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  • ThumbnailEditor’s note: Please enjoy this featured post from our archives. 

    I’m a pretty voracious consumer and critic of American popular culture. I’m one of those 3rd wavers who believes that the deconstruction of all […]

    • “There is no indication in the published music of any gender assignment.”

      Actually, there is. All of the lines about the familial and social pressures were expectations almost exclusively placed on women. When was the last time you saw a movie or read a book from this same era where a father was pacing the floor waiting for his adult male son to return home after a date?

      • And yet when the song was introduced in Neptune’s Daughter, Red Skelton sang the same lyric that Esther Williams sang. Loesser could have easily designated the vocal roles as male and female but he made the effort not to. I believe there are different types of men and different types of women, so we should not pigeon-hole people into gender roles, especially when the writer clearly indicates that either gender can play either role.

        • The song was actually performed twice in Neptune’s Daughter, correct, and part of the ‘charm’ of the second performance is supposed to be the gender inversion.

          I strongly disagree that Loesser made any effort at all to make the lyrics of the song gender neutral, a concept that would have been foreign when the song was written. The lyrics, within the social construct of the time period in which it was written have specific connotations — that’s why the harmonizing at the end (indicating the woman has decided to stay) is slyly subversive. She’s going against the expectations (which isn’t always the reality — we all know unmarried couples had sex in the 40s) of the time period.