Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lyrics: "Double Standard" from Oh, Captain!

To follow up on my post about feminist movies, here are some surprisingly feminist lyrics from an otherwise cheerfully sexist 1958 musical comedy, Oh, Captain!. The song, by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, is called "Double Standard," and is sung to the two-timing hero by his wife and his mistress:

I came to you, a bride to you,
My contract says I'm tied to you,
But you're as free as a little bird is.
There's a word for you, you tainted saint,
But as a lady of restraint,
I can't tell you what that certain word is.
Mine eyes have seen the battle-light,
I'm tired of being a satellite,
Just another gal in your galaxy.
If you want your double standard,
Then you don't want me.

If I should shake my hip a bit,
Then you, you greedy hypocrite,
You dare to tell me I'm being shameless.
You have set a new Olympic mark
For clearing hurdles in the dark,
And yet you stand around acting blameless.
You pull the switch, it's so routine,
And just like any good machine,
I'm to do just what you expect me to.
Well, if that's your double standard,
Then a pox on you.

You're famous on the boulevards,
I bet you pose for postal cards,
I'm sure nobody could do it better.
But if I should let an eyebrow twitch,
I start with "b" and rhyme with "itch"
Like I'm the star of The Scarlet Letter.
Who knows how many times you've been
Cavorting down the street of sin?
Anywhere you hang your pants is home!
If you want your double standard,
I'll just have to roam.

You think I'm sweet and gentle, and never wild,
But we're not children, and I'm no child.
Did it ever occur to you I could give you more?
If you want your double standard --
Demand a double standard --
Then this means war!

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