A Meerkat Rants: I Won’t Hear That

I was listening to the radio a few days ago, and Meatloaf’s “Anything For Love” came up. Now I grew up listening to that song to the point where the lyrics are embedded in my DNA. Probably any American of my particular generation can say the same, no matter how you personally feel about the song itself.

However, when the song ended, the DJ said something I’ve never heard before in conjunction with that song.  He said, and I quote, “what exactly is it he won’t do? I’ve never understood that.” And his male sidekick laughed and agreed. And all I could think was, have you never listened to the song?   Because after the verses listing all the things he WOULD do, comes a woman’s voice, singing,

Will you raise me up? will you help me down?
Will you get me right out of this godforsaken town?
Will you make it all a little less cold?
Will you cater to every fantasy I got?
Will you hose me down with holy water, if I get too hot?
Will you take me places I’ve never known?

And Meatloaf responds:

I can do that

And then she comes back with:

I know the territory, I’ve been around
It’ll all turn to dust and we’ll all fall down
Sooner or later you’ll be screwing around

And the final damn lines of the song are:

I won’t do that

Anything for love

But I won’t do that.

It’s right there in the song, about as explicit as you can make it without a four-color three-dimensional diagram.  He promises that he would not be the man she feared.  Boom.

But if you didn’t listen to the woman’s portion of the lyrics, the switch from what he would do to what he would not do, would seem to come out of nowhere and without context.

It was, bluntly, the most amazing example of a man – two men in fact – confronted with a woman speaking (singing), and yet completely oblivious to her voice to the point where their brains could not process the information she was giving, leaving them unable to realize that the man was responding to anything.

He wouldn’t do that, but they couldn’t hear that.

“I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” was written by Jim Steinman, and recorded by Meat Loaf with Lorraine Crosby.


About Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne is a recovering editor-turned-novelist, with an Endeavor Award, a Nebula nomination, another Endeavor award nomination and a Washington State Book Award nomination under her belt. Her most recent series is the award-winning "Devil's West" trilogy, starting with SILVER ON THE ROAD, and her same-universe story collection, WEST WINDS' FOOL, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE DEVIL'S WEST. The novella GABRIEL'S ROAD was published by Book View Cafe on April 30th, 2019. Her Patreon, featuring original fiction, writing advice, and original Rants, is at https://www.patreon.com/LAGilman Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net, where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.


A Meerkat Rants: I Won’t Hear That — 9 Comments

  1. Doing some research, I found that this is a rant with some serious pedigree. But Mr. Loaf, from the very start, was up front about what he was talking about, and I think was baffled that people (other men) didn’t get it…

  2. This won’t apply for younger men, but I found out something interesting with one of my boyfriends’ former father-in-law. Max could not hear me speak, as he aged. He would turn to W for a translation. He had lost the register for a woman’s voice. Mine is lower but not as low as a man’s. I knew a man in his 50s who had to let his partner set the tempo in tango. He could not hear all the beats anymore.

    ADHD boys hear only what they are looking at. My sister had to teach her son to stop looking at a gameboy or TV and face her to hear what she was saying. Her daughter is not ADHD, so I don’t know if girls have the same problem. Sis says their hearing grows slower.

    This makes me think that it’s not just culture–it’s also biology, and woman giving up on getting sons to listen.

    My guess is, they really don’t hear the lyrics. Which stinks, and says a lot about society as a whole. Some men can hear them. Some cannot.

    • By that observation, men over 50 should not be allowed to do anything that requires, oh, auditory skills? I mean, I’d be okay with that right now, but they might object…

      • It made me realize how often people fake it, and/or their hearing is damaged by environment. And left me wondering how many times we think people hear sound for safety or pleasure–and they don’t. At all.

        But yes, I don’t see a ban anytime soon. Auditory tests might be something else, however. As hearing aids get smaller and people are less self-conscious, that might end up happening. I do know I have noise canceling headphones for anyone using machinery around my place, and the guys won’t wear them.

        • I have hearing loss. Many people of all genders have hearing loss. We acknowledge it, where possible we get hearing aids, we adapt.

          We don’t ignore 51% of the world. And we sure as hell don’t ignore the evidence that that 51% is saying something (ex: other people reacting to it).