On a recent Women’s History Month post I denoted that as a Queer CIS Male, from an early age I took most of what I’ve learned about dealing from men from women. One large area where I took that advice from was from music.
Therein lies the big root cause why my tastes in vintage music lean heavily into the music sung and/or written by and for women listeners. I don’t think this is particularly uncommon for queer men in general. Granted the more of the traditional camp sensibility slides into the “strong” yet oft solitary “Diva” that pines in unrequited lovelorn lane. This archetype is as old as Sophie Tucker and Judy Garland and continues unabated to win Song Of The Year Oscars for Lady Gaga.
I definitely took more inspiration (and still do) in the co-conspirator aspect of girl groups of the early 60’s and beyond. Solidarity against scheming men trying to hit it and quit it? Check. Don’t be the fool I’ve been (and might be again?) Check. Keep your hands off my man lest you wanna get cut? Check. The inevitability of infidelity and open relationships? Okay sort of because after all, we’re talking about the 1960’s, so the infidelity is true, but it’s not like explicit polyamory was discussed on girl group records some 50+ years ago.
Nevertheless, the pragmatism alongside romanticism is why the Girl Group Sound is my favorite genre of music. Of course, these tunes are all heavily steeped in heterocentric toxic masculinity, strict gender roles and absolute bending one’s will to masculinity. Of course all of this falls under our puritan, hypocritical society based on patriarchal white supremacy. I do believe we continue to chip away at day by day by queering and questioning existence.
Til then, there’s wisdom in looking at the morality that still informs mainstream ideas of courtship and intimacy, no matter how much of a intimacy anarchist you claim yourself to be. We still center patriarchal white supremacist masculinity as an ideal to aspire to, perhaps moreso for Queer Men these days. What did we learn way back when and carry forth that makes us still cling to it.
Underneath it all, the validation of love and bonding we crave pushes a host of these tunes through their 2 and a half minutes, and I still look at them and recognize the trouble with boys I still find myself in, even as I approach my late 30s. So for you too, as we head into Spring Cleaning Season, take a little advice around how to deal with the boys a little bit better.
- Patty Lace & The Petticoats – Girls Don’t Trust That Boy
- The Society Girls – Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Little Girls (S.P.C.L.G)
- Maxine Brown – If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)
- Damita Jo – Hands Off
- The Orlons – Keep Your Hands Of My Baby
- The Charmers – Looking For Trouble
- The Cookies – Foolish Little Girl
- The Femm-eles – When The Cat’s Away, The Mice Will Play
- Little Eva – The Trouble With Boys
- Lesley Gore – That’s The Way Boys Are
- The Bootleggers – Don’t Count On Tomorrow
- Marva Josie – Don’t
- Dionne Warwick – Get Rid Of Him
- Timi Yuro – You Can Have Him
- The Sequins – He’s A Flirt
- The Jaynetts – Vangie, Don’t You Cry
- Dusty Springfield – Needle In A Haystack
- Martha & The Vandellas – You’ve Been In Love Too Long
- Ruth Christie – What Fools Girls Can Be
- Dean & Jean – Silly Little Girl
- The Ikettes – Sally Go ‘Round The Roses
- Barbara Lewis – (Better Not Believe Him) Sorrow
- The Ronettes – Keep On Dancing
- Anna King – Sally
- The Softiques – Two Kinds Of Boys
- Anita Humes & The Essex – Just For The Boy
- The Foxes – Get Him With A Wink
- The Velvelettes – He’s The One
- The Chiffons – Keep The Boy Happy
- The Fascinations – Girls Are Out To Get You
- Reparata & The Delrons – You Can’t Change A Young Boy’s Mind
- Honey Cone – Girls It Ain’t Easy
- The Supremes – The Sha La Bandit
- Ella Washington – Stop Giving Your Man Away
- Laura Lee – Rip Off