Since the RV I bought from a nice old fisherman (“When you get your boat,” he kept saying as he showed me around the tow package) unsurprisingly came with an inadequately-gay decorating scheme, I’ve been resurfacing and prepping the walls. Maybe it was the old-timer’s influence that inspired me to select a Wings song on Spotify the night I started, and I had a pretty good time jamming to the oldies the algorithm continued to roll out for hours. I was trying to scrub some paint off my hands when the Four Tops’ “Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got” hit the line I would kiss the ground she walks on / ’Cause it’s my word she’ll obey now.
I’m not sure how I still manage to be surprised by misogyny every time; a spring of eternal unrealistic hope—“denial” would be another way of putting this—that it’s not really as globally bad as it definitely is must’ve been an adaptation to surviving femaledom. “Ew,” I said out loud, to no one, when I heard the lyric. Later, while painting the squish, I shook my head realizing that “Beast of Burden” (I never listen to the Rolling Stones on purpose) is devoted to insisting on sex from a woman who has already repeatedly declined, because though that’s the topic of about a fifth of songs sung by straight cis men, I’m forever newly disappointed. (A few years ago, I texted a friend while painting a different apartment to a different Spotify stream and becoming aware that *NSYNC lyrics were not great. She responded: “Noooooooooooooo”.) I was somehow shocked to realize that the words to “One of These Nights”—I have totally listened to the Eagles on purpose—were so much more threatening than I’d previously noticed, and so unnecessarily. Comin’ right behind you / Swear I’m gonna find you / Get you, baby, one of these nights. Why, Don Henley?
But I fully stopped what I was doing, turned toward my phone where it was sitting on the counter, and gaped at it in disbelief when it played “I Wanna Be With You,” a Raspberries song that I didn’t know and that carries on in a regular-enough, let’s-bone way—I wanna be with you, so bad, oh baby, oh yeah, we’ve been waiting, tonight’s the night—until this bizarre turn: