Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:53 PM
cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 22,057

My Girl, Bill - Would this song fly today?


In 1974, Jim Stafford released the song My Girl, Bill which seemed to hint at a romantic relationship between two men. The first two verses reinforce this as Jim and Bill go inside to have some wine and discuss their relationship.

Let's not stand out here like this.
What would the neighbors think?


Who we love, why we love,
It's hard to understand.
Let's just sit here on the couch
And face this man to man.


Both verses are followed by a cutesy chorus full of love for "my girl, Bill". The twist comes in the third verse, which reveals that Jim and Bill are actually rivals for the affections of a woman.

You're gonna have to find another,
'cause she's my girl, Bill.


The listeners are left reassured that the two men are straight.

Would this song be allowed to play if it were released today? Attitudes have changed since the 1970s. Homosexuality was viewed as "wrong" and not normal. Today society has grown more tolerant, and even more welcoming to expressions of sexuality, other than heterosexuality. And this is a good thing. Does My Girl, Bill come across as homophobic, even though Stafford in real life probably isn't, or is it just a harmless novelty song?

Last edited by cochrane; 09-04-2019 at 02:55 PM.
  #2  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:59 PM
terentii's Avatar
terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 18,114
Well, I think it's kind of a letdown at the end, innit? I mean, we've been hoodwinked!
__________________
"Makes you wonder why we bother, eh, Fawlty?"
"Didn't know you did, Major."
  #3  
Old 09-04-2019, 03:02 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is offline
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,254
Without listening to the actual song, just going by the lyrics posted here, I don't see anything remotely objectionable about it.
  #4  
Old 09-04-2019, 03:38 PM
DigitalC is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Obamatopia
Posts: 11,134
You think it wouldn't fly because the guys DIDN'T turn out to be gay?
  #5  
Old 09-04-2019, 04:26 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 11,499
Similarly (spoiler) that wasn't really Santa Claus that Daddy was kissing.
  #6  
Old 09-04-2019, 06:07 PM
Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,263
We'll, it's all so clever because you the listener think they are, you know,GAY, but they aren't! Whew!

The song requires the stigma of being gay to "work". If released now, it would be just a dumb song with no point, as opposed the the dumb song with a point it was when new.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 09-04-2019 at 06:08 PM.
  #7  
Old 09-04-2019, 06:09 PM
carrps is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 820
Jim Stafford wrote DUMB songs. This is just one of them.
  #8  
Old 09-04-2019, 06:19 PM
madsircool is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 7,556
I thought that this thread was about the Frank Sinatra song.
  #9  
Old 09-04-2019, 06:24 PM
robardin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Flushing, NY
Posts: 4,766

My Girl, Bill - Would this song fly today?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
We'll, it's all so clever because you the listener think they are, you know,GAY, but they aren't! Whew!

The song requires the stigma of being gay to "work". If released now, it would be just a dumb song with no point, as opposed the the dumb song with a point it was when new.

Eh, it requires a little more than that...

I don't know about you, but the gay men I know would almost certainly find it offensive (at the least) to depict their relationship as requiring one of them to be "the girl" and even addressed as such.

I myself, not being gay, would probably have assumed the "Bill" in question was an F2M transgender being addressed by a former husband or lover from her past, based on those lyrics quoted.

Last edited by robardin; 09-04-2019 at 06:25 PM.
  #10  
Old 09-04-2019, 10:32 PM
Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by robardin View Post

I don't know about you, but the gay men I know would almost certainly find it offensive (at the least) to depict their relationship as requiring one of them to be "the girl" and even addressed as such.
In the 70s ignorant people thought a gay couple needed one of the guys to be a "girl". Of course it's offensive to gay people, but then the song isn't for them. it's for SAHMs whose idea of risqué humor is Hollywood Squares, and this song. It's for people that have never (to their knowledge) met a gay person in their lives.

That's why it would fall flat today.
  #11  
Old 09-04-2019, 11:04 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
In the 70s ignorant people thought a gay couple needed one of the guys to be a "girl". Of course it's offensive to gay people, but then the song isn't for them. it's for SAHMs whose idea of risqué humor is Hollywood Squares, and this song. It's for people that have never (to their knowledge) met a gay person in their lives.

That's why it would fall flat today.
In a similar vein, the early episodes of Soap (1977-81) were groundbreaking in having a gay character ("Jodie Dallas", played by Billy Crystal), but also had a subplot about him preparing for sex-change surgery so he could be a "woman" for his closeted boyfriend ("Dennis Phillips", played by Bob Seagren).

Further complicating the matter was Jodie having occasional romantic relationships with women, one of which produced a child, despite maintaining that he was gay.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.

Last edited by Bryan Ekers; 09-04-2019 at 11:06 PM.
  #12  
Old 09-05-2019, 12:14 AM
Go_Arachnid_Laser is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 1,410
Actually, I heard about a country song from 2014 that pulls the gender-reversed version of this same trick.
Allow me to introduce you to Girl Crush, by Little Big Town:

I got a girl crush
Hate to admit it but
I got a heart rush
Ain't slowing down
I got it real bad
Want everything she has
That smile and that midnight laugh
She's giving you now

I want to taste her lips
Yeah, 'cause they taste like you
I want to drown myself
In a bottle of her perfume
I want her long blonde hair
I want her magic touch
Yeah, 'cause maybe then
You'd want me just as much
I got a girl crush
I got a girl crush


Ha! You thought it was a song about leeeeesbians, but no, it was a straight song the whole time! Dun- dun- dunnnnnnn!

Nobody really cared.

Last edited by Go_Arachnid_Laser; 09-05-2019 at 12:14 AM.
  #13  
Old 09-05-2019, 03:01 AM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 4,957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
it's for SAHMs whose idea of risqué humor is Hollywood Squares.
Genuine question; Do you think that we need to be sensitive to the LGBTQ community, but that denigrating Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHMs) is okay? Your post suggests that this is what you believe.

For the record, I was never a SAHM, and am not especially comfortable with a parent of any gender dropping out of the workforce longterm in order to raise children. I think doing so raises both practical and ethical issues.

But people have the right to make that choice without getting knee-jerk judgment from people who don't know their circumstances. There are plenty of SAHMs (and probably SAHDs too) who have a sophisticated sense of humor - I have known several of them.

(Also, wasn't Paul Lynde, a Hollywood Squares regular and also gay, pretty damn hilarious and outre by the standards of the time? I think using Hollywood Squares as a put-down meaning "lame humor" does him a disservice.)
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
  #14  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:15 AM
Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
Genuine question; Do you think that we need to be sensitive to the LGBTQ community, but that denigrating Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHMs) is okay? Your post suggests that this is what you believe.

For the record, I was never a SAHM, and am not especially comfortable with a parent of any gender dropping out of the workforce longterm in order to raise children. I think doing so raises both practical and ethical issues.

But people have the right to make that choice without getting knee-jerk judgment from people who don't know their circumstances. There are plenty of SAHMs (and probably SAHDs too) who have a sophisticated sense of humor - I have known several of them.

(Also, wasn't Paul Lynde, a Hollywood Squares regular and also gay, pretty damn hilarious and outre by the standards of the time? I think using Hollywood Squares as a put-down meaning "lame humor" does him a disservice.)
D\I guess there's something that will offend ever doper.

Nothing I said put down SAHMs. In the 70s, at least in my area of the country, SAHMs (such as my own!) didn't, well, get out a lot. No internet! So their knowledge of the world was inherently limited. There were no openly or even marginally closeted gay folk around at all. No Black people, Chinese, Muslim, Jewish, just white Christians. So how would anyone get any knowledge of gay people? From watching Rock Hudson Doris Day movies? Liberace?

And as far as Paul Lynde, other than the "Everyone knew he was gay!" smarter-than-thou dopers, in the 70, most folks did not know he, Charles Nelson Riley, Liberace, Raymond Burr, Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins etc etc etc were gay.

