"Patriarch on a Vespa" as written by and James Shaw Emily Haines....
Promiscuous makes an entrance
Her mouth is full of questions
Are we all brides to be
Are we all designed to be confined
Buy ourselves chastity belts and lock them
Organize our lives and lose the key
Our faces all resemble dying roses
From trying to fix it
When instead we should break it
We've got to break it before it breaks us

Fear of pretty houses and their porches
Fear of biological wrist watches
Fear of comparison shopping
Dogs on leashes behind fences barking
Pretty little pillows on floral couches
Until our faces all resemble dying roses
Stop trying to fix it

Patriarch on a Vespa
Runs a red and ends up
Crushed under the wheel


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"Patriarch on a Vespa" as written by James Shaw Emily Haines

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Patriarch on a Vespa song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentemily haines is a goddess..

    basically.. a young girl, afraid of marriage (pretty houses and their porches), afraid of having kids (biological wrist watches), afraid of having a family (comparison shopping)... having anxiety about maturing and growing up and all the new complications that it brings.
    beatrix_kiddo2on October 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"her mouth is full of questions"

    I see this song as ambivalent... it is challenging, but also questioning. Are all those fears hurting us? Are we meant to be this? Or that?

    I love the ah-ah-arrgh at the end of many of the lines... like a maybe-sarcastic cry of fear -- suburban life, run! I just don't see that as an argument that everyone should be like her.

    Woot, proof of my point... I just found this in an interview with Emily Haines:

    NIKA: I always appreciated the unconventional way you handled gender politics in songs like "Poster of a Girl" and "Patriarch on a Vespa." You find fault with both sides—it's not just girl power.

    HAINES: Totally. On those songs I was exploring my own discomfort and trying to state a way to overcome it. "Patriarch" is about my fears of domesticity and normalcy–I mean, who wants a floral couch? But I never really "took a stand" on the side of women, because I never really experienced my life that way. I don't define myself by my gender. That's not really our battle anymore. It's no longer men vs. women. The topics have changed. Now, the allegiances are more tribal.
    sibilationon September 14, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWho's to say Promiscuous (the speaker, in the song) is afraid or anxious? She seems more passionate, with her suffragette talk.
    _ellieon July 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyup that's pretty much it. encouraging women to avoid the organized "desperate wousewives" lifestyle and to live life to the fullest. now the image of a patriarch on a small bike, that i'm not too sure of!
    sinstoneon October 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfor the patriarch on a vespa part of it, this is what i think: well since at the beginning, shes encouraging women to escape the typical housewife persona as mentioned above, this could be like her now thinking of the concequences of always running away, how you will end up crashed and alone, pretty much dead inside, because always running away doesnt leave you a chance for happiness. so shes telling us women to be strong have our own opinions and dont travel back in time where women didnt have any rights; all they did was cook and clean for the man in the house.
    angelundergravity11on February 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentemily haines is my dream woman.

    fabulous song.
    apollo IVon April 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCool song.
    Is anyone else reminded of the "Unsolved Mysteries" theme song when they listen to this?
    MuddyMaeon June 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the song can be read in many ways. The first thought was that it had double meaning. The first verse seems to go with the whole feminism movement while the second verse kind of being anti-feminist. Why be afraid of all the above? And then patriarch is obvious the Vespa can be seen as a women as it is seen (at least here) more "fashionable" and thus matriarchy crushing patriarchy. As well ithink we can see the first verse being women and the second verse as a message to men. I also see the song as kind of saying "do what feels right for you". Like if you want to do the whole "succeful, business women" thing go ahead but you're just as welcome as doing the "stay-at-home mom" thing as well, just try to not fix each other. Do what makes you happy and don't bother if another woman's happyness is doing the opposite.
    Mystical_nighton September 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentooh something i just thought of. I think she's also saying...if you want to do the whole "feminist" thing (i put it in brackets cause i don't mean extreme i just mean equal working rights and what not) we can't just "try to fix it" just to end up in the same place, like don't just fight for it and end up with nothing you have to "break it" so women take over or some sort of thing like that...i don't know if that makes sense
    Mystical_nighton September 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how Metric comes up with such thoughtful statements:

    Are we all brides to be
    Are we all designed to be confined

    In The List and Wet Blanket too.
    rawpotatoeater37on November 05, 2006   Link

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