The gutter may profess its love,
Then follow it with hesitation,
But there are just so many of
You out there for rent

A stronger girl would shake this off in flight,
And never give it more than a frowning hour,
But you have let your heart decide,
Loss has conquered you,

You've won one too many fights,
Wearing many hats every time,
But you wont win here tonight,

You've made it through the direst of straits alright,
Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?
You haven't changed an ounce in my eyes,
And I cannot lecture you,

And does anything I say seem relevant at all?
You've been at the helm since you were just five,
While I cannot claim to be more than a passenger,

But, you've won one too many fights,
Wearing all of your clothes at the same time,
Let the good times end tonight,
Oh girl, sail her, don't sink her,
This time,

Just a moment or two from now,
Not a mind will retain even a trace,
Of the thoughts that I struggled to tell
And how our stack of cards just fell,

So settle this once and for all,
The light no longer shows the cracks around my door,
And I have no lantern to light your way home tonight,

You are not some saint who's above,
Giving someone a stroll through the flowers,
You've got so much more to dream of,
Oh girl, sail her, don't sink her,
This time,
This time,
This time.


Lyrics submitted by heyheyhey111

Girl Sailor song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentOur boy is reflecting on what he had with the girl in the albums story, and he realizes that she has taken quite a fall, like he has. The song is not just discussing the loneliness of a lost love, but also the existential realities of which the boy tried to convince the girl.

    "For there are just so many of, you out there for rent."

    Before the girl was able to get over these things easily, but this has stricken a deeper chord, and like the album, it leaves a much more lasting effect if you have actually understoof what is being discussed.
    The boy tries to take some of the guilt off himself, claiming to have only been a passenger and that she is the one truly in command. In reality he learned something heart wrenching from this affair as well, and he can no longer show her back to where they were, because neither of them has the power to go back.
    He does hope however, that she is able to float on, "sail her don't sink her, this time." Perhaps referring to future relationships or just hoping that she doesn't give up on life. ---One may find this excessive, but not if you take the meaning out of the entire album. The songs really can't be split up.

    But our 'protagonist' is awakening, "Just a mokent or two from now, not a mind will retain even a trace, of the thoughts that i struggled to tell." The next song, 'a comet appears,' is the storyteller waking up and reflecting on what he has learned.
    ladybug87on November 02, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentto quickly summarize...i feel this song is about someone who's experienced a lot of failed, likely painful relationships. this person carries baggage from each relationship and carries into one with someone who seems to to be good for her. however, she is not used to this simple love, and since shes grown used to rough relationships, it doesnt intrigue her and the pursuer struggles to keep her interest
    bitterforthebetteron April 26, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe gutter may profess its love, [Refers to a lowly and unworthy lover (a womanizer) in the girl's recent past who said he loved her. The gutter is NOT the narrator of the song, and is thus this is not a self-deprecating remark about the narrator.]
    Then follow it with hesitation, [Gutter was unable to deliver in the loving ways that are consistent with professed love, which implies a disingenuous proclamation of love by the Gutter.]
    For there are just so many of
    You out there for rent. [This implies that to people like the Gutter, there are plenty of girls out there who are easily misled by false proclamations of love, ready to be exploited by the Gutter until the next girl (victim) comes along.]

    A stronger girl would shake this off in flight,
    And never give it more than a frowning hour, [GS is taking her recent rejection by the Gutter badly and has allowed it to take on a protracted mourning period.]
    But you have let your heart decide,
    Loss has conquered you [Conquered implies that the loss of Gutter has had a more global effect on her. She has shown the white flag of defeat by love, such that she's giving up on love entirely, to the exclusion of all others.]

    You've won one too many fights,
    Wearing many hats every time,
    But you wont win here tonight. [This stanza implies that GS has a substantial ego when it comes to matters of love, and generally matters of opinion. When one wears many hats, it means that they are versed in many things, i.e., expert in many field (or at least she has thought so of herself). Alternatively, it could mean that she's played the role of both the person ending a love affair, and the one that gets dumped. Either way, her experience is not going to help her extricate herself from the pain of loss she's currently feeling, and thus even if she's right about what has happened to her there is no winning in matters of love lost.]

    You made it through the direst of straits all right,
    Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting? [The loss of Gutter at this juncture of her life seems insurmountable to GS; she is feeling like it is the worst loss of her life (perhaps she may have thought it was the love of her life). And now the love that the narrator once offered, and perhaps still offers, the "plain love", is too ordinary and doesn't register in GS's radar.]
    You haven't changed an ounce in my eyes,
    And I cannot lecture you. [The narrator know GS well. She's the girl that thinks she knows it all... still winning all the arguments. The dynamic the narrator probably had with GS has remained static even after their love affair ended and she's probably not going to listen to him now, just as she didn't before, so he knows he can't just tell her of her errors in love with Gutter, such that she chose to love someone (the Gutter), who was only using her, while he loved her sincerely and she didn't appreciate his ordinary, but genuine love for her.]