And risqué does not mean lame. look it up. Sheesh.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 09-05-2019 at 07:16 AM.
  #15  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:18 AM
davidm's Avatar
davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 12,496
Unfortunately, this kind of casual homophobia was distressingly common. Even something like Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant", which was practically a countercultural anthem, had lines like
"And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them".
__________________
Check out my t-shirt designs in Marketplace. https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=21131885

Last edited by davidm; 09-05-2019 at 07:19 AM.
  #16  
Old 09-05-2019, 07:59 AM
WOOKINPANUB's Avatar
WOOKINPANUB is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: St Petersburg, Floriduhhh
Posts: 7,114
Having known the chorus but never the lyrics to the verses, I had absolutely no idea what the song actually meant / tricked us into thinking it meant. Mind, I haven't heard or even thought of the song since I was about ten, and at the time I thought the joke was that his girlfriend's name was "Bill". Like maybe even though she goes by a boy's nickname she's a girl - his girl- through and through. This thread has truly been a for me.

As to the question at hand, no,it wouldn't work today. Did gay men ever refer to their s/o as their "girl" Seems that's a term strictly for homophobes.
Of course, even if I'd known the lyrics even back when the song came out, it still wouldn't have made sense to me.
  #17  
Old 09-05-2019, 08:21 AM
kayaker's Avatar
kayaker is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 32,599
"The good old days". IIRC there was a song about roadkill, as well.
  #18  
Old 09-05-2019, 10:58 AM
Steve McQwark is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 345
I'm with WOOKINPANUB, I remember hearing of the song and assuming Bill was just a woman's name, like Frankie in "Frankie and Johnny."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
And as far as Paul Lynde, other than the "Everyone knew he was gay!" smarter-than-thou dopers, in the 70, most folks did not know he, Charles Nelson Riley, Liberace, Raymond Burr, Rock Hudson, Anthony Perkins etc etc etc were gay.

And risqué does not mean lame. look it up. Sheesh.
Nonsense. I'll grant you Rock Hudson, Raymond Burr and Anthony Perkins, but everyone knew that Paul Lynde, Liberace, Charles Nelson Riley, and Rip Taylor were all gay. I grew up in small town Kansas and while no one would have publicly admitted they knew a gay person, gay entertainers in Hollywood were acknowledged to exist.
  #19  
Old 09-05-2019, 11:16 AM
Colibri's Avatar
Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 43,012
What I want to know is if Lola's a man or not.
  #20  
Old 09-05-2019, 12:32 PM
Alessan's Avatar
Alessan is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 24,647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
What I want to know is if Lola's a man or not.
I think the singer concludes that it doesn't really matter - which is why that particular song has held up surprisingly well.
  #21  
Old 09-05-2019, 12:42 PM
Ukulele Ike is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 17,469
RAYMOND BURR was gay!?!!? Holy shit....no WONDER he sawed up his dead wife in Rear Window.. And disposed of the parts so neatly, too!
__________________
Uke
  #22  
Old 09-05-2019, 01:14 PM
JRDelirious is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Displaced
Posts: 15,910
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Unfortunately, this kind of casual homophobia was distressingly common.
It was not “distressingly common”, it was the expected norm. And it stayed “tolerable” joke fodder for even longer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve McQwark View Post
I'm with WOOKINPANUB, I remember hearing of the song and assuming Bill was just a woman's name, like Frankie in "Frankie and Johnny."


...

Nonsense. I'll grant you Rock Hudson, Raymond Burr and Anthony Perkins, but everyone knew that Paul Lynde, Liberace, Charles Nelson Riley, and Rip Taylor were all gay. I grew up in small town Kansas and while no one would have publicly admitted they knew a gay person, gay entertainers in Hollywood were acknowledged to exist.

Yeah, it was one of those things where you did not just say it out loud for the record, but especially for those with a less macho presentation you’d wink-and-nod that they were “a little light in the loafers.”
  #23  
Old 09-05-2019, 05:24 PM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 4,957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
risqué does not mean lame. look it up. Sheesh.
I'll let the rest of this discussion go since it could be seen as a hijack, but you misread my post if you interpreted what I wrote as thinking "risque" and "lame" are synonyms. I'm well aware of the meaning of both words.



.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.

