Let Me Borrow Your Girlfriend

You can download a PDF of the guitar tablature here.
You can hear an mp3 of the song in its present form here.

A bowl of CheeriosBackground

In 1985 or 1986, while a senior in college, I wrote my first 2 songs:  "Let's Walk" and "Are We in Love?".  Somewhere during all this, I also had a little songlet called "Let Me Borrow Your Girlfriend."  It was pretty much exactly the first verse of the song as it later became, and nothing else.  

I could rummage through and find an old tape of me singing it, but the one I have ready at hand is a recording made with me playing guitar and bass and with Mark Glickman on drums in our dorm room, probably from 1986.

The bassline had this odd turn to it which sounded neat at the time, but which later seemed just counterproductive to the melody (which was already conceived, as I know by the other recording I haven't digitized).  The part that made it very difficult to take this song seriously was the part that sounds like a beer jingle:  G/Em C/B/Bflat/A  F/G/C.  It just sounded stupid.  As desperate as I was to write a third song, I never considered this more a song than any other fragment I had on hand, despite the fact that this one had lyrics and a melody.  It was really the runt of the litter.

On the night of August 29th, 2007, however, I and some friends went out to the open mike at Starbucks in Davis Square.  One of the other musicians was a songstress whom I found appealing.  Over the course of a long evening of music, she mentioned that she had a lighting fixture she needed to have installed.  While she had mentioned a boyfriend, I was beginning to wonder whether he really existed, as this sort of task would surely be dangled before him for action.  While that particular line of conjecture did not deliver on the promise, this episode was enough to inspire a second verse for this old song and renew my thinking.

A third verse furthered the narrative of romantic scheming and a bridge provided a nice melodic and rhythmic counterpoint in an October 5th demo, although the bridge had a pitch-shifted voice singing a kazoo-like tune and no words.

By the October 8th demo, the bridge had acquired words on a quirky carpentry theme rich in jealous spite.  Its chord progression had been made a little nicer, going up to an Em where before it had stood on a Dm.  That same night, I performed the song for the first time at the Lizard Lounge Open Mike Challenge, though I mistakenly played the old chords under the bridge.

The last demo I made was done on October 10th, 2007.  It had the final chord progression for the bridge, but the lyrics are not perfect.  I've yet to do a recording featuring the latest words.


The lyrics wound up as

I catch my breath when they walk by.
I try to look away.
I just don't want to see the guy
who's holding her today

Did she really mean that smile,
or was it just for show?
Give me her for just a while
and maybe then I'll let you know

Let me borrow your girlfriend,
just for an hour or two
Hey buddy, give her to me
or I'm gonna take her from you.

She bought herself an overhead light
to brighten up her hall.
I told her I could hang it tonight
if she gave me a call.

It's a standard boyfriend chore
and hardly rocket science.
I wonder if she's really sure
that she's replacing the right appliance.

Let me borrow your girlfriend,
just for an hour or two
Hey buddy, give her to me
or I'm gonna take her from you.

I wonder was she hammered
when he nailed her in his Ford?
Did her timber shiver like a reed?
Or was she unenamored
to be drilled through like a board
milled from a cord
as wood pecker feed?

I hear that he may travel to France
to go to La Sorbonne.
I really hope that he'll take the chance
pour chercher tous les femmes.

But he will find his plan is flawed
as he sits through "Les Mis"
and wonders why he studied abroad
when I stayed home and studied his.

Let me borrow your girlfriend,
just for an hour or two
Hey buddy, give her to me
or I'm gonna take her from you.

Performance and Finishing

I think this song could use a little harmonizing in places, particularly where it hits an A chord at the end of the verse ("...who's holding her today").