    And does anything I say seem relevant at all? [The narrator is equivocating between his desire to tell in exact words what he feels and hinting at what he wants her to pick up with sublety... he wants GS to see the subtleties in his words; he wants her to see that he loved her sincerely albeit "plainly" before Gutter came along, but like many Hamlet-like characters the narrator is weak in his approach and is unable to speak out clearly and act decisively about his desires... perhaps his inability to speak in plain language, tell her "look, I love you, I'm here. Why are you choosing to remain heartbroken over someone who didn't love you at all when you have the real thing right before in me?" But like Hamlet, he is indecisive and can only hint at what he wants her to realize, perhaps it's because he's been hurt by her rejection in the past.]
    You've been at the helm since you were just five,
    While I cannot claim to be more than a passenger. [Again, the narrator is feeling like his part in the relationship he and GS had in the past was all of GS's doing. He, and his relationship with GS, was always at the discretion of GS.]

    But, you've won one too many fights,
    Wearing all of your clothes at the same time [The narrator seems to be saying that GS's strong character and super ego, renders her unable to see beyond all the baggage of her experiences. Her self-centered view of life, is keeping her from seeing things from different perspectives... perhaps the narrator's perspective. The narrator is giving up on her and doesn't think she'll listen to his words of warnings.]
    Let the good times end tonight, [Certainly this line is intended as an absurdity to make a point in the opposite direction. The girl is not having a good time at all; she's mourning over the loss of Gutter's disingenuous love. As a possible explanation, he's asking her to see that her memories of the love she thought she shared with Gutter are selective memories. That in reality, her times with Gutter were not good at all. Gutter used her, and if tonight she recognizes his insincerity she can realize that true love is still out there... in the form of the love the narrator offers her.]
    Oh girl, sail her, don't sink her, [The narrator is asking her to let her heart remain open to the possibility of real love (the narrator's love); he's asking her, like a good seaman, to navigate the murky waters of love lost and come out the other side more able to see what true love looks like.]
    This time [The narrator is asking GS to look at him, and the ordinary love he offered her, with renewed appreciation.]

    Just a moment or two from now,
    Not a mind will retain even a trace,
    Of the thoughts that I struggled to tell [The narrator is sharing his present feelings. He sees GS with her frailties and the undesirable qualities of someone who was dumped, and likely pathetic. Someone who is lamenting the loss of a shallow and false love... and he's realizing that he's starting to get over her. Seeing her falling apart over Gutter, he's just about ready to move on from GS himself. He probably wanted her back sometime ago, and loved her after she had left him, but he was unable to. But now he's about ready to let her go.]
    And how our stack of cards just fell. [This establishes that their previous love dissolved... prior to her most recent love with Gutter.]

    So settle this once and for all,
    The light no longer shows the cracks around my door,
    And I have no lantern to light your way home tonight. [The love that he once demonstrated for her, that continued after their love ended, is becoming less apparent. He still loves her, probably, but if she's going to find him, she'll have to do it on her own... she'll have to come to him, because he's not going to chase her. If she comes back to him, it'll have to be on her own, and it'll have to be in the context of seeing him for his qualities and the love he was offering her, not because she needs a rebound love.]

    You are not some saint who's above
    Giving someone a stroll through the flowers. [This phrase alludes to "walking someone down the garden path" which means to deceive someone. The narrator is saying he sees her for all of her faults; he know she's no saint, but he likes her anyway, but she can't deceive him... he knows her and the truth about her relationship with Gutter.]
    You've got so much more to dream of, [Again, he's asking her to give true love another look... and in the narrator's eyes, that would be him.]
    Oh girl, sail her, don't sink her,
    This time,
    This time,
    This time.

    [The narrator is ultimately asking GS to navigate the messiness of a failed love and come out the other side ready to appreciate the true love the narrator thinks he and GS are capable of sharing.]
    Allknowingguitarguruon February 20, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthose are the most coherent shins lyrics i think i've ever seen
    hab204on October 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think a big part of understanding this song would actually relate back to Shakespeare's Hamlet. In Hamlet Ophelia was a young woman who went mad (giving away flowers to various male characters before drowning herself in the river). Hence the title of this song, seems to refer to a girl who is in trouble & close to drowning.

    "The gutter may profess its love then follow it with hesitation for there are just so many of you out there for rent"- many girls have made her mistake & he sees her repeating it, falling into the trap.
    "And I cannot lecture you"- in his heart the singer desires to help her, but realizes its fruitless so he pleads with her.

