"I Can Have Both" as written by Steven Morrissey and Martin James Boorer....
Staring in the window of the shop that never opens
Planning my selection from all the treats inside
Should I take as I desire - oh shall I, oh shall I ?
Or should I hang around to be enticed inside ?

I'm trying to explain to myself
I can have both
I'm trying to explain to the voice inside
I can have both
I can have both
There's nobody around to say no
Who've brain-washed the small shy boy inside
He doesn't know he can have both

Smiling through the window to the one who never serves you
I've not been feeling myself tonight
Should I take as I feel like it - well shall I, oh shall I ?
Or should I wait and hope to be dragged inside ?
Oh...

I'm trying to explain to myself
I can have both
I'm trying to explain to the voice inside
I can have both
I can have both
There's nobody around to say no
Who've brain-washed the small shy boy inside
He doesn't know he can have both

I can have both
There's no need to choose
Because
I can have both
There's no need to choose
I can have both
There's no need to choose
Because
I can have both
There's no need to choose
I can have both
There's no need to choose


Lyrics submitted by forensics

"I Can Have Both" as written by Martin James Boorer Steven Morrissey

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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I Can Have Both song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think he's saying that love is blind, genderless, and that our society is delusional to think that we've got to torture ourselves into denying ourselves love because they're of the wrong gender? That if someone loves you, and you find yourselves loving them... well, love is love. orientation definitions are arbitrary, as we're all human and life's too short to be cramming ourselves into boxes. I think we're too rigid about love, too, and I'm not talking sexual love; think about how sexual tension really undermines communication between some people, just because they're of the opposite gender; most people believe they have to seek another person out for sex, or that to treat someone with love indicates you're sexually interested in them...There's not enough love in nonsexual relationships, people are cold to one another because they don't want to seem like they're flirting with a member of the same or opposite sex, for instance. It's like we commit ourselves to loving one person at a time and pushing everyone else away, reducing love to sex alone; we live in a sex obsessed society, and he's saying it's ridiculous to live like this. well, in this song, obviously, saying he can have both; but I think what I've summarized is the message he sends through a great deal of his music.
    I can't believe how quickly I've written all of this.
    Beautiful song, I agree.
    zooetropeon June 19, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI would agree- I think that this is about bisexuality. In Morrissey's autobiography, he describes himself as being "humansexual" rather than homo or heterosexual.
    BillyBuddon March 19, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbisexuality?
    youngoneon July 07, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe shop is an abstract metaphor for a (perhaps purely sexual) relationship – entering it means entering a relationship. The treats resemble the positive qualities of said (perhaps imagined) person, and/or likely the "sexual treats" each sex comes with.

    The protagonist asks himself whether he should just take what he wants. Should he just take whatever treats he desires, as in should he just (recklessly) have relationships and/or sex with anyone (of any sex)?

    The entire song is filled with uncertainty regarding whether he actually may have both ("I'm trying to explain to the voice inside I can have both") , so much so that the protagonist tries to change it to certainty, by repetitively stating "I can have both". This saying becomes a sort of mantra for him, especially at the last stanza.

    The uncertainty comes from the people around the protagonist "[w]ho've brainwashed the small shy boy inside" into believing he could not have both (sexes as potential partners).

    Another aspect to the song is the fact the protagonist is not sure whether he should actively take the initiative and choose (one sex), or whether he should just wait for the person inside the shop to "entice" him and draw him in, meaning whether he should just let things happen and let others take the initiative to convince him of entering a relationship, or not. This inner conflict is not truly resolved, for the protagonist is "[s]miling through the window" – actually making a clear sign of interest – but "to the one who never serves you", someone who will not open the door and let him into the shop, their heart and/or body – at least not easily. This is the moment where the protagonist asks himself "[s]hould I take as I feel like it - well shall I, oh shall I? Or should I wait and hope to be dragged inside?" Again, making clear how unsure he is whether he should make the next obvious step and directly approach this person (who likely is of the same gender, given that homosexual relationships are discouraged by society), or let the other take the lead. This way, the protagonist would not have to choose, but let the other choose him.

    So, in the end, it does not matter if he does not choose (a sex) or not – he can have both (sexes) anyways, and both can have him – depending on whoever intrigues and asks him inside their heart and/or body.
    SisOfNighton December 29, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat? No-one has written anything about this song yet? It's so beautiful. What exactly can he have both of?
    enolfon February 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyourself*
    zooetropeon June 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand of course, I could be completely off the mark
    whee, I'm filling this whole page myself
    zooetropeon June 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with what zooetrope said about life in general, but I think this song is about sexual love.
    blushed_roseon February 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, I think I got a bit carried away ^^;
    zooetropeon July 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is one of my favorite moz songs. It always strikes a nerve in me.
    I do not however think its about sex. I really feel in his heart he is working class but the reality is that he no longer actually is. His success and his "making it" almost sometimes doesn't feel real. Looking at the "one who never serves you" is a past memory... But it still feels like a fact. Trying to explain to his now better situated self and the small shy boy that he deserves and can truly have exactly what he wants.
    That's what I think... But than again I am one of his poorer fans. I love you Morrissey!
    bikeron March 30, 2015   Link

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