It's Different for Girls

Album: I'm the Man (1979)
Charted: 5 101

Songfacts®:

  • The typical young man is no Cyrano de Bergerac when it comes to romantic sweet talk. He tends to be clumsy and a little desperate with his words when seeking sex, and can get absolutely oafish when it's not working out. Faced with resistance from the lady, he will often appeal to her sense of compassion, trying to convince her that great pain will beset him if his desires aren't met. This all comes out in one simple phrase: "It's different for guys." The savvy girl, who has likely heard this before, often counters with, "You're all the same."

    In this song, however, the roles are reversed - in this alternate universe it is the guy playing coy while the girl pursues. When Songfacts spoke with Joe Jackson in 2012, he told us the inspiration for the song: "It was something that I heard somewhere that struck me as a cliché. The sort of thing that someone might say. I thought, What could that be about? And that maybe the idea was to turn it on its head and have a conversation between a man and a woman and what you'd expect to be the typical roles are reversed."
  • Joe Jackson had just three Top 40 hits in his native UK, and this was the biggest, landing at #5 ("Steppin' Out" made #6 in 1983).

    In America, "It's Different for Girls" did well on FM radio, but only managed to bubble under on the Hot 100.

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