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“It’s guys like you, Mickey!”

Just another compliment for “fine” and “pretty” Mickey from the hit 1981 song “Mickey” by Toni Basil, . . . right?

Mickey certainly gets a slew of compliments in the song. He’s pretty and fine, and he blows the narrator’s mind. She pleads with him not to break her heart. She wants him to take her home. All of the lyrics in the song indicate that the narrator has the hots for one male specimen in particular, and his name is Mickey.

All of the lyrics, that is, except for one.

“It’s guys like you, Mickey!”

Wait a second. It’s not you, Mickey; it’s guys like you?

Suddenly, Mickey isn’t so special. He’s just one of many guys who turn the narrator on.

Furthermore, Mickey isn’t even technically included in the set of men described by “It’s guys like you, Mickey!” This line technically says nothing about Mickey, only about all of the many guys who are similar to him.

What is this lyric doing in a song dedicated to the amazingness of Mickey?

I hear that little word “like” in a lot of pop songs, used in the same way. I always thought it was strange. It’s a trope by now, something that lyricists throw into songs, and it’s expected that the audience will view it as a compliment to the love interest. But is it?

Imagine if your significant other gave you a kiss. And then you expected them to say, “I love you,” but instead they said, “I get so turned on by people who are similar to you!” That wouldn’t be very romantic, would it? You might even get angry!

Of course, Mickey is not the narrator’s significant other. He is just a crush. Perhaps the “It’s guys like you, Mickey” line is simply expressing the narrator’s general sexual preferences, of which Mickey is a prime representative.

And perhaps the narrator is being coy here, sending a subtle signal to Mickey that if he doesn’t get with her, she has other options. . . .

On the other hand, the song is not expressing the narrator’s general sense of being attracted to a certain type of man. It’s a song dedicated to Mickey, from the title all the way down to every single lyric, except one.

So what is the deal with this “like” trope in pop songs? Do you have any ideas here?

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