Cath, she stands with a well-intentioned man
But she can't relax with his hands on the small of her back
And as the flash bulbs burst
She holds a smile
Like someone would hold
A crying child

And soon everybody will ask what became of you
'Cause your heart was dying fast
And you didn't know what to do

Cath, it seems
That you live in someone else's dream
In a hand-me-down wedding dress
Where the things that could have been are oppressed
You said your vows
And you closed the door
On so many men
Who would have loved you more

And soon everybody will ask what became of you
And your heart was dying fast
And you didn't know what to do

The whispers that it won't last roll up and down the pews
But if their hearts were dying that fast
They'd have done the same as you
And I'd have done the same as you

Lyrics submitted by Si_duffers, edited by alhirzel

Cath... [Album Version] Lyrics as written by Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Cath... song meanings
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  • +10
    General Comment
    i love this song, literally changed my life. a close friend showed it to me a week before my wedding. i was 22 and a perfect version of a "cath" who just settled. it was so true and brought up so much emotion when i actually heard the song, looked up the lyrics and saw the comments i cried and knew that i could not go through with the wedding. I cancelled it 6 days before, some may say that i am horrible for doing that but, it was that or be unhappy and with a man who i truly wasnt in love like i should of been, i was just goin thru the motions. it took a lot of courage to do it believe me, cancelling a wedding with 250 guests only a week before. plus actually telling the guy was the hardest part, i didnt do it on purpose or just to hurt him. now a year later that guy is already married and has a kid on the way. Im am so glad i did not go thru with it. thanks to this song and that special friend who shared it with me. so girls if you are engaged to and have doubts, truly think them through because marriage is sooo serious and you dont wanna end up wondering or miserable.
    musicismylife13on November 25, 2011   Link
  • +6
    General Comment
    I wish every 24-year old girl I see out at bachelorette parties would listen to this song.
    Broken24on May 20, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General Comment
    After listening several times to Cath I ll have to confess that this is one of my favourites on the new album. I can relate a little to a company calls epilogue, because it is about a collapsed relationship that has failed years ago. She bound to a men she's not truly loving but she cannot get out of the relationship because she doesn't know what she wants else. So she's kind of a "dead" living person with no private perspective. He still adores her, because I think he is one of the guys who have loved her more, but the last line shows that he can understand the decision she made. Despite that, I think he has won a more distant look at her over the years, he still cares about her. Well, for me the first stanza is a photoshooting at a professional photograph. She plays her role, smiles for the picture and the man on her side is a husband making an official family portrait picture. The song continues that this couple has no future anymore, so the people will ask "what became of you" - maybe a question the storyteller of this song was asked years ago in a similar situation. The second verse clearly shows that she lives in a preowned world that she never wanted to have, but she's forced to accept the current conditions of her life. She's unhappy, but still blocks options of the past to pull her out, because she doesn't know what she wants, even when one (or more) men still show some affection for her.
    KisstheRain1980on May 07, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General Comment
    according to ben gibbard, this is what the song means to him: "I wanted to create this character that's going through the motions, not really sure of why they're necessarily doing it because it's just the thing that they have to do at this point and it's expected that they're going to be doing this. It's not necessarily a story [about] any particular person in my life; it's as much an amalgam of a lot of different elements of how we move forward with our lives and what's expected of us and how we transition into those places."
    bc21234on May 15, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    i heard this song for the first time today on my fabulous local college radio station - and i stopped dead in my tracks. for me, these were the words i had been searching for since i left my husband three months ago. (ironically, i'm a writer. but i can't write myself what i need.) to me - standing there with a "well-intentioned man" trying to hold it together for photographers, made me think of my own wedding day, when i smiled and faced a church full of strangers trying desperately not to let my face betray me. my husband had savaged me earlier that day, and we almost didn't make it out of the house. he played the well-intentioned part beautifully (oh, if i just loved him enough, taught him how to be good to someone he loved, undid the terrible things of his past, etc..), with a hand on my back or my arm or an eye on me at all times. not out of concern, but control. these days, i don't believe any abuser is ever well-intentioned. "soon everybody will ask what became of you" like a textbook abuser, he cut me off from friends and family through intimidation, threats and other means of control. my heart _was_ dying fast. i was living inside a shrinking box. i wilted daily. "you live in someone else's dream.. in a hand me down wedding dress.." the dream i held onto, of this "well-intentioned" man whom i loved, of what a strong, dedicated partner should put up with, of what love could fix... though i mourn the loss of these dreams now, i realize that they were never ours, we would never be those people i saw in the future. these were pages torn out of some book i borrowed. not mine. but as he says, "you said your vows and you closed the door..", and that's how i felt. i committed. now i had to live with it. though i was never given the respect or the companionship or the love i deserved - that everyone deserves from a partner - i stayed. i stayed through unspeakable things. i was so stubborn sometimes and other times, so defeated. i really thought that i could love someone enough to save them. brooding, bad men, are really tender underneath, and love always wins - right? (i think Jane Austen has been a bad influence on me.) "and if our hearts were dying that fast, they would have done the same as you.." this comforts me a lot about judgment. i've seen the after school specials and Lifetime movies. i used to yell at the woman in the movie for not leaving if the guy hit her. but just as i can't possibly understand why anorexics keep seeing themselves as fat when they are dying, the people who judge abused women (myself included) can't possibly understand how insidious and skilled the abuser is. and the abused live in secrecy and in fear, broken, with "our hearts dying fast". escape takes more strength than we are usually left with. so, this song means a lot to me. i've been working on a "it's over and i'm over you" master ipod mix to have at the ready during periods of regret, sadness, blame and anger. it definitely belongs there, even if my take on it is completely wrong. songs that understand women, written by men, restore my faith in Team Testosterone. so, thanks DCFC, once again.
    sarahzaneon September 09, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment
    In the music video, the groom clasps her hand on top and underneath. It's common to only see the bride's hand on top of the groom's, one hand from each partner, symbolizing equality. His use of two hands shows full control... which goes along with the theme of abuse. The grass in the dressing room = grass is greener on the other side. Also note the green exit sign, where it's red where the wedding is happening.
    lolcomotiveon October 09, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    It's about settling. I am TERRIFIED of becoming a "cath"...
    Lissetteon August 07, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    It's a song, not only about failed love, but generally settling for second best in life. It's about social pressuring to commit to an act, and so one gets lost in this act, rather than in the point and true meaning of the act. I think the song, besides the obvious, is also an outward plea for everybody to commit to honest integrity in their actions, and to exercise the freedom they have to make decisions that make them the most happy.
    harryjj0on January 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I believe this song is about a woman who gets stuck in a relationship with another man and feels like she is being forced into it. meanwhile there is another man she loves that also loves her back
    faultycamerason July 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    I've analyzed this song's lyrics, and I've come to the conclusion that it's about a woman who rushed herself into marriage because she felt like she was running out of time to make the decision (Her heart was dying fast, and she didn't know what to do). It is probably something she'll regret in the long run, but she "closes the door." The sacrifice she makes is the falling out with her friends. She clearly doesn't look comfortable with the situation, but she's decided to live with her decision despite the fact that she could have had so much more out of life.
    jakelaueron July 27, 2008   Link

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