Last edited by CairoCarol; 09-05-2019 at 05:24 PM.
  #24  
Old 09-05-2019, 08:25 PM
Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
I'll let the rest of this discussion go since it could be seen as a hijack, but you misread my post if you interpreted what I wrote as thinking "risque" and "lame" are synonyms. I'm well aware of the meaning of both words.



.
Well, considering I never used the word "lame" in my post, I'm not convinced.

Hollywood Squares was completely risqué, just like My Girl (,) Bill, but I never said it was lame. It was quite funny.

And despite repeated doper proclamations, not everyone knew Paul Lynne et al were gay. Get over yourselves.
  #25  
Old 09-05-2019, 08:38 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 26,563
Quote:
Originally Posted by carrps View Post
Jim Stafford wrote DUMB songs. This is just one of them.
And here's another, featuring a little boy and a little girl, who makes it pretty clear she's on a different wavelength from him.

'I don't like spiders and snakes
And that ain't what it takes to love me
You fool, you fool
I don't like spiders and snakes
And that ain't what it takes to love me
Like I want to be loved by you'

And remember, Jim Stafford songs were popular at the same time Blue Swede came out with a thudding, OOGA-SHAKKA remake of a romantic B. J. Thomas song.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 09-05-2019 at 08:42 PM.
  #26  
Old 09-06-2019, 01:02 AM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 4,957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
]
Hollywood Squares was completely risqué, just like My Girl (,) Bill, but I never said it was lame. It was quite funny.
Alright then. Seems we agree on some basic stuff: SAHMs don't automatically deserve denigration because of their choices, and Hollywood Squares had some funny, non-lame and risqué moments.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
  #27  
Old 09-06-2019, 08:49 AM
SuntanLotion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: mentor ohio
Posts: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post

And despite repeated doper proclamations, not everyone knew Paul Lynne et al were gay. Get over yourselves.
I was quite embarrassed when I realized, after enjoying his work for many years, that John Waters was gay.
__________________
you need me
  #28  
Old 09-06-2019, 10:33 AM
cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Nekkid Pueblo
Posts: 22,057
Peter Marshall: What happens to a bill if it sits on the President's desk for more than ten days?

Paul Lynde: Spiro pays it.

  #29  
Old 09-06-2019, 07:46 PM
Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 7,263
Quote:
Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
Peter Marshall: What happens to a bill if it sits on the President's desk for more than ten days?

Paul Lynde: Spiro pays it.

Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?
  #30  
Old 09-06-2019, 08:12 PM
CairoCarol is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 4,957
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuntanLotion View Post
I was quite embarrassed when I realized, after enjoying his work for many years, that John Waters was gay.
As long as you knew Divine wasn't ... conventional ... I don't think it matters.

What I have always found the most wonderful and life-affirming about John Waters is the way his affection for his actors/characters shines through, especially in his early movies. For example, when you see Pink Flamingos you just know that he cared for Edith Massey (the egg lady) as a human being, along with everyone else he worked with. That's more striking to me than his personal sexual orientation, though I don't doubt that the experiences he had growing up as a gay man were fundamental to shaping his vision.
__________________
If I waited for memory to serve, I'd starve.
  #31  
Old 09-06-2019, 08:42 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 26,563
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve McQwark View Post
Nonsense. I'll grant you Rock Hudson, Raymond Burr and Anthony Perkins, but everyone knew that Paul Lynde, Liberace, Charles Nelson Riley, and Rip Taylor were all gay. I grew up in small town Kansas and while no one would have publicly admitted they knew a gay person, gay entertainers in Hollywood were acknowledged to exist.
Yup, that's about the same lineup my parents would have picked (plus or minus Rip Taylor as maybe straight but clowning around, and Anthony Perkins as maybe "too sensitive" for a straight man.)

Of course, my parents' reaction to learning my sister and her husband's best friend was gay was a good deal less shocked than my sister and her husband, so I guess maybe they were more blase just because they were older and had seen more.
  #32  
Old 09-06-2019, 09:21 PM
P-man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Washington, DC area
Posts: 1,765
My Mom's family calls her "Bill", although it's not her given name. Her Dad said she was named after a mule.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:04 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017