So, she says its time she goes
but wanted to be sure I know
she hopes we can be friends
I think yeah, I guess we can say I
but didn't think to ask her why
she blocked her eyes and drew the curtains
with knots I've got yet to untie

(Chorus)
what if I were Romeo in black jeans
what if I was Heathcliff, its no myth
maybe she's just looking for
someone to dance with

See, it was just too soon to tell
and looking for some parallel
can be an endless game
We said goodbye before hello
my secrets she will never know
and if I dig a hole to China
I'll catch the first junk to Soho

(Chorus)

Sometime from now you'll bow to pressure
some things in life you cannot measure by degrees
I'm between the poles and the equator
don't send no private investigator to find me please
'less he speaks Chinese
and can dance like Astaire overseas

(Chorus)


Lyrics submitted by manyamore

No Myth (Romeo in Black Jeans) song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about a man who has been rejected by a woman he believes he could make very happy, but she doesn't give him the chance to do so. It's one of my favorite songs of all time; Michael Penn is one of the most underrated lyricists of his generation and the wordplay here is really cute.

    Some of the interpretations above are right, but others misunderstood what the words meant. I'll try to provide my understanding of this song here.

    > So, she says its time she goes
    > but wanted to be sure I know
    > she hopes we can be friends

    It's implied here that a man has approached a woman about entering into a relationship with him. She cares about him, taking the time to "make sure [he] knows she hopes we can be friends" but doesn't see him as more than that. But "it's time she goes," so she leaves him to his thoughts by himself. Then he realizes:

    > I think yeah, I guess we can say I
    > but didn't think to ask her why

    He was so shocked/ upset at her rejection that he's having a hard time collecting his thoughts ("I think - yeah I guess...") and it hits him that it didn't occur to ask her why not. Why doesn't she want to be with him? He thinks he's perfect for her. Some people have been confused by the "but" in that line, but I think that's just a lyrical embellishment. The line really means:

    "I guess I didn't think to ask her why."

    > she blocked her eyes

    She doesn't want to see what he's proposing, that they'd be good together.

    >and drew the curtains
    >with knots I've got yet to untie

    She rejected him for reasons he still can't figure out.

    >(Chorus)
    > what if I were Romeo in black jeans

    I think it's distracting to focus on the tragedy aspect of "Romeo and Juliet." He names famous romantic figures. What if he's Romeo and she's his Juliet? Why didn't she stop to think about that?

    > what if I was Heathcliff, its no myth

    He believes that they, like Heathcliff and Romeo and their respective lady loves, could have epic love - REAL epic love. He believes this - it's no myth.

    But alas:

    > maybe she's just looking for
    > someone to dance with

    Maybe she isn't into epic right now.

    > See, it was just too soon to tell

    He feels like her decision was rash. She rejected the idea of a relationship a priori (she shut her eyes and tied the curtains up in knots) when she hadn't even given them a chance to tell if it would work out between them.

    > and looking for some parallel
    > can be an endless game

    He's realizing that he could easily torture himself by trying to figure out the whys and wherefores.

    > We said goodbye before hello

    Again, a reiteration of the sentiment that their relationship was nipped in the bud too soon.

    > my secrets she will never know

    Now she'll never get a chance to get to know him and find out that he could be her Romeo in black jeans.

    > and if I dig a hole to China
    > I'll catch the first junk to Soho

    Soho is a neighborhood in LA, where Michael Penn lived at the time, if I recall correctly. I'm not entirely sure what this line means, to be honest. It could mean that even though he has dug himself into a hole so deep that it goes all the way to China, he thinks he'll be okay and get back to himself (home, aka Soho). It could mean that maybe now he may be harder to pin down if she changes her mind. It may be an extremely obtuse way of saying, "you know where to find me, no matter what happens."

    > Sometime from now you'll bow to pressure

    He believes that the pull between them is so strong that eventually she's going to see she made a mistake.

    > some things in life you cannot measure by degrees

    In this case, "degrees" means "increments," not college degrees. =) Some things have no shades of grey and are an either/or situation. This is his response to the events of the first verse. He doesn't WANT to be friends. He wants all or nothing.

    It has to be understood that this song is a little bit of a tongue in cheek ego thing. He's saying, you turned me down, but you don't know what you're missing out on! So he's saying, eventually, you're gonna realize that being just friends with me is a loss for you.

    > I'm between the poles and the equator
    > don't send no private investigator to find me please

    Again, he's saying, "I'm not going to wait around for you, you don't know what you're missing out on, I'm still looking for that great love, like Romeo and Heathcliff. If you want me," he says, "don't be discrete and quiet about it - I want all or nothing, I want big epic romances and grand overtures. Don't send a private investigator. Fess up and tell me yourself." =)

    > 'less he speaks Chinese
    > and can dance like Astaire overseas

    Again, another great romantic figure - Fred Astaire - and exotic far off places like China are invoked here. He doesn't want an ordinary love, and once she realizes she's made a mistake in rejecting him, which in this song he's confident she will, she shouldn't re-approach him unless she's ready to "dance like Astaire." He'll be "someone to dance with" like she wants, but he thinks they have a lot more potential than that.

