The Man In Me

In this song the narrator tries to present a positive image of himself, but only succeeds in letting the reader know how pathetic he is.

The opening lines are disingenuous. The speaker tells us:

The man in me will do nearly any task
And as for compensation, there’s little he would ask

What we’re in fact being told is that there are tasks he won’t perform, and for those he does perform he expects to be compensated. Although he praises the woman for getting through to the man in him, the context suggests that even the tasks he does are performed only at her instigation. Accordingly, if he requires her as a stimulus to action, he would seem to have little reason to boast about ‘the man in’ him.

The second verse opens on a note of dissatisfaction:

Storm clouds are raging all around my door
I think to myself I might not take it anymore

Again he needs her to ‘find the man in me’ in order to deal with these ‘storm clouds’. If there’s a danger of his not being able to ‘take it anymore’, it would again seem that there’s not much manliness about him. The ‘wonderful feeling’ he has knowing she’s near would seem to be not so much a romantic feeling for her, as he seems to imply in mentioning the effect on his heart, but a feeling of relief that she’s there to sort out his problems. It sets his ‘heart a-reeling’ from his toes to his ears in the sense that she enables him to take heart in the face of his adversities.

That he is in fact unmanly is apparent from what amounts to an admission of cowardice in the final verse. He admits he’ll hide so that he isn’t seen. It’s absurd that he tells us that it’s ‘the man in him’ that will hide since the very fact of hiding suggests there is no ‘man’ in him. He attempts to justify his hiding by telling us he doesn’t want to become a machine, but this sounds like a pathetic excuse. It’s ironic, too, since he is machine-like in that he only acts when prompted by the woman.

The final two lines have ‘Took a woman like you/To get through to the man in me ‘ in place of the earlier ‘Take a woman like you/…’ The implication is that the man in him has now surfaced, due to her, whereas previously it hadn’t. However, what he’s told us in the rest of the song suggests that this is anything but the case. He is as unmanly with the woman as he was without her.

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