*Trigger Warning* Brand New’s “Sic Transit Gloria”- women can sexually assault men

This song just came up on my shuffle, and, although I hadn’t thought about it until now, the lyrics are really compelling. The song, written in 2004 (I believe), is narrated by a man struggling to articulate why he feels “so messed up” after a particular sexual encounter. The lyrics address a common theme in conversations about sexual assault- if I don’t say “no,” did I consent, was it my fault? What’s more unique about the song is, of course, its male perspective. Obviously, no one should have to experience the pain of rape or sexual assault, but it happens. And, it seems like, when it happens to men, especially by women, these men are often further ostracized because they are seen not only as victims/survivors, but furthermore, as emasculated or weak. 

Anyway, here are the lyrics. I bolded the parts I found most relevant. 

 

“Sic Transit Gloria…Glory Fades”

 

Keep the noise low.
She doesn’t wanna blow it.
Shaking head to toe
while your left hand does “the show me around.”
Quickens your heartbeat.
It beats me straight into the ground.

You don’t recover from a night like this.
A victim, still lying in bed, completely motionless.
A hand moves in the dark to a zipper.
Hear a boy bracing tight against sheets
barely whisper, “This is so messed up.”

Upon arrival the guests had all stared.
Dripping wet and clearly depressed,
he’d headed straight for the stairs.
No longer cool, but a boy in a stitch,
unprepared for a life full of lies and failing relationships.

(Up the stairs: the station where
the act becomes the art of growing up.)

He keeps his hands low.
He doesn’t wanna blow it.
He’s wet from head to toe and
his eyes give her the up and the down.
His stomach turns and he thinks of throwing up.
But the body on the bed beckons forward
and he starts growing up.

The fever, the focus.
The reasons that I had to believe you weren’t too hard to sell.
Die young and save yourself.
The tickle, the taste of…
It used to be the reason I breathed but now it’s choking me up.
Die young and save yourself.

She hits the lights.
This doesn’t seem quite fair.
Despite everything he learned from his friends,
he doesn’t feel so prepared.
She’s breathing quiet and smooth.
He’s gasping for air.
“This is the first and last time,” he says.
She fakes a smile and presses her hips into his.
He keeps his hands pinned down at his sides.
He’s holding back from telling her
exactly what it really feels like.

He is the lamb, she is the slaughter.
She’s moving way too fast and all he wanted was to hold her.
Nothing that he tells her is really having an effect.
He whispers that he loves her,
but she’s probably only looking for se-…

(Up the stairs: the station where
the act becomes the art of growing up.)

So much more than he could ever give.
A life free of lies and a meaningful relationship.
He keeps his hands pinned down at his sides.
He waits for it to end
and for the aching in his guts to subside.

The fever, the focus.
The reasons that I had to believe you weren’t too hard to sell.
Die young and save yourself.
The tickle, the taste of…
It used to be the reason I breathed but now it’s choking me up.
Die young and save yourself.

Up the stairs: the station where
the act becomes the art of growing up.

The fever, the focus.
The reasons that I had to believe you weren’t too hard to sell.
Die young and save yourself.
The tickle, the taste of…
It used to be the reason I breathed but now it’s choking me up.
Die young and save yourself.”

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