"Just Like a Woman" as written by and Clifton Chenier....
Nobody feels any pain
Tonight as I stand inside the rain
Ev’rybody knows
That Baby’s got new clothes
But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
Have fallen from her curls
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

Queen Mary
She’s my friend
Yes, I believe I’ll go see her again
Nobody has to guess
That Baby can’t be blessed
Till she sees finally that she’s like all the rest
With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls
She takes just like a woman, yes
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

It was raining from the first
And I was dying there of thirst
So I came in here
And your long-time curse hurts
But what’s worse
Is this pain in here
I can’t stay in here
Ain’t it clear that

I just can’t fit
Yes, I believe it’s time for us to quit
But when we meet again
Introduced as friends
Please don’t let on that you knew me when
I was hungry and it was your world
Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl


Lyrics submitted by Kitten_61, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Just Like a Woman" as written by Clifton Chenier

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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  • +8
    General Commentgod, i´ve always seen this song as about a woman who is very strong on the outside when actually she´s fragile like a little girl. maybe that´s just me.
    sailoron May 26, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI personally respect gay people and support their cause. But I think that trying to read homosexuality where it isn't written is wrong. Same as "Ballad of a thin man". If we get that point of view, we could manage every song in the world to fit into it. She is a girl, a little scared girl beneath the woman she appears to be.
    cavernon February 03, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Nobody feels any pain, Tonight as I stand inside the rain..." Loneliness or depression can be so consumptive (i.e., being inside the rain and incapable of objectivity on one's feelings vs. being outside the rain only looking at the it from the outside, objectively) that a person is numb to any other kind of emotional pain.

    It is possible for a hyper-sensitive observer like Dylan (obviously, his music supports hypersensitivity to just about everything) to be pulled into the "rain" at his own needy time by the person(s) who(m) is in the rain constantly as a state of being and a fact of his/her life.

    "With her fog, her amphetamine, and her pearls": Depressed or disassociative people often walk around in a "fog." In the '60s, amphetamines were prescribed for depression (hence, the term "uppers") and weight loss. Today, they are still prescribed for types of depression and ADHD (inability to focus or concentrate--a mental fog). Women often buy clothes or jewelry (pearls) to make themselves feel better when depressed.

    "It was raining from the first...": The first time he met Baby it began raining. A sun-shower is refreshing. A day or two of rain is cleansing. Days, weeks, months, and years of rain ranges from dreary and gloomy to despair and hopelessness. Her depression, negativity, and tendency toward self-destruction may have begun raining on him "at the first." Or, he was attracted to her by his own brief time of sadness, loneliness, or depression. With mental illness likes attracts likes, misery loves company, "I can relate" becomes consuming empathy, those who need love are attracted to others who need love (generally, not those who have love to give), people are attracted to what they know. (Hence, daughters of beaten women are often attracted to someone who thinks and acts like the man who beat their mothers). These two could probably empathize with one another and wanted the same things. He was "dying of thirst" for love, empathy, or what have you, and it appeared that she had whatever it was he needed at the time. "So, [he] came in here" where "here" is "inside the rain"(her "rain").

    "... hungry (desperate enough for love. empathy, etc.) to be in "[her] world" which he is eventually embarassed by or ashamed of. All of us have those retrospective moments that embarrass or horrify us when we say in disbelief, "I can't believe I was there, I did that, I was doing that, I was with him/her, I thought I was in love with him/her, etc."

    Expanding on the depression/loneliness theory, the rest is somewhat self-explanatory. " Depression is a "long-time curse." Her pain and "rain" is more than he can handle for an extended period of time like a commitment or marriage. He realizes that his "rain" is getting worse, or at least, not getting better by staying in her "rain" which will not help either of them. His "rain" is changing or passing, while hers is unchanging and constant; therefore, "[he] just can't fit." That is, he just can't stay in the relationship. If he lets himself "fit," he sees that he will go with her in her slow, downward spiral to eventual self-destruction while loving her and trying to help her. Recognizing where it's going shakes him out of his doldrums, and he realizes that his "rain" is only temporary. His sense of self-preservation and survival surfaces and "[he] believe(s) it's time to quit" the relationship; get out of the funnel.

