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February 3rd, 2011

16 Going on 17

Just checking: You all do realize that, while it’s a terrific song, the lyrics to “I Am Sixteen Going On Seventeen” from The Sound of Music are pretty yucky, right? Rolf tells Liesl all the crap she can expect as she turns a year older. It seems to be presented in a romantic way but, as a human female who has gone from 16 to 17, I can tell you that it’s mostly lies, designed to land him some tail. In case you’ve never realized this, check it out for yourself:

He first states: “You wait, little girl, on an empty stage
For fate to turn the light on
Your life, little girl, is an empty page
That men will want to write on”

Liesl obediently repeats, “To wriiite onnnnn.”

Oh my god. Gross! He’s essentially just told her, “Hey, idiot. You know that last decade and a half of your life? Useless. But, buckle up, sister, ’cause it’s ’bout to be bangin’ time.” And she’s all into it? That’s sick, Hammerstein.

He continues: “You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby, it’s time to think
Better beware, be canny and careful
Baby, you’re on the brink”

First of all, when I was 16, going on 17, the only things I was on the brink of were having to apply to college, and trying to figure out how to do my own laundry. I don’t know what Rolf thinks Liesl is on the brink of here, but if she’d better be canny and careful, it sounds like he believes that girls who turn 17 are more likely to be the victims of a sexual assault or involved in a murder cover up.

Then: “You are sixteen going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and grueways and cads
Will offer you food and wine”

So that’s a fat lie. If fellows fell in line every time someone turned 17, you’d hear about it on the news a lot more. I think the age he was looking for was 18. ‘Cause that totally happens. I don’t know what a grueway is, but I feel like it might appear in World of Warcraft. Unless it means “an old gross dude,” because that also totally happens. Maybe it’s an Austrian thing, but I was never offered food (or wine) as a result of being 17. If I had been, I think I could have put up with a lot more grueways.

Rolf continues: “Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken”

Okay, Rolf, screw you, man. Liesl is 16 going on 17, not 6 going on 7, you jackass. I doubt she’d be scared of things beyond her ken. At this point, though, Rolf is hoping that his rich tenor has lulled her into somewhat of a suggestible state and that maybe he can seal the deal with his next words:

“You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I’ll take care of you”

I bet you will, buddy. You know what though, as naive and young as 17 is, I can guaran-frakking-tee you I was never so clueless as to not be able to see through this kind of a line. He’s basically an early adopter of the techniques outlined in Neil Strauss’ The Game. These are light insults and digs designed to get a girl with daddy issues to drop trou. Or petticoat. Whatever. This kind of thing doesn’t really fly, if you think about it. Like, imagine if these sentiments were expressed today in a rap song. “Hey bitch, you super young and all illegal and whatnot, and you kind of stupid, and you ’bout to be all hit on and shit by all them grueways. Yeah. So I’m like, gonna protect you, and we’ll just kinda see what happens. Ha ha, come to daddy.” The FCC would slap some serious warnings on the album, and it would make VH1’s Top 10 Most Awesomely Creepy Songs Of All Time list.

But it’s a great song, though.

2 comments to 16 Going on 17

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