The push-pull between misogyny and female worship in rock music is classic. If you listen to lyrics from some songs, it’s hard to consider how someone had the nerve to sing them, let alone put them down on paper. And sometimes I end up laughing out loud imaging such words stripped of their melodious backdrop and left alone to be judged on their own merits.
This morning, it was Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs” that put me in this frame of mind.
Who’s that knocking on my door? It’s gotta be quarter to four. Is it your, my friend, coming ’round for more? Hmmm… so someone is seeking something he has, at a time to seems to be rather inconvenient. And by “quarter to four,” does he mean a.m. or p.m.? This would reveal a lot.
You can love me tonight if you want. But in the morning make sure you’re gone. Ok, question answered, though if he said a.m. in the first place, “love” would have been one of my three guesses as to what this visitor sought. Yet, he tells this person to leave in the morning, so how long does he think this is going to take? Because sunrise is on its way.
I’m talking to you. Hot legs… wearing me out. Hot legs… you can scream and shout. Hot legs… are you still in school? I love you honey. Clearly he wants us to think that this woman is young, because I don’t think he’s talking about graduate school. Yet, he never does refer to his visitor as female, so I guess I am making some assumptions with this one.
Got a most persuasive tongue. You promise all kinds of fun. But what you don’t understand… I’m a working man. Are we supposed to believe that Rod is concerned about his ability to concentrate on the job after his early-morning rendezvous with Hottie? Perhaps he wants us to think of him as a responsible individual who’s considering the big picture of this encounter. But, given his indications that he thinks Hottie might be a minor, I’m not buying it at this point.
Hot legs… you’re an alley cat. Hot legs… you scratch my back. Hot legs… bring your mother too. I love you honey. Really? Hottie’s mother? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.
It gets worse…
Imagine how my daddy felt… in your jet black suspender belt. Seventeen years old… he’s touching sixty-four. There are so many ways one can go with this, and none of them bode well for Rod, in my opinion. Either Hottie is a paid professional or Rod’s dad is a better-looking dude at 64 than Rod is at whatever age he’s supposed to be in the song. The best-case-scenario is that his dad is young-at-heart (as in he’s 17 years old and just shy of 64). But with these parental references, I don’t think Rod has a chance of wooing anyone with these lyrics at this point.
As the song wraps up, Rod goes on to tell Hottie to keep her hands to herself and asks a couple of more times if she’s still in school. Ultimately, he does admit to her that she’s making him a fool. And that’s the most truthful thing I heard in the entire three-plus minutes that I subjected myself to this song. One can only hope that this was a sarcastic message from Rod to his fellow songwriters about the perils of chauvinistic rock-n-roll cliches.
I must add that the flip side to “Hot Legs” in the UK was “I Was Only Joking,” so perhaps Rod just had a cheeky sense of humor all along.