    "Takes just like a woman" may reference a woman's emotional need to be loved. Women take a man's love, his heart, his kindness, his desire to help if he really loves her, and vice versa.
    ReynaCGMon May 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWe'll never know...it may about an involvement with a socialite, some say Edie Sedgwick. "What's worse is this pain in here"...her public persona masks private despair... (addictions, mental illness) "she breaks just like a little girl" when the mask drops. He can't deal with it, her problems are too big. This one is not hard to fathom from that perspective, but the "I" in this song may be another also. For those who give a facile critique this song as 'sexist', listen to the Roberta Flack version.
    elephant_rangeon March 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlright. I have three theories -- either she's underaged and/or a virgin, she's a prostitute, or she's the daughter of someone he knows. Maybe two of the three of those.

    Is it at all possible that this song might be about having sex with a virgin, who is trying to pass herself off as experienced? Queen Mary was the Bloody Queen - maybe this is a connection with the blood sometimes present during a woman's first vaginal penetration? Notice, he's not talking about Queen Elizabeth I (the Virgin Queen), since he's talking about already having had sex with her.

    My other thought is that this could be an underage girl. At first, I thought maybe a hooker - and I'm still not unconvinced of that, since he talks about going to see her again. Also, the meaning of fog, amphetamines, and pearls is probably drug related - at least, as I see it... "Fog" might be marijuana smoke, but more likely refers to freebasing, "amphetamines" is just that - uppers, and "pearl" is slang for Cocaine. So, maybe she's a crack (free-based coke) and crystal-meth (free-based amphetamine) junkie. That's another reason I'd wonder if maybe she's a hooker, though I do realize that those drugs are not limited to streetwalkers.

    Though, the hooker theory isn't ironclad - the familiarity with which he knows her -- "introduce us as friends" would imply that he knows he'll see her under a social setting in the future. Maybe she's the daughter of a friend or associate? He doesn't want her to acknowldge the "affair." His "hunger" is maybe his desire, while her "world" could be her vagina (allowing him to have sex with her). Could her "pain" be caused by physically being too small to accomodate him? He says at one point that he can't fit, and then follows that by saying that maybe they should just quit. The frustration of causing her pain is too much for him.

    Thoughts?
    Sir_Larrikinon July 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenteasy. all aimed at some fans of his re going electric
    macthefingeron March 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI enjoyed everyone's interpretations so far. I tend to agree more with c.f, but on a different basis than money. I see Dylan as a man seeking a meaningful and honest, probably committed, bond with somebody. Initially, he is allured by this female due to her mature and earnest appearance. However, amidst their relationship he begins to witness devious, dishonest, immature behavior, her true nature. My vision is that he puts up with this behavior, denying the realization that she's no good for him. But, alas, eventually it leads to the end of their romance, and he comes to the bitter realization that he was a tool, he was played by her. I love the lyric: "When we meet again, introduced as friends. Please don't let on that you knew me when I was hungry and it was your world." To me, he's admitting to himself, and maybe directly to her, that he was a fool for putting up with her and initially falling for her ruse. Ultimately, I think the song serves him cathartically. He's reciting his insights from the experience.
    pcwebbjron December 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationAdolescence.

    "Lately I see her ribbons and her bows
    have fallen from her curls.
    She takes just like a woman,
    She makes love just like a woman,
    And she aches just like a woman,
    but she breaks just like a little girl."

    Not yet a woman. Yet, not entirely a child anymore too.
    Just my two cents.
    RoyDeSmeton May 27, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have to disagree with you. NOT because I am female just that your interpretation might be a bit off. I think Dylan is talking about a woman who at one point in her life had it all and needed no one to help her get by.

    "Ev'rybody knows
    That Baby's got new clothes
    But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
    Have fallen from her curls."

    But some life changing event happened and now she's forced to build up herself again.

    "Nobody has to guess
    That Baby can't be blessed
    Till she sees finally that she's like all the rest
    With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls"

    "Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
    You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
    Then you ache just like a woman
    But you break just like a little girl."

    And this part is about how she shrugged it off and looked like she moved on but Dylan knows her secret that she's just as fragile as a little girl.
    sweetpoeton May 03, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have to disagree with you. NOT because I am female just that your interpretation might be a bit off. I think Dylan is talking about a woman who at one point in her life had it all and needed no one to help her get by.

    "Ev'rybody knows
    That Baby's got new clothes
    But lately I see her ribbons and her bows
    Have fallen from her curls."

    But some life changing event happened and now she's forced to build up herself again.

    "Nobody has to guess
    That Baby can't be blessed
    Till she sees finally that she's like all the rest
    With her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls"

    "Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
    You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
    Then you ache just like a woman
    But you break just like a little girl."

    And this part is about how she shrugged it off and looked like she moved on but Dylan knows her secret that she's just as fragile as a little girl.
    sweetpoeton May 03, 2003   Link

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