What Does It Mean To “Do Me”?

If I am famous for anything, it is surely for not having the slightest clue about popular music. Nevertheless even I have noted that there exists a so-called lyric consisting of the insistent injunction to “Do me, do me, do me”. I heard it a lot in Africa but really have no idea where it comes from.

My interest in language never seems to disengage, and so I observe how this verb changes its meaning according to both context and gender. If a woman says, “Do me”, it can hardly mean anything other than “copulate with me”, while if a man says it, the meaning may be the same – but not quite as inevitably. For among males, to do someone can quite possibly mean to cheat them. (We see this in the clichéd jocular inversion, “What can I do you for?”) Were a woman, on the other hand, to say that her estate agent (realtor) “did her”, there is an excellent chance that she would be misunderstood. The same applies to the verb “take”, of course.

If this linguistic dimorphism tells us anything about the nature of human life, it is surely something deeply depressing. So men exist primarily to be cheated and women to be copulated with? It is enough to drive us into the cloister. And yet one feels quite certain that this is how many people do see the world, not least the movers and shakers. Thus is the world; no, thus have we made the world.

For someone brought up in my time and place, however, the effect of the repeated musical injunction in a female mouth is simply weird. Not that I am saying women should not be allowed to sing, “Do me”, but I wonder whether any other such brief expression has so encapsulated the changes through which I have lived. My unease about copulation being the primary meaning of the most general verb of action hardly lessens when girls use it themselves in that sense. I am happy with strong female sexuality, and yet I do not particularly want to live on a planet in which a woman’s primary function is to be “done”.

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 16:01 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, The Invention Of The Modest Female

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