"Pet Name" as written by John Linnell and John Flansburgh....
You gave me a pet name
Which is not to say I like it
We met at a party
Not to say I was invited

You said love was just a lie
But I could tell that you were lying
And we almost figured out how we'd get along
And given time we'd find it strange to be alone and

You work in a hotel
At the magazine concession
Back in just five minutes
Reads the sign above your station

Slip your profits in a bag
And you're looking up to the hour hand
And we almost figured out how we'll get along
And given time we'll find it strange to be alone and

You just forgot your one pet name for me
And all those promises you said you'd keep
And it's a lucky thing
Because that sentimental stuff
Doesn't suit you
At all

Waiting at the bus stop
For just about an hour
Strategies for hangman
Cat's cradle, origami

You say I'm OK for a guy
But I can tell that you are lying
And we've almost figured out how we'll get along
And given time we'll find it strange to be alone and

You just forgot your one pet name for me
And all those promises you said you'd keep
And it's a lucky thing
Because that sentimental stuff
Doesn't

You just forgot your one pet name for me
And all those promises you said you'd keep
And it's a lucky thing
Because that sentimental stuff
Doesn't suit you
At all


Lyrics submitted by sawg

"Pet Name" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Pet Name song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI agree! This isn't my favorite of their huge catalog, but I'll attest to the fact that it's terribly underrated. I've never really scrutinized the lyrics, because I'm always too busy enjoying the XTC + Steely Dan feel of the music. But here goes:

    The lyrics seem to describe a relationship that never went anywhere. First off, the speaker is a stranger in this other person's world (henceforth referred to as "she"), evidenced in the "not to say I was invited" part and hinted at in all the mentions of the other person's daily life. (If this song weren't about a pet name that she had for him, i'd be tempted to say that the speaker is actually stalking her.) The whole song gives the impression of a total lack of intimacy between the two.

    "You said love was just a lie / but I could tell that you were lying" suggests that the object of the speaker's affections was trying to make an excuse for why she doesn't feel so strongly about the speaker. And of course she forgot his one pet name... either she wasn't all that interested in him to begin with, or she lost interest at some point and, since "that sentimental stuff doesn't suit [her]", she couldn't bring herself to tell him so.

    There are so many references to time in this song that I get the sense that the relationship was more a way of killing time than anything else. This is supported by the references to really pointless pastimes like "hangman, cat's cradle, origami".
    pnaomion June 12, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my FAVORITE tmbg song and no one else seems to have ever noticed it!
    snozzberryon August 16, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree on a few points, but I think that she did like him. It seems like she's a girl who tries to put up a tough atmosphere, but deep inside fell in love with the speaker. Her mouth says no, but her heart says yes. Eventually the singer ends the relationship out of pity for the girl, and sadly sees her go back to her isolationist attitude.
    Sharpon May 01, 2006   Link

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