Dirty Work

housekeeping cleaning bucket mop

For this week’s Thursday Inspiration (hosted by Jim Adams), I chose “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan from their 1972 debut album Can’t Buy a Thrill. The song was written by group members Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.

Times are hard
You’re afraid to pay the fee
So you find yourself somebody
Who can do the job for free
When you need a bit of lovin’
‘Cause your man is out of town
That’s the time you get me runnin’
And you know I’ll be around

The ”fee” in question seems to be to be the price she would have to pay for leaving the comfortable arrangement. Her man provides financial support but not the love she needs, and she tries to have the best of both worlds by staying in her marriage and getting love on the side. Her lover knows he’s playing the fool and it’s gonna lead to trouble, yet he can’t resist her…

I’m a fool to do your dirty work
Oh yeah
I don’t wanna do your dirty work
No more
I’m a fool to do your dirty work
Oh yeah

Of course it may be even ”dirtier” than simple adultery, if the woman is trying to get her lover to kill her husband a la Body Heat (1981). In this movie, Matty (Kathleen Turner) appears to be only a bored trophy wife looking for thrills, but in fact she cleverly manipulates Ned the lawyer (William Hurt) into killing her wealthy hubby. Ned thinks that once he’s committed the deed, he and Matty will live happily ever after on the dead man’s money. Silly Ned.


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4 responses to “Dirty Work

  1. Great song choice Paula. The man meets with the married woman whenever her husband is away. The guy is lonely and vulnerable, as he doesn’t have anyone else in his life that he has made a serious connection with, so he is with this woman because she is willing to have sex with him. She has no intention of divorcing her husband, she just wants the guy for fun like having a friend with benefits. She has no guilt regarding his feelings because she knows she gets away with it. He knows this woman is using him and he’s a push over and a fool for being with her, but he is powerless to deny her.

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  2. Great choice of songs, Paula. Steely Dan, an acquired taste for many, has long been a favorite of mine.

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