Maybe I Mean Yes

Album: Milestones (1991)
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Songfacts®:

  • Dunn is sending some mixed signals on this song, but they're perfectly clear to her: when she says no she means maybe, but maybe she means yes. Her poor suitor has every right to be confused.
  • Dunn wrote this uptempo fun track with Chris Waters (her brother) and Tom Shapiro. Produced by the lady herself and Shapiro, it was put out on the Warner Brothers label, her second single of 1991, but three weeks after its release, Dunn asked radio stations and video programs to stop playing it after it came under fire from feminists and related agenda-driven special interest groups. Dunn issued a statement to the effect that she didn't want it to be misunderstood.

    Interestingly, according to a report by Kate Meyers and Jeffrey Resner for Entertainment Weekly, WUBE of Cincinnati conducted a listeners' poll and reported: "We took well over 100 phone calls, and 90 percent asked us to continue playing the song... of the responses, 70 percent were female."

    At least one person suggested that Dunn's request was a cynical publicity stunt! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • In our interview with Holly Dunn, she explained how the song idea came from a bit of playful banter from an old Cary Grant film. "We were just coming from a totally lighthearted, flirty thought," Dunn said. "Almost an old-school relationship between men and women with that old-fashioned, flirty game-playing kind of thing that happens sometimes." She didn't even consider a different connotation until the single was released concurrently with an issue of TIME magazine that exposed the growing problem of date rape. In that context, "Maybe I Mean Yes" is an unwelcome response to the message "no means no."

    "I look back on that and think, 'How could I?' Because I was a fairly feminist-type thinker and still am. How could I have been so unplugged from the subject matter to miss that?"

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