At Seventeen - Janis Ian


    i learned the truth at seventeen
    that love was meant for beauty queens
    and high school girls with clear siknned smiles
    who married young and then retired
    the valentines i never knew
    the friday night charades of youth
    were spent on one more beautiful
    at seventeen i learned the truth
    and those of us with ravaged faces
    lacking in the social graces
    desperately remained at home
    inventing lovers on the phone
    who called to say come dance with me"
    and murmured vague obscenities
    it isn't all it seems at seventeen
    a brown-eyed girl in hand me downs
    whose name i never could pronounce
    said"pity please the ones who serve,
    they only get what they deserve"
    and the rich relationed home town queen
    marries into what she needs
    with a guarantee of company and haven for the elderly
    remember those who with the game
    lose the love they sought to gain
    in debentures of quality and dubious integrity
    the small town eyes would gape at you in dull surprise
    when payment due exceeds accounts received at seventeen
    to those of us who knew the pain
    of valentines that never came
    and those whose names were never called
    when choosing sides for basketball
    it was long ago and far away
    the world was younger than today
    and dreams were all they gave for free
    to ugly duckling girls like me
    we all played the game and when we dared
    to cheat ourselves at solitaire
    inverting lovers on the phone
    repenting other lives unknown
    they call and say "come dance with me"
    and murmur vague obscenities
    at ugly girls like meat seventeen

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