Interpretations:What Is Everyone Staring At?

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Interpretation 1[edit]

The simple explanation is that the song is about a couple who, after a seperation, reunite happily but find that they are misunderstood or mocked. The reason for this is vague, but there are several interesting explanations, some of the more minute ones mentioned in the lyrics. (i.e. "Have I got something on my face?" "Could you please inspect my teeth?" Jealousy is also mentioned in the lyrics as a possible reason. Maybe it is another instance of the TMBG trademark unreliable narrators?) However, I am fond of interpreting this as a song chronicling a gay couple's alienation from a society that doesn't understand them. The poignancy of the lyrics "Is there something so wrong about two people? / Is something wrong with love?" is emphasized with this interp, and it also explains why everyone was laughing at the boy and the girl in the movie theater (comparing the on-screen relationship with the narrator's same sex relationship). Of course, this is just one of many possible meanings, but I think this song could well be a GLBT anthem if They hadn't chosen to release "Sleepwalkers" instead. -- CWC 01:10, July 27, 2004


To me this song is about a man in denial about his failing marriage. Both he and his wife resent each other, but they try to pretend that there's nothing wrong by doing normal "couple stuff." They take walks, go to the movies, eat dinner, but everyone around them can feel the strain of the relationship. --repugnant 23:27, December 11, 2004

Yeah he's deluded... the first verse gives away the reality he's ignoring. He believes they're "back in love again" after a fight, not admitting that the fight is continuing. Normally the mood for the phrase "I love the way you laugh" is affection, but not this time. As the couple go about he thinks they appear romantic & that "clinking glasses and stuff" proves it. He truly doesn't realize they aren't fooling anyone - and tries to explain the staring of the strangers in every other way possible ("can you please inspect my teeth?") - because he's fooled himself. --Nehushtan (talk) 18:37, 23 November 2019 (EST)

Interpretation 3[edit]

Could it be a mocking of the ocassional belief John & John were a gay couple? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:36, October 18, 2005

I thought it might be about a gay couple as well, though I then noticed the lines mention that "everyone was laughing / at the boy and a girl", so I'm not quite sure that that's it...though perhaps it is about someone who believed the Johns were a gay couple and were surprised discover they were married to women. So, I suppose it could be a possibility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:47, May 5, 2006

Interpretation 4[edit]

At the baseline this song is about a reconciled couple. Beyond that I personally think that the song is about the narrator letting his anxiety getting the better of him. The people laughing/mocking/staring at them is all in his head. He is so worried what people will think about him dating an ex that this fear is manifesting in his perception of how others see them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:29, 22 December 2012

Interpretation 5[edit]

My main interpretation is that the narrator of this song has an imaginary or artificial girlfriend (love doll/cardboard standee/dakimakura/etc.) that he is taking out for dates in public, such as to dinner and the movies, making him the subject of mocking talk and laughter. This has been going on so long that he has begun to have imaginary fights and relationship issues with her, as described in the first verse.

My other idea was more morbid, based mostly on the first verse, that the narrator has killed his partner after a fight. Now that she is dead and their fight is over, even though the memory of their disagreements still lingers, he takes her corpse out on a date in public pretending they are happy now. This could break down in the second verse, as I think people would be screaming rather than laughing at the sight of a man with a corpse, though he could be so insane that he perceives their reactions as ridicule instead of panic. --Scarlet Swordfish (talk) 22:03, 7 October 2019 (EDT)