If you love me, you’ll give me a dollar, baby

Today, for the first time ever, I paid attention to the lyrics to the verses of Ray Columbus and the Invaders‘ 1964 hit “She’s a Mod“.

The song is about a guy who fancies a girl and he’s somehow promised to buy her some clothes, but she’s going through all these different fashion styles which is – whoa, there – costing the fellow a pretty penny.

The final verse laments:

Because I wanted her love
I said I’d buy her new clothes.
She took advantage of my trust.
Now I’m broke and completely bust.

The girlfriend finally settles on the mod look, and I think the guy is cheerfully singing this in the chorus because – rejoice – he won’t have to buy her any more clothes!

But as I read these lyrics, I recognised a familiar theme. In N.W.A.‘s 1989 song “I Ain’t Tha 1” Ice Cube warns:

And they’ll get you for your money, son.
Next thing you know you’re getting their hair and they nails done

As a lesson to less savvy men, Ice Cube cautions fellows that women are just after money, and then they’ll make excuses to not have sex with you. His advice is to keep them at a safe distance, just use them for sex, and don’t give them none of yo’ cash.

It’s as if Ice Cube went through a similar situation to Ray, but instead of being happy with his moddishly attired honey, she instead dumped him when the money ran out, leaving him heart-broken and determined to never let it happen again.

So what does a more contemporary take on this theme sound like? Destiny’s Child got there in 2000 with “Independent Woman Pt 1“:

Question: Tell me what you think about me.
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings.

The shoes on my feet – I’ve bought it.
The clothes I’m wearing – I’ve bought it.

So, the well-adjusted modern woman isn’t going to constantly bother her fellow for money to buy nice things – she can buy her own nice stuff with her own money. She’s a bit unsure of how this will affect the traditional male-female relationship, but she’s also quote proud of her financial independence.

Thinking about all this, maybe I’m a really modern woman or something, but the idea of a man giving me money to get my hair cut or buy some clothes, well, it seems really dirty. Beer, yes; frocks, no.

So now all I need to do is write a pop song and/or gangsta rap about my money policy, and I’ll surely be on to a winner.

5 thoughts on “If you love me, you’ll give me a dollar, baby”

  1. I can respond to this seriously, if you like.

    The English language is evolving, ever changing. If a subculture uses ‘drank’ to mean ‘drink’ we shouldn’t discriminate against them or claim that it is “wrong” because it’s not what’s in the dictionary.

    Such language use has its place in slang, and every now and then a slang word enters the dictionary without having “informal” in subscript.

    I like to think that in 100 years’ time, polite young men will buy their womens a drank ‘n da club.

Leave a Reply