To my way of thinking, I was relatively late entering into the world of Squeeze fandom, but when I look back at the stats, I guess I was more or less on par with America at large: the first time I became aware enough of the band to actually want to go out and purchase one of their albums was right as they were earning their first top-40 hit in the US. If you’re thinking that I’m referring to “Tempted,” your thought is incorrect: “Tempted” did chart, but only at #49. It wasn’t until “Hourglass” that Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook, and rest of the gang achieved that goal, hitting #15 with the single in 1987.
Although Babylon and On, which provided us with “Hourglass,” was my first Squeeze album, I have to admit that I didn’t really dive headlong into their back catalog until they released their next album, Frank.
If you don’t remember Frank, it’s okay. Over the years, I’ve gotten the feeling that Frank is the album that separates the casual Squeeze fans from the “oh, my God, I love them so much that I can hardly stand it” Squeeze fans. It’s such an under-the-radar Squeeze album that when I.R.S. released the band’s live album, A Round and a Bout, in 1990, the label identified the albums from whence each concert selection originally came…except for “Dr. Jazz,” making it seem as though it was a heretofore-unavailable composition rather than the next-to-last song on Frank that it actually was.
The song “She Doesn’t Have to Shave” has always stuck with me because of Jessie Oulahan, my manager when I worked at the Tracks / Record Bar store at Greenbrier Mall. She pretty much defined the “oh, my God, I love them so much that I can hardly stand it” Squeeze fan, to the point that Glenn Tilbrook positively made her swoon.In fact, although I can’t deliver her precise quote, I distinctly recall that she indicated that she felt that the accuracy in her choice of pop star adoration was borne out by the lyrics of “She Doesn’t Have to Shave,” which clearly painted Tilbrook as the most understanding man you could ever hope to have at your side:
She was washing the dishes
When she burst into tears
It was the time of the month
She was up to her ears
I put my arms round her neck
I said sit down a while
Cry as much as you like
I’ll do the dishes
Tell me what’s on your mind
There’s a boiling point
That you’re bound to reach
When it’s all your fault
And you’re half asleep.
She’s lucky she doesn’t have to shave
I’m so lucky I’m not doubled up with pain
To be frank (no pun intended, just a happy coincidence), I really didn’t have much in the way of personal experience with the topic being addressed by Tilbrook when I first heard “She Doesn’t Have to Shave.” Eventually, however, I would come to understand where he was coming from, which is why I still find myself knowingly humming the song, oh, let’s say about once a month or so.