Ponderance: Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkle

The song “Cecilia” was stuck in my head the other day. You know the one–Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart, you’re shaking my confidence daily. Oh Cecilia, I’m down on my knees, I’m begging you please to come home.

This song troubles me. Specifically, this verse troubles me.

Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia up in my bedroom.

I got up to wash my face but when I got back to bed someone’s taken my place.

There are several things about this that concern me, first and foremost being: where does the someone come from? There are three cases that I can come up with:

  1. the someone is a roommate/guest in the house
  2. the someone is a stranger who snuck in the window
  3. the someone is a friend or acquaintance of Cecilia’s who snuck in the window

Let’s consider these one at at a time. Let’s say that the someone who took his place is a roommate. There are two subcases here: either the singer is ordinarily okay with his roommate having sex with his girlfriend, or  he is not okay with his roommate having sex with his girlfriend.

In the first case, is he upset because Cecilia violated the terms of their relationship in some way? I think “Don’t invite someone else to have sex with you in my bed while I am up attending to my personal hygiene and have the reasonable expectation that we will continue having sex when I come back” is a totally legitimate boundary to set in an open relationship. Any variation of “Please check with me before inviting someone else to have sex with you/us in my bed” seems totally reasonable. If Cecilia did do something as impolite as to invite someone else into his bed without permission, regardless of their prior arrangement, that is pretty inconsiderate, and does not indicate that she is a good candidate for any sort of ethical non-monogamy. However, it is also possible that the singer had not articulated terms for the relationship at all–perhaps when they hooked up, all he said was, “It’s groovy, man, anything goes.” In which case the onus is on him for not understanding what he is and is not comfortable with and setting those boundaries. If it had simply never occurred to him that this situation could arise, and as a result he was unaware of how comfortable he would be, then he should calmly explain to Cecilia that her behavior has hurt him, and that he would appreciate that she not continue with actions a, b, c, and d. (Admittedly, this song is about how Cecilia is breaking his heart, but it is not specific, and includes no actions that Cecilia can take to improve the situation beyond coming home.)

But let’s say that they aren’t in some kind of hippie-free-love-commune situation. Then what kind of terrible roommate goes into your bedroom while you are in the loo and has sex with your girlfriend? Where did you locate this person–in the “Roommates from Hell” section of the classifieds? Does he always eat the last of your Cap’n Crunch, too? Is it some kind of revenge for being too loud with the lovemaking? And what could the roommate possibly say when you come back to your bedroom and discover him fucking your girlfriend?

“I’m sorry, man, but she wasn’t labeled?” As though she were milk in a shared fridge?

Let us then consider the second case: the someone is a stranger who snuck in the window. There are two subcases here, as well. Either the stranger who snuck in the window is making unwanted sexual advances towards Cecilia, or she has consented to the stranger’s sexual advances. If it is the first case, WHY ISN’T THE SINGER MORE ALARMED?!? I feel like the appropriate response to someone sneaking in your window and sexually assaulting your girlfriend ought to involve more ass-kicking and police-calling, but the song is silent on this matter.

If she did consent to the window-sneaker’s advances, then that brings us back to the question about the boundaries of their relationship. Is he upset because she’s having sex with someone else, or because she is not honoring some term of their relationship? The third case, in which the window-sneaker is known to Cecilia, begs similar questions, but adds an additional element of intent. Did Cecilia plan for this person to come by, sneak in the window, and take the singer’s place? That would show a great deal of dedication to cruelty, which would again indicate that she is not a stellar relationship candidate.

I imagine that the most likely scenario is the first one: the someone taking the singer’s place is an opportunistic roommate.

There are other questions that I have about this song. For instance, why is he getting up in the middle of sex to wash his face? Does it just sound better than “take a piss”? Did he squirt himself in the eye with the bottle of lube? (Did they even have lube then, and what was it made out of?) Is he opposed to the scent of vagina and wanted to wash it off his face? (I haven’t decided whether I think that’s kind of lame or not. On one hand, man up, vaginas are awesome. On the other hand, it’s not fun to have a sticky face. I think I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here.) So if he’s up washing his face because he just buried his face in her lady bits for as long as she wanted him to and he’s all sticky, then it’s pretty awful of her to take that opportunity to fill his empty spot in bed. I might cut her some slack if he’s washing his face and brushing his teeth after taking a single lick of her pussy, shrieking in horror, and running to the bathroom complaining of how awful she tastes. Then her inconsiderateness would at least be warranted. (Though still not the most mature way of handling the situation.)

These questions plague me, but I feel it is safe to conclude that the singer should not be dating Cecilia. Either he is unwilling to set clear boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable in their relationship, or she is willfully ignoring them, and that will end up going badly for both of them.

Ponderance: Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkle

4 thoughts on “Ponderance: Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkle

    1. Rachel Shadoan says:

      Hahaha, analyses of songs? Or Ponderances in general? Because I have two more ponderances in the works. 😀

  1. Jessie says:

    I always just considered that she had invited someone else over who happened to show up while he was in the bathroom, and that Cecilia, having taken full advantage of Singer Guy, really couldn’t care less about his feelings. Which makes his “Jubilation! She loves me again. I fall on the floor and I’m laughing” make him seem both pathetic and insane.

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