You’re so vain: I probably think this song is about me.Posted: February 27, 2010
In looking over the news on the internet this morning I see that once again there is fresh speculation on who Carly Simon was singing about in her 1972 hit song, You’re So Vain.
The latest theory focuses on recording executive David Geffen. Wrong.
I think the song is about me.
Those of you who actually know me are doing some quick math and dismissing this as more delusions of grandeur. I can hear you now: “you were eleven years old in 1972, don’t be ridiculous.”
Y’know, it sort of ticks me off when you’re dismissive like that. Would it kill you to hear me out? Thank you.
Now, let’s examine a few of the lyrics of the song.
“Well you’re where you should be all the time.” I am very reliable. I’m always prompt. I hate being late. If you ask me to be someplace, that is where you’ll find me.
Has anyone ever said to you “it’s a good thing you were here” or “you got here just in time”? I didn’t think so. They say it to me. I am where I should be.
Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won. I never went up to Saratoga. Generally, my parents didn’t let me leave the state when I was eleven. Also there was that whole thing about being eleven and hanging out at racetracks. It would seem that I had no connection to horse racing in 1972.
Sometimes things are not what they seem. When I was young, my dad and I were at home and the Kentucky Derby was on the television. Dad told me how to pick the winning horse. Essentially, Dad’s method was to watch the horses as they warmed up and pick the one he saw stop to do what bears do in the woods. I watched carefully, noted the number of the steed that did his buisness and that horse naturally won.
Truthfully though, among the many things I am grateful to my father for is that he did not choose a career in gambling. We’d have starved.
Then you flew your lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.
I like eclipses. My Mom bought paper plates once just so we could poke holes in them to look at an eclipse using the method my teacher told me was the safest.
I didn’t fly up to Nova Scotia (see above reference to not being allowed out of the state) but I did go into my front yard. The flying to Nova Scotia thing was just poetic licence.
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte. This line is the one that convinced me that this song is about me. It was referenced in one article on my internet news page. Since 1972, I have thought the line was “watched yourself go by.” Apparently not.
I had to look up gavotte. The gavotte is a baroque French folk dance. Here is a video of some people gavotting, gavottizing doing that dance:
If I was doing that, I would absolutely have one eye in the mirror. I would be looking at myself wondering what I was doing and why. I’d also have some really important questions about my pants.
There is no question, at eleven years old, I would have watched myself gavotte for the sheer confusing spectacle of it. Carly knew that and put it to music.
There are a lot of other lines, most of which are window dressing Carly added to spice up the life of eleven year old me. The song wouldn’t have been a hit if she wrote about me bringing my lunch to school in a paper bag, wishing I could play third base like Brooks Robinson or watching Speed Racer.
Mystery solved. I’m so vain. Any questions?