This raises quite an interesting point - I had a good rummage through my music collection (I have a frankly obscene one that covers pretty much everything. I’m very eclectic) and then I hit my Pulp.
(Caveat: A lot of Pulp’s stuff is very very dark and possessive. I am not excusing that. However, there are some key differences, as explained below)
I think (for me, anyway) the thing that turns me right the fuck off Robin Thicke’s track is the way he constantly refers to the woman in there as a “bitch”. It’s not a song looking to cheat with a woman he’s desiring, the woman has become an object throughout the course of the song. It’s less about her desires, and more about him trying to convince her to his way of thinking.
For a song along similar cheating subjects, look at these two excerpts from Pulp’s Street Lites:
by the railings
on the back seat
or the top deck
or the back row
Can you feel me against you?
Oh you know
….I want to…
Did you think about me? Did you close your eyes?
Think that maybe it was my hand that was touching you?
My breath against your face?
And when your opened your eyes
did the world tip off its axis for a few seconds?
And you thought you caught a tiny glimpse of something…
something hidden behind his shoulders as he moved towards you?
Yeah, I felt it too
And it felt good…
Now, you read that, and its’ very clear the song is about cheating. It’s also, unlike Thicke’s song, very very clear that both parties are very much enthusiastic participants.
Thicke’s on the other hand, focuses solely on a crude recital of the male’s desires:
Let me be the one you back that ass to
Go, from Malibu, to Paris, boo
Yeah, I had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So hit me up when you passing through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it’s almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare, would I
Pull a Pharside let you pass me by
Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I just watch and wait for you to salute
But you didn’t pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me
Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting to tear someone’s arse in two sexually - if that is what both parties are into. But the whole song
reeks of a stalking pursuit, it’s coached and framed in the language of someone who wants to “Wreck that chick” and it’s very, very unclear whether or not she reciprocates. There is the line “You grab me” but it’s also followed by “You didn’t pick”, and comes across as a very unreliable narrator banging on about what he wants…
The woman is irrelevant, that much is clear throughout the song. The singer’s sexual desires are paramount - and as a result the lines “And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl / I know you want it / Can’t let it get past me” become problematic as all fuck. Is he reading the signals correctly? Or is he just making things out of his own desires? The song is deliberately vague in that respect, and combined with the constant dehumanising language used in regards to the woman in question, the song becomes less about coaxing a woman who might be prone to straying to cheat, and more about coveting an ass. And if that ass won’t come willingly, he’ll take it by force. He believes “she wants it” quite savagely, and while a good ol’ hardfuck with hairpulling and wall slamming can be quite fun, if you take away the desire and willing participation of one of the parties involved, it’s a violent assault and rape.
We tend to treat only dating people you have oppressive power over as creepy, right?
A cis person who only dates trans people is probably a chaser.
An abled person who only dates disabled people is a creep and probably a fetishist
A thin person who dates only fat people and excludes other thin people as potential partners is creepy and probably has a fetish.
A white person who doesn’t date other white people but dates people of color is also a creep and is probably acting on a fetish.
Why, then, do we act like a man who exclusively seeks women as partners to the exclusion of other men is acting on an immutable preference? Why does he get the benefit of the doubt that he is not acting on a fetishized belief of what women are? Why is having a strong preference for partners down this specific power dynamic considered natural and beyond challenge?
Why is the word for this kind of man “heterosexual” or “straight” and not “creepy dude who only dates women”?