Starting point: The song “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” by Father John Misty
By Nina Anatchkova
Believe me, no one is more embarrassed than I am for actually liking Father John Misty. I mean, “a hipster dork who despite that has a lot of sex” seems to be the main characterisation of his lyrical protagonist and yet he grows on you… on me. And it’s not like there’s subtle magic at work here either, it’s plain as day to me what attraction let’s say I Love You, Honeybear seems to have: stripped down songs that have been let soak in these “giant, deranged, impenetrable Disney-orchestra arrangements” as the man himself puts it. And of course the impeccable phrasing of these craftily put together if otherwise cringeworthy lyrics over the rolling canvas of quietly bombastic music. “Oh, I just love the kind of woman who can walk over a man // I mean like a god damn marching band” anyone?
Which brings me to my main point and it is:
I’ve never done this
Baby, be gentle
It’s my first time
Yeah, this is exactly the lyric that has moved me to profound realisation recently. It’s about virgins!!!! No, as genius.com notices too, our favourite Father actually goes on to subvert this lyric: “Tillman twists the phrases typically uttered when a virgin first has sex, manipulating them to instead reflect the sensation of falling in love for the first time.”
I’ve got you inside
People are boring
But you’re something else completely
Damn, let’s take our chances
is the slightly clumsier conclusion to this thought. I used to mishear the lyric — “I’ve never done this so please be gentle” but even the way Father John Misty has written it there is something about confessing plainly how things stand. Because isn’t it more often that people try to impress other people by faking it? I am sure that’s the plot to many a screwball comedy, “liar revealed” plot template, probably even to Johnny Bravo. I know I once stubbornly proclaimed to this mechanical engineer guy I used to have a crush on that I can change my back bike tire alright on my own in order to seem tough and competent when really even detaching the chain proved to be trickier than I initially supposed. But here we have the protagonist refreshingly choosing the route where he bares proverbial soul and inexperience and completely trusts the opposite side (person). Liberating, as it is currently in fashion to say. It may all sound so simple but it does indeed take great bravery to be truly humble about yourself and to stop caring about how you are perceived or how superior you should come off as. So, thanks, Father, for making me reevaluate my life with your corny songs about your sexual dorkishness. “When you’re smiling and astride me // I can hardly believe I’ve found you and I’m terrified by that” indeed.