As we were talking outside
It was cold
We were shivering, yet warmed by the subject matter

My wife is in the next room
We've been having troubles you know
Please don't tell her or anyone
But I need to talk to somebody

You said, wouldn't it be a shame if I knew how great I was
Five minutes before I died? I'd be filled with such regret
Before I took my last breath
And I said, you're willing to tell me this now
And you're not going to die
Anytime soon
And I said, I haven't been eating chicken
Or meat or anything

And you said yes
But you've been wearing leather
And laughed and said
We're at the top of the food chain
And yes, you're still a fine woman
And I cringed

I was hoping
I was hoping we could heal each other
I was hoping
I was hoping we could be raw together

We left the restaurant
Where the head waiter in his 60s, said
Goodbye, sir, thank you for your business sir
You're successful and established, sir
We like the frequency with which you dine here, sir
And your money
And when I walked by, they said thank you too, dear
I was all pigtails and cords
And there was a day when I would've said something like
Hey dude, I could buy and sell this place, so kiss it
I too once thought I was owed something

I was hoping
I was hoping we could challenge each other
I was hoping
I was hoping we could crack each other up

I too thought that when proved wrong, I lost somehow
I too once thought life was cruel
And it's a cycle, really
You think I'm withdrawing and guilt tripping you
I think you're insensitive and I don't feel heard

(And I said do you believe we are)
Fundamentally judgmental?
Fundamentally evil?
And you said yes
I said, I don't believe in revenge
In right or wrong, good or bad
You said well, what about the man that I saw
Handcuffed in the emergency room
Bleeding after beating his kid
And she threw a shoe at his head
And I think what he did was wrong
And I would've have had a hard time feeling
Compassion for him
I had to watch my tone for fear of having you feel judged

I was hoping
I was hoping we could dance together
I was hoping
I was hoping we could be creamy together


Lyrics submitted by Lamia

I Was Hoping Lyrics as written by Alanis Morissette Glen Ballard

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

I Was Hoping song meanings
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35 Comments

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  • +4
    My Interpretation

    I think this song is one about growth as a person in 3 vignettes, so to speak. I'm almost positive it is autobiographical like most of Alanis's writings. Like most of what she has done you can see a sort of spiritual enlightenment...

    In the first scene of the song, she is meeting up with a married guy who is recalling a time when Alanis told him that wouldn't it be terrible if right before he died, he realized that he was this great person? And how he would be so regretful in his life. She then says "you're willing to tell me this, now?" ...because his wife is in the next room. And she quickly changes the subject...

    She then says "hey..I haven't been eating chicken or meat or anything" and he responds almost talking down to her "but you've been wearing leather." And then laughs it off to say that "we (humans) are still on top of the food chain" despite her vegetarianism, and lays down the condescension heavy when he says "and yes, you're still a fine woman." She cringes because it's like he's saying.."hey, don't get down on yourself though...you tried." Like an adult speaking to a child.

    The chorus says she had hoped that he had the capacity/maturity to heal or at least share in her happiness and not berate her for trying something new and the capacity to speak truthfully (be "raw") to each other without flippant chuckles devised to fill the void between awkward comments.

    In the next scene, she's out with a guy who's getting shmoozed on by the old head waiter as they're leaving, and when saying "bye" to Alanis, calls her "dear." She reflects on that experience as now a wiser person who once would have pulled the "Don't you know WHO I AM?!" - card, considering that the waiter made such a big deal about her date and he's a "nobody." It's just not part of who she is now; it's petty and wasteful to spend so much time trying to convince others of your worth/point of view.

    The next chorus part seems pretty self-explanatory.

    "I too once thought that when proved wrong, I lost somehow." This follows a lot of what Alanis talks about in the song and sums it up. That so much energy is wasted when we spend much of our time defending our own points of view. When you cease defending your points of view, you don't have a reason to argue. No fighting and no resistence means you are free to fully experience the present. She says "it's a cycle...I'm withdrawing and guilt-tripping you." It is truly a cycle because she chooses not to argue a point of view. She then gives us an example of him pointing out someone in the emergency room caught in an altercation after beating up his child, the child then causes their dad to bleed because she threw a shoe at his head. And that he(Alanis's man) "would have had a hard time feeling compassion" for the man that beat up his own child, and she's quiet because she says that she didn't believe in revenge, right or wrong. She doesn't want to reiterate and keeps her mouth shut because she knows he'll feel judged and looked down upon.