    This is really a terrific song, about dealing with rejection with hope and humor. Hopefully this has been helpful to others. :)
    andrea1975on July 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't believe no one has commented on this song yet. It's a great song, very clever lyrics. It's pretty simple to understand, I believe. Your never 100% sure what the writer has in mind unless you hear it from their mouth. But I feel pretty confident saying this song is about a relationship ending before it even starts. He has a hard time understanding why the relationship was never given a chance. Maybe she just was not lookin for something serious. Relationship are confusing. He's giving up on trying to figure them out.
    bakismakion October 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe singer likes a woman but the woman rebuffs him by insisting on a friendship instead. Yet, the woman is not acting as a friend anymore. In the end, the singer suggest perhaps this woman is not currently in a serious relationship.

    > So, she says its time she goes
    > but wanted to be sure I know
    > she hopes we can be friends
    > I think yeah, I guess we can say hi

    I modified the lyric from "I" to "hi". I think it makes more sense. Basically, it's the usual "let's be friends" bit. Yet, she makes it difficult for a new friendship as this is an awkward situation for both of them. He agrees.. sure we can still just say "hi".

    > but didn't think to ask her why
    > she blocked her eyes and drew the curtains
    > with knots I've got yet to untie

    Yet, he isn't sure why she has made it so difficult. He is shut out of her life after he suggested to bring their relationship to the next level.

    > (Chorus)
    > what if I were Romeo in black jeans
    > what if I was Heathcliff, its no myth
    > maybe she's just looking for
    > someone to dance with

    What if I were a tragic love character like Romeo? What if I was Heathcliff (from Wuthering Heights, yet another tragic love character). Maybe she just is not looking for major relationships now (and probably does not care for melodrama).

    > See, it was just too soon to tell
    > and looking for some parallel
    > can be an endless game

    It was too early to tell if the relationship could have worked out. Looking for some hidden messages could be an endless game.

    > We said goodbye before hello
    > my secrets she will never know
    > and if I dig a hole to China
    > I'll catch the first junk to Soho

    Basically the relationship ended before she got to really know him even as a friend. She will never know him. Not sure on the China and Soho reference. China being the far out, exotic place. And Soho being a small office / home office environment ilke in NYC. Perhaps he can't forget about her?

    > (Chorus)
    >
    > Sometime from now you'll bow to pressure
    > some things in life you cannot measure by degrees
    > I'm between the poles and the equator
    > don't send no private investigator to find me please
    > 'less he speaks Chinese
    > and can dance like Astaire overseas

    Not sure on this part. My best guess is she will succumb to peer pressure to find some "big shot". But, he matters not since life is not always measured by "degrees" (as in college degrees).

    This plays well into his "between the poles and the equator" which is normally guaged by degrees as well. (via longitude and latitude).

    But if she realizes her loss later on, try not to find him unless she has gained in worldly cultures such as being able to speak Chinese and dancing like Fred Astaire.
    ckdamascuson November 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, it's been stuck in my head the past 2 days... And something caught my ear (and heart) that no-one has suggested that I've seen, but it strikes a chord with me, let's see what everyone else thinks...

    The lyrics in the first verse "I think, yeah I guess we can say I..." I read it as " I think, yeah I guess we can say "I", as in he's trying to come to terms with the fact that He and he alone is the only person wondering why the shutout? Why not see if we COULD become like the great love stories, only better? I also think it's that pivotal moment in a breakup when you realize that there really is no "We" anymore... And you realize that obviously she must not think the same thing you do, otherwise there would be no break up.

    And the next part "..but didn't think to ask her why she blocked her eyes and drew the curtains with knots I have yet to untie..." Why didn't he ask her why he was alone in this thought? Why is he the only one who thinks they CAN be together and they CAN be a great love story? He doesn't understand her train of thought and why she's so resistant to something that could be (in his mind) the greatest thing that's happened to them both? What if he WAS Romeo? What if he WAS Heathcliff and true love isn't just a myth? But maybe she just doesn't want to believe, she doesn't want something you have to try at... She just wants fun, and probably no strings... Just someone to dance with.

    Anyways, just a thought. ^^
    Bestthingoutta85on September 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBrilliant song

    Explanations seem right-on, but it isn't that complicated.

    She's gorgeous, she's been hurt before, is being hit on by jerks constantly, and now all she wants is someone to dance with.

    He, on the other hand, in love with her. He thinks, well, how does she know I'm not some romantic figure like Romeo or Heathcliff?

    At the moment, she doesn't and she doesn't care to. All she wants, at the moment...is someone to dance with.




    wingman100on December 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think you guys all have the right idea about the "I think yeah I guess we can say I" line, but I'm pretty sure it's literally what he says to her in response to her suggesting they should just be friends. If there was punctuation included in the lyrics, it would look like this:

    So, she says its time she goes,
    but wanted to be sure I know
    she hopes we can be friends.
    "I think - yeah, I guess we can," say I,
    but didn't think to ask her why
    she blocked her eyes and drew the curtains,
    with knots I've got yet to untie.

    That is how I've imagined it, and it's made it clearer for me to understand. Man, I love this song!
    jivenuggeton January 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAndreas, you hit the target on this song.
    Lonewolf1271on June 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaningi saw Micheal Penn what he said that people miss "is the neither Romeo nor Heatchcliff (heathcliff was an asshole BTW) were good for the ladies they "loved" it was more of an unheathy obsession." so what if i were Romeo is asking "what if i were an abusive bad boy would this have played out different"
    nomython July 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSaw him live back in the day, and he explained it succinctly. The dude is looking for a relationship and she's just looking for "someone to dance with" using dance as a euphemism for sex.
    Douladawnon June 26, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentandrea, i've been wondering what this song means for years and i think you've fucking pegged it. i'm astonished at your insight. thank you.
    velocityJEon January 21, 2007   Link

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