Interpretations:(She Was A) Hotel Detective

From This Might Be A Wiki

Interpretation 1[edit]

I'm positive this is pretty much what it seems -- a story about a hotel detective. Correct me if I'm wrong, of course. -Lie

Interpretation 2[edit]

Is it just me, or do the last lines seem sexual to anyone else?

Come on and swing with me (Swinger baby!)

From the top of a tree

And make me feel like a bee (pollination)

That's where I want to know you (in a 'biblical' sense)

Maybe I'm over-analysing. :)
Joygerhardt

Interpretation 3[edit]

Well, to give some credence to the sexual aspect, I'm pretty sure I heard somewhere that "hotel detective" is slang for a hooker. This would also fit in well with the song's sequel. Tutt 15:49, 7 Oct 2005 (EDT)

I wonder if this ties in to Flans' yelling "Come on her!", if that's seriously what he's saying. --RaygunShaun 14:31, 5 February 2012 (EST)

Interpretation 4[edit]

I think it's a love song. Its sorta like the guy is trying to find the right one and The hotel detective is the one. - User:Goodtimes2 —originally posted to Interpretations:(She Was A) Hotel Detective (Single Mix) [deleted] at 00:50, 14 November 2006

Interpretation 5[edit]

Considering "hotel detective" is, indeed, a slang for prostitute, I think it is about a prostitute, but... The narrator is speaking very literally about the term. Seems to think the titular prostitute is a LITERAL detective at a hotel. Possibly a lover or family member who doesn't know their loved one's actual career. Vidihawk (talk) 03:52, 30 June 2014 (EDT)

Interpretation 6[edit]

In light of the information of a hotel detective being a prostitute (I wasn't aware), I re-read the lyrics and I am thinking that she WAS a hotel detective, but now "she's gotten promoted". It says "She read that motel directive It told her she was defective I guess she found an easier way up the ladder and she took it Now that lady is running the world" Which I would interpret as she WAS a prostitute, and then decided she would either sleep her way into a better job, OR black mailed one of her johns to get a better job. --Bethany G

Nope[edit]

Hotel detective is definitely not slang for prostitute. If it was true, it would make zero sense, because part of the job of a REAL hotel detective would be to control prostitution in the hotel. Imagine someone saying "There were a couple of hotel detectives riding the elevator, but they were nabbed by the hotel detective and kicked out the back door." This supposed "slang" was just invented by someone who had never heard the historical expression before.

John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants says the band's "(She Was a) Hotel Detective" was inspired by a single line ("The hotel detective/He was outta sight") in Grand Funk Railroad's 1973 chart-topper "We're an American Band," in which "four young chiquitas in Omaha" meet the Grand Funk "dudes" and, it being Saturday night, "proceed to tear that hotel down." Today, of course, a discreet hotel security team would have been onto those dudes and chiquitas before any structural damage could occur.
https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/behind-closed-doors

See also https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/6sfj2v/whatever_happened_to_the_house_dick/

In fact, the song is what it seems to be: an ode to a sexy woman who does security for a hotel. The joke is that, in reality, all hotel detectives were male.

-- Thread Bomb (talk) 00:52, 27 April 2020 (EDT)