    We all want to be creamy with someone - I love that phrase that she uses. It's the ultimate in a relationship, to share with someone so much that you become one.

    Belljar84on June 05, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i have some unknown passion for this song, i simply love it, i think it is amazing and yat i as unsure what it is about :S although it sounds very deep and incredably sad :'(

    mrsmolkoon July 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I agree that it is indeed three different conversations and at the start of those outings she was hoping for a deeper connection to digress. But, as the separate situations ensue, there becomes a ground-breaking moment where conflicting opinions clash and ruin the desired outcome.

    All three conversations share a quality of judgements being passed; being a hypocrite for being a vegetarian but still wearing leather, being subtlety patronized by a waiter as if she wasn't as sophisticated (although maybe she feels she read into his comment too much), and having to hold her tongue to avoid the awkwardness of passing judgement.

    itirnitiion July 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i know what you mean mrsmolko, for some reason i love this song. i'm not sure what it means either, but i think it might be about a long term relationship thats gone sour.

    living dead girlon April 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think its about an old friend and her, and they both had feelings for each other once but never acted on it. and now that he is married they meet again and just talk about life and have the same old feelings again but can't do anything about it.

    JanisSlifkaon December 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I was a bit distracted by the fact that in the lyrics above, not every saying is quoted... but it's a complete conversation between a man and a woman, who have met and have had dinner at a restaurant together... they know each other from the past or have been lovers one day. She shows she's less stronger than she has been, that she's not herself on this day: "and there was a day when i would've said something like "hey dude i could buy and sell this place so kiss it" ". For I'm not English by nature I can't really figure out what things like "I was all pigtails and cords".

    I heard this song some days ago by going through my Rock am Ring recordings... and first I thought she was talking to some strange man who she met outside the hospital while his wife was ill; then I thought she even knew the guy; then I misheard it and thought she met God somewhere and he told her about her life ;) ... and now I read the actual lyrics and I still don't get it.

    One thing that's clear: it's so full of emotions, and the ways she sings it; she almost speaks throughout the whole song but the tones are so melodic with a good vibration in it, that she hardly needs any instruments to accompany that voice.

    DarkBlueon January 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I remember reading somewhere that this song is the recollection of three different conversations with three different men. For me the song is about missed chances on past relationships, she remembers the way she met them and the excitement of getting to know each other thru conversation and then remorse not having the chance of doing all the things she wanted, like dancing together, being creamy, etc.

    pa-alvarezon February 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think that pa-alvarez is right in that there are three different conversations and three different men.

    However, I think she probably found these men attractive but upon meeting and talking to these men and getting to know their personalities, she realised that they aren't her type. She doesn't agree with the views these men have, and she was offended by their comments:

    "and you said yes but you've been wearing leather and laughed and said we're at the top of the food chain and yes you're still a fine woman and i cringed"

    She's looking for the right man, perhaps after a break-up which has left her weak, and not finding it in any of these people.

    protectorofthecamelon April 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think the song is somewhat metiphricail, its the bi in the resuraunt is how she feels she cant stick up for herself anymore because shes not worth it, so shes "all pigtales a chords" and just plays along with others oppions of her. "and i said i haven't been eating chicken or meat or anything and you said yes but you've been wearing leather and laughed and said we're at the top of the food chain and yes you're still a fine woman and i cringed" i think this is about how shes saying shes been trying to be a good person, and yet shes not really doing it right, but that doesnt make her a bad person. i think its about a lot of things, a lot of oppions, a lot of things she talks about...

    CryingFromMyWriston July 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    damn this song is so awesome. one of my top played songs!

    "i too once thought life was cruel it's a cycle really you think i'm withdrawing and guilt tripping you i think you're insensitive and i don't feel heard,"

    this song really touches me. the music itself is like my troubled thoughts put to music, and parts of the lyrics really are similar to things i would say and things i feel. including specifically the ones quoted above.

    one of my favorite songs of hers.

    delialon July 25, 2005   Link

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