Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Songs about Jane

I was listening to some of my 11,261 MP3s (is that a lot?) the other day when I noticed something kind of odd: I have a lot of songs about women named Jane. There's "Jane" by Barenaked Ladies, "Jane Jones" by the Clash, "Jane Says" by Jane's Addiction (which is a band named after the heroin addiction of a woman named Jane), "Jessi Jane" by the Whipsaws, "Lady Jane" by the Rolling Stones, "Lazy Line Painter Jane" by Belle and Sebastian, "Mary Jane" by Alanis Morrisette, a different "Mary Jane" by the Vines, "Queen Jane Approximately" by Bob Dylan, an entire album called "Songs about Jane" by Maroon 5, and the pinnacle, "Sweet Jane" by Lou Reed (as well as covers by Mott the Hoople and, pinnacle of pinnacles, Cowboy Junkies).

What I find odd about this is, Jane is not a common name. In fact, I can only recall knowing three Janes in my entire life. One is a good friend I knew in San Diego, who I lost touch with and then not too long ago got reacquainted with through the magic of Facebook after about 20 years. Another was a girl I knew in college (although she spelled it "Jayne"). She was a very pretty Japanese-American girl. I never dated her or anything, we didn't even hang out, but we were in some classes together and talked sometimes. She was very nice, not stuck-up at all, even though she certainly had a right to be, considering how good-looking she was.

The third Jane was my old babysitter. By "old," I mean "former." She was actually only about five years older than me. Young enough, in fact, that she and my big sister used to gang up and pick on me. I didn't like her very much. I don't remember exactly when she stopped babysitting us, but when I was 11, we moved across the county, so we didn't see her again for years. I didn't miss her.

When I was 18 or 19, though, Jane and her mom came for a visit. (Her mom was friends with my mom, which was how she'd ended up babysitting us.) And something weird happened: my ex-babysitter thought I was hot. Seriously. I mean, I miss a lot of social signals, and I missed even more back then, but it was obvious even to me: my ex-babysitter was very attracted to me.

Jane was obviously kind of weirded out about it, because it was so unexpected. Nobody who saw me when I was 10 (or even 16, for that matter) would have predicted how good I would look when I was 19 (any more than somebody seeing me today would expect me to have looked so good back then). Suddenly this little kid she used to babysit (and pick on) wasn't just grown up, he was grown up and hawt. Her little mind was boggled.

Well, I was a little weirded out too. Jane was my ex-babysitter, after all. But we weren't that far apart anymore. We weren't "little kid and teenager," we were almost peers now. And she wasn't bad looking. Her face wasn't beautiful, but she certainly wasn't ugly. And she was height-weight proportional, as the shallow people say in their personal ads. So I didn't just look at her and think, "No way." I thought, "Hmm..."

Mostly, though, I was amused. Intensely amused. I thought the situation was hilarious. I was also determined to milk it to its full comic potential. So the question for me became, which outcome would be more amusing: nail my ex-babysitter or let my ex-babysitter want me but not give her any?

Did I want to sleep with Jane? Well, Like I said, she was good-enough looking. Then again, I really hadn't liked her at all when she babysat me. She'd been kind of mean to me. Some guys, I know, would have nailed her just out of revenge. But sex has never been about domination for me. For me it's about give and take, so I've never much wanted to sleep with someone I didn't like at least a little bit. On the other hand, she seemed a lot nicer now. She was no longer a mean teenager, anymore than I was a bratty 10-year-old. So I actually did like her OK this time.

But sleeping with my ex-babysitter, it seemed to me, would be kind of commonplace. It was like something you'd see in a movie -- just a little too cliché. I thought "Take a good look, 'cause you're not getting any" would be a lot more original. And I was all about originality. So I didn't give her any, even though we both knew she wanted it. And that kept me laughing for weeks afterward. (Of course, if she'd been a little better looking, or if she'd been more aggressive, I'd have given her what she wanted, and originality be damned. I'm only willing to sacrifice so much for the sake of my art.)

Oh, and talk about being weirded out, while they were visiting us, I caught Jane's mom checking me out a couple of times too. That seriously weirded me out. But I actually found the idea kind of interesting. I've always been attracted to the exotic, and when you're 19, what could be more exotic than your ex-babysitter's 42-year-old mom? But her being a friend of my mom's made the whole thing just a little too freaky for me, so it was a non-starter.

So that's my Jane story. Here's four songs about Jane.

"Lady Jane" the Rolling Stones

"Sweet Jane" Lou Reed

"Jane Says" Jane's Addiction

"Sweet Jane" Cowboy Junkies


  1. Val formerly of San Diego8/30/2009 1:30 PM

    I love these little peeks into your past...makes me understand you just a teeny bit better!!

  2. Val - formerly of San Diego8/30/2009 2:24 PM

    When are you going to write a post about girls you stalked named Valerie...I'd love to hear your take on that one! :)

  3. Who was stalking whom?! lol


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