    "You are not some saint who's above giving someone a stroll through the flowers"-Basically, this line is another reference to Shakespeare's Ophelia meaning that she is promiscuous.
    Phantom_causeson September 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the girl that everyone wants, but can't seem to keep.
    whatthelindseyon April 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought this song was about how transient 'love' can be, especially when we're young. You can fall for one person, but then fall for another (there are so many of you out there for rent). To me this is a guy who has had a brief relationship with a girl which meant more to her than it did to him and he is trying to let her down gently. He sees that she is vulnerable and her past difficulties in life mean that she is reacting badly to this. She is emotional (you have let your heart decide) and he wants her to think about this rationally and be strong. He sees that she has fought to hold on to previous relationships by changing her own character but he thinks that if she just lets go of this relationship she will soon forget about him and move on.
    The phrase "You are not some saint who's above,
    Giving someone a stroll through the flowers" could be him pointing out to her that in the past she might also have accidentally led people to think she cared more for them than she did, reinforcing how normal this situation is and how she will get through this.
    smallgirlon June 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I read the lyrics... this is how I like to interpret it. I def. see the guy who wrote this song as an Asshole!!

    "The gutter may profess its love,
    Then follow it with hesitation,
    But there are just so many of
    You out there for rent"
    (he's talking about other women and referring to himself as a "gutter guy"... that is hesitant to follow up with everything he says to her, because hes still not sure if he wants to commit)

    "A stronger girl would shake this off in flight,
    And never give it more than a frowning hour,
    But you have let your heart decide,
    Loss has conquered you,"

    (He broke her heart (possibly by cheating??) and is pretty much saying that a stronger girl would've gave him the big F U and moved on. She is holding onto him instead (eventho they both know he is a gutter guy)

    But, you've won one too many fights,
    Wearing all of your clothes at the same time,
    Let the good times end tonight,
    Oh girl, sail her, don't sink her,
    This time,

    (She always one all their fights, but now HE has won b/c he has really hurt her. The "good times" of her always being in control and winning ends tonight (he possibly has resented her for always winning fights and being in control, so he cheated out of spite). Then he adds "sail her dont sink her"...aka just get over it and learn from it b*tch)

    You've made it through the direst of straits alright,
    Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?
    You haven't changed an ounce in my eyes,
    And I cannot lecture you,

    (shes made it thru rough waters, and b/c of all the rough waters, normal love seems unnatural. It's almost like hes saying... she needs drama in her relationships to keep things interesting and the love alive. And b/c of that she sticks around with guys that dont deserve her/choses the wrong guys "gutter guys like himself". He then adds that she hasn't changed in his eyes (he may still care about her and he doesn't see her as less thru this all) but he can't lecture her (for her choices in men and her hopes that she may be the one they will stay faithful to), because he realizes that he is one of the gutter guys and that he F-ed up. He knows he is to blame, eventho she should've never gotten involved with him. He is still the one to blame. He can't blame her for chosing him and believing everything he said to her thruought their relationship)

    "So settle this once and for all,
    The light no longer shows the cracks around my door,
    And I have no lantern to light your way home tonight"

    There is no light at his door anymore, because there is no hope/nothing there anymore, and she realizes she can't change him/ make him stay faithful. He has no lantern to light a way home for her b/c he is breaking up with her. He has checked out.

    "You are not some saint who's above,
    Giving someone a stroll through the flowers,
    You've got so much more to dream of,
    Oh girl, sail her, don't sink her,
    This time,"

    He's saying that there is so much more for her out there in life, and soo many more better guys than him that she deserves. hes letting her off easy, but really the truth is he just doesn't want her anymore and he wants her just to move on and let go.
    The song sounds like a nice way to basically say

    "I f-ed up, Things are over, I didn't deserve you anyway, but I can't blame you for trusting me, b/c you SHOULD trust the ones you love.. but at the same time you shouldn't date gutter guys, b/c they will always f you over. So just... sail next time.. don't sink and settle for guys like me b/c you can't trust us and we will break ur heart when you don't deserve it! Don't settle for less"
    jaxiegurrlon December 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI have always interpreted this song to be about the sister of the singer. Maybe that's weird, but the way he talks to her makes it seem like she's someone he's known for a long time, and I don't see any romantic relationship between them. But she's someone he respects. He knows she's a stronger person than she's acting like.
    "You've made it through the direst of straits alright,
    Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?
    You haven't changed an ounce in my eyes,
    And I cannot lecture you"
    He knows she has gone through some real problems calmly so he can't take her love failures as seriously as she's taking them.
    I see this as a sort of tough love "stop being a fool" song. Plus the part where he says she hasn't changed an ounce in his eyes makes me think he still thinks of her as how she was when she was a kid. And the lines:"You've been at the helm since you were just five, while I cannot claim to be more than a passenger"
    I see this as a summary of her take-charge personality. He seems envious of the way she's been boldly calling the shots for her life since she was five, when he feels more lost and uncertain.
    Maybe I'm totally wrong and it is about someone he has loved romantically, but that's my two cents.
    fiatluxon January 08, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And never give it more than a frowning hour"
    SphagnumEsplanadeon October 21, 2006   Link

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