The last time I talked about this, it was on a Saturday, but it can really go either way. One of my people pointed this out to me today, and I actually felt sick to my stomach for a minute. This song isn’t as institutionalized as “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” so just think about it that way. It’s just an old song that is absolutely bloody disgusting.
The song is “Honeycomb,” sung by Jimmie Rodgers and a bunch of other people over time. I’m sure it was written to be a sweet story about golly gee whiz, isn’t my gal just as sweet as can be? But it comes off totally different, at least to me.
Well it’s a darn good life
And it’s kinda funny
How the Lord made the bee
And the bee made the honey
And the honeybee lookin’ for a home
And they called it honeycomb
And they roamed the world and they gathered all
Of the honeycomb into one sweet ball
And the honeycomb from a million trips
Made my baby’s lips
So at first they’re just talking about bees and whatnot. Okay, kind of random, and I’m not going to dissect the theology because I’m just not going there. But that last one: “and the honeycomb from a million trips/made my baby’s lips.” Excuse me, what? “Your lips are like [insert sweet thing here]” is a writing standby, I allow that. But lips being made literally of [insert sweet thing here] is strange. I allow also that mister songwriter may have been being metaphorical, but I find that harder to buy as the song continues.
Oh, Honeycomb, won’t you be my baby
Well, Honeycomb, be my own
Got a hank o’ hair and a piece o’ bone
And made a walkin’ talkin’ Honeycomb
Well, Honeycomb, won’t you be my baby
Well, Honeycomb, be my own
What a darn good life
When you got a wife like Honeycomb
Wooing a woman, la la la –
“A hank o’ hair and a piece o’ bone.“ Otherwise known as, what misogynistic and effed-up blood magicks are being done here. (It helps if you imagine that sentence being exclaimed by someone British. I’m not sure why, but it does.) I’m willing to give mister songwriter the poorly constructed metaphor of lips of honey, but the chorus is actually, literally a recipe for bad-news blood magick voodoo lady-creating. I’m sure it is a darn good life with your wife that you created out of remnants and dangerous supernatural forces so she would be compliant to your every wish.
They talk about a bird, then repeat the blood magicks, then:
And the Lord says now that I made a bird
I’m gonna look all round for a little ol’ word
That sounds about sweet like “turtledove”
And I guess I’m gonna call it “love”
And He roamed the world lookin’ everywhere
Gettin’ love from here, love from there
And He put it all in a little ol’ part
Of my baby’s heart
Otherwise known as: I am dangerous because I think my blood magicks are justified by my deity and yep, this woman I magicked up was made to love me.
And the worst of it is that people may well have thought this was a cute song back in the day. It may have seemed totally normal and acceptable, maybe even sweet.
–your fangirl heroine.