Vulnerable or Immature? A Review of Sam Smith’s Hit Single “Stay With Me”

We all know the feeling we get when we find out a singer isn’t black. It’s really quite humorous that we think we can tell people’s skin tone by the sound of their voice. And Sam Smith is the newest artist to shock the masses and sell a few more records along the way. I bet most of you didn’t know that I’m black. Just kidding.

Smith’s new single “Stay With Me” has been hogging air time for at least the last month. It’s catchy. It’s all heart. Men I’ve never heard sing have sung it. And that’s because it’s edgy. A simple three verse song, “Stay With Me” is a request for a groupie to not leave in the morning. I imagine most male listeners claim to identify with the feeling because they think women find Smith’s vulnerability appealing, and yet these guys still get to maintain their man-card because they could only identify with the song because they’ve had one-night stands themselves. If I’m right, everyone is mixed up. Here’s an attempt at order.

First, as a friend of mine’s dad once told him, “Be grateful for the sex you’re getting. It’s more than you deserve.” Second, while the brutal honesty the song portends is no small feat, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a valuable confession. It only works if it’s in response to the idea that guys who have one-night stands are supposed to kick the ol’ belt-notch to the curb at first light. Right? Smith is basically winning his version of a rap battle Eminem-style. Some real-large-type arse-hole picked on Sam for calling the guy back the next day. Instead of defending his action (which would be weak) he goes one further and admits that he never wanted him to leave in the first place (which is a fatal blow in these contests it seems). Good for him. But we can’t let uncommon vulnerability distract us from the truth. His actions which trigger the song demonstrate that he is not a man. He is a boy. And boys shouldn’t be