A feminist response to “Hotline Bling” by Drake.
You used to call me on my cell phone / Late night when you need my love / Call me on my cell phone / Late night when you need my love / And I know when that hotline bling / That can only mean one thing / I know when that hotline bling / That can only mean one thing
Ever since I left the city, you / Got a reputation for yourself now / Everybody knows and I feel left out / Girl you got me down, you got me stressed out
Cause ever since I left the city, you / Started wearing less and goin’ out more / Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor / Hangin’ with some girls I’ve never seen before
Ever since I left the city, you, you, you / You and me, we just don’t get along / You make me feel like I did you wrong / Going places where you don’t belong
Ever since I left the city, you / You got exactly what you asked for / Running out of pages in your passport / Hanging with some girls I’ve never seen before
These days, all I do is / Wonder if you’re bendin’ over backwards for someone else / Wonder if you’re rolling up a Backwoods for someone else / Doing things I taught you, gettin’ nasty for someone else
You don’t need no one else / You don’t need nobody else, no / Why you never alone / Why you always touching road / Used to always stay at home, be a good girl / You was in the zone, yeah / You should just be yourself / Right now, you’re someone else
I’ve denied this for far too long.
Yes, I did used to call Drake on his cell phone. For consensual, mutually enjoyable adult interactions. It was fun for a while. And then – this is the part you never hear about, because this is the part he omits from the song – I broke things off. Our arrangement stopped working for me. So yes, yes, I do go out more, sometimes wearing less, as is my prerogative. (It’s nearly summertime now, friend. I’m not gonna wear my parka to the club.) I do hang with girls he’s never met before. Why should he vet my friends? He should not; he will not. I’m a grown ass woman. I vet my own friends.
Going places I don’t belong? Who decides where I belong? I do; I decide where I belong and don’t belong.
You got one thing right, Drake: I don’t need no one else. That includes you. I’ll touch the road all I want.
Drake and I broke up, and the reason isn’t important. Not important if he cheated on me, a detail whose inclusion might imply that I’m touching road and experiencing new things out of revenge, which I am not. I’m moving on with my life not in response to or protest against you, Drake. Rather, I’m living my life for me.
I did used to call you on your cell phone. You sometimes messaged me on facebook. We’d Facetime occasionally. We used tin cans connected by a string once. Many modes of contact. And usually, it was to arrange a hook-up. I enjoyed it, man. But we don’t do that now. I would not say, as you have sung, that we “don’t get along”; those are your words. I am perfectly willing to get along with you; I just don’t call you now. And I wouldn’t say, as you have sung, that I make you feel like you did me wrong. In fact, I don’t think you did me wrong. You did me right plenty of times, but things are different now. Besides, you left town. I’m happy for you. You seem to be doing well. I am certainly doing well.
The reputation I’ve got for myself now? I care far less about my reputation and far more about how I’m actually living my life. I’m running out of pages on my passport. Life is good. And I want you to be happy. Stop being so preoccupied with what I’m doing. “These days, all I do is wonder…” Stop wondering. Stop wondering if I’m bending over backwards or touching my toes or doing flips or chiffonading basil. It’s my own business. (And while we’re talking about it, you flatter yourself thinking you taught me all my moves.)
Revisionist history, Drake, allows you to say that I “used to stay at home,” being a good girl, as if those were equivalent. “A good girl stays at home.” On the contrary. A good girl makes good decisions for herself. A girl who’s “good” knows her mind and runs her own affairs. If she wants to stay home, fine. If she wants to leave home, also fine. Some days I stay in; some days I go out. That’s my business, and you don’t get to vote.
I should “just be myself,” you say. “Right now, you’re someone else.” Drake, my love, I decide who I am. I define my self. We had a marvelous time, you and I, but you do not get to define who I am or dictate what I do.
Dudes. So emotional.