Is it wrong to occasionally feel as thought you are not permitted, per se, to sing certain songs? At least, not out loud?
I'm not trying to imply that I'm better than a particular song or artist. Nor am I saying that I feel this song falls under the category of "guilty pleasure" and I should, therefore, hide my enjoyment of it. I am quite proud, in fact, to be a fan of this song.
I just feel awkward singing it.
The song in question is Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough" from her debut album Tuesday Night Music Club. It's one helluvan infectious tune, isn't it? Great melody, great singing, great musicianship. And I won't lie by saying that Sheryl's Hotness Quotient (imagine "hot" spoken with a throaty, Homer-like gurgle) didn't play somewhat into the early days of my enjoyment of her music.
My problem with the song lies in the lyrics.
"Are you strong enough to be my man?"
Gah! i don't want to sing that. Could it be any more awkward? I would not have minded having Sheryl sing those words to me. But I don't want to accidentally have some other guy think I'm singing them to him.
Just imagine being a guy stopped at a light in your car and you're blasting this song with the windows down and singing along to it when another car pulls up beside you. The human curiosity factor kicks in with the person next to you who is watching as you belt out Sheryl's words. Then comes the line, and that, too, emanates from your mouth at the same volume as the rest of the song. You suddenly become self conscious and look over at the car waiting next to you, and the guy in it blows you a kiss.
No, no. Not good.
"Are you man enough to be my man?"
Jesus, girl! Twice in one line?!?! What are you trying to do to me?
What's worse is that you cannot easily swap words around in this song to save face like you can in so many other songs. It's not nearly as simple as the rhythmically loose "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals which was gender swapped by Kiss on their Love Gun album. "Gal," "girl," "ma'am," etc. None of them work in the carefully rhymed scheme employed in "Strong Enough." It's almost as though Sheryl constructed it solely so hetero men would fail at singing it.
What's a music-loving guy such as myself to do? Do I continue trying to gender swap despite the apparent lack of rhyming quality? Do I discontinue singing the song and just (gah!) listen to it only? Or do I throw caution to the wind and sing it aloud in all its femme-oriented glory and pray no guy perceives it as an off-handed pick up line?
Oh the difficulties we face in this thing called life...