Question… Too Trusting at Fifteen and Public Perception Evolves over 15 Years [Part 6]

29 Nov

But fifteen seconds later they were clapping, too?

Fifteen:

Fifteen

I think 15 is a deliberate choice.  Taylor is calling back to this song for good reason.  This incident where there is a kiss in a crowded room is similar in some ways to Taylor’s 2009 Fearless self.  In that early album, Taylor is full of hope, trust, optimism.  And as in the case of Abigail, you have to look before you fall in order to not get hurt.  You can’t blindly trust empty words as an adult, or you pay the price.  Taylor is saying she set herself up for disappointment by being naïve and open.  The Kaylor situation was fraught, and I’m not certain, but Taylor might be comparing this subject of Question… (Karlie?) to those senior boys that had ulterior motives.

Then, what did you do?

Did you leave her house in the middle of the night? (Oh)

House:

Seven

Betty

Ivy

House seems to be a physical place where someone lives.  But Taylor also uses “house” as the embodiment of a person and their sensibilities.  The house in Seven (is Taylor, I think, but could be the childhood friend) is haunted (gay? conflicted? imperfect?) 

Haunted

Taylor says she thought this girl was WLW.  There’s nothing to figure out with a boy.  That’s “normal”, accepted, expected. It’s not difficult to figure out if a boy likes you that way.  But if the love interest is a girl–is she friendly or flirty?  When Taylor can’t breathe in this gal’s absence, she knows it’s love.  Taylor discovers she loves a girl–she’s haunted.  She knows she’s gay.

Taylor is in a conservative city.  Country music is “traditional” and constrictive.  Taylor has religious imagery in some songs so her family might abide by the Bible, and that makes her feel conflicted about her sexuality.  She does not see her queerness as positive, she deems it a curse or jinx–she’s haunted.  And being haunted/gay makes the homophobic father mad.  Enter hiding in the closet-a lifelong defense mechanism. In Betty, passing by your house can mean both riding on a skateboard past someone’s home, and James passing by Betty, the person. When Taylor dares to act on this haunted part of her, there are real fears the husband will harm his wife (Taylor’s lover) and her. She has to be very, very sneaky about hiding the gay-affair, or He will burn their house of love down.

Middle of the night:

Untouchable

Taylor is contemplative in the middle of the night, all the way back to her country music days.  She worries about her decisions.  She anxiously fantasizes about her lover.

It’s still the central conflict: Taylor has to choose between authentic gay love and her career. When she slips and her true love is shown in public, the crowd goes crazy. Everyone has an opinion about it, which makes Taylor panic.

Taylor indicates there has been a change in societal acceptance over the last 15 years. Public perspective on homosexual acceptance between 2007-2022 shifted monumentally. At the beginning of Taylor’s career, you had to be closeted in order to make it. She was forced to hide her real self in order to make country music.

Now, ‘out’ artists go mainstream and hardly anyone bats an eye. Taylor painted herself into a corner. She had to trade-off queerness for fame, which involved closeting, dancing around the truth, and bearding. She’s been telling her audience the whole time that she feels trapped. Cages are common in Taylor’s lyrics and artistry.

So even though society is more open to queers in music, Taylor has to un-do some central and significant parts of her branding in order to live more openly and authentically. She would lose fans who felt she had been lying to them the entire time.

Question… shows that due to her own fear and internalized-homophobia, Taylor chose to be haunted in secret. She did not double-down and say, hey-Karlie is my lover! after Kissgate. Her anxiety got the best of her. But in the middle of the night Taylor agonizes about it. She wishes it was different. Taylor wants Karlie to be cool with having an exclusively private relationship so Taylor can have her and continue her music legacy.

or “leaving out the side door” as the case may be

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