

Wives and Lovers

Today we look at one of my all time favorite candidates for anthem of the Male Chauvinist Movement (you didn't know there was on did you?). Wives and Lovers was written by the ultimate 60's pop music writing team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Originally the theme to a 1963 movie of the same name, the song developed a life of it's own while the movie sank into cinema oblivion.

I could describe what the song is about, but wouldn't you rather hear it for yourself? I thought so. Click on the link below to hear Jack Jones sing his 1964 Grammy Award winning version. You may remember Jack as the voice behind the theme song to The Love Boat (Love, exciting and new...) Unfortunately, you won't get to see Jack sing the song - its basically a recording accompanied by some groovy graphics.

Here are the lyrics with some thoughts from yours truly...

Hey, little girl,
Comb your hair, fix your make-up.
Soon he will open the door.

The opening line sets the tone of the song; referring to a married woman as "little girl" is only slightly patronizing, isn't it?

Don't think because
There's a ring on your finger,
You needn't try any more

That's right - just because you've nabbed a hubby, don't lounge around the house eating bon bons all day. Here's a true story - my wife lost her wedding ring a few years into our marriage. I bought her a replacement for Christmas but I haven't noticed that one lately. Hmmm, I think she may have stopped trying...

For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
I'm warning you.

What exactly is he warning her about? Well that's answered in the next verse (don't believe me? See for yourself...)

Day after day,
There are girls at the office,
And men will always be men.
Don't send him off
With your hair still in curlers.
You may not see him again.

I worked in Manhattan for over a decade and knew many office girls. Only one actually admitted to having had an affair with a married man (Hi Amy!)

I'm not sure how valid an excuse "Men will always be men" is. Maybe I'll try it on my wife sometime. "Well you see honey, I had an affair with Amy the office girl, but it's really not my fault - you know - men will always be men". On second thought, maybe I won't try it.

By the way - do women still use curlers?

For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
He's almost here.

When I get home from work the only thing that runs to me is my golden retriever Casey. He doesn't so much as run to my arms as jump up and knock me over

Hey, little girl
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.

Here's another line I'd like to try on my wife: I'll call her on my cell phone and say "I'm almost home honey 'time to get ready for love!'" Ah if it were only that simple; after 13 years of marriage and with a 10 year old son, getting ready for love involves planning on the scale of the Allied Invasion of Normandy.

Whether this song is truly misogynistic or just a relic of a bygone era, it is a catchy little tune that's been recorded by a number of performers over the years including Dionne Warwick, Julie London and Ella Fitzgerald. The song is less patronizing when sung by a woman, but just as anachronistic in it's theme. Nevertheless, I admit that it has a home in my iPod. I swear its there because I like the tune and not because it represents some deep seated longing on my part (really!)


  1. Just when I thought your blog had died an undeserved death I come across not one but two new entries. Anyone who knows the looooong suffering Mrs. C can well imagine, the thought of you coming in the door crooning Jack Jones tunes ( or George Jones for that matter ) wolud be met with a steely gaze intenee enough to ignite steel. I can well imagine how hardily she would laugh at your demands to get ready for love prior to beating you into a senseless coma. Perhaps we should try this out and i will video the results and become a youtube sensation ! I am happy to see you writing again.

    Even if it does involve GI Joe Bondage tales,stories about Ann Margaret and more about your fascination with Bill Bixby's "wand".

    Keep on kickin that closet door open son ...

  2. Forgive my substandard typing skills - - I am having computer keyboard issues. The lovely and much too forgiving Mrs. C would have an "intense" gaze when you made your amorous demands ...

  3. Hey Bic! I just sent you an email. After 13 years Kim is used to what passes for singing. Jack Jones -yes. Even Tom Jones. As for George - well I'll admit that I don't know one song he sang (I just looked him up and some of the titles are worth a blog of their own - "Nothing Ever Hurt Me (Half as Bad as Losing You)" and "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" are two of my favorites.

  4. The other side of the wall @ RTRAugust 13, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    Glad to see you are back blogging. As for the Jack Jones song - you must agree - in this day if your wife ever came to the door and was dressed and "ready for love" -you would walk by her and say - "Going Out?" OR be really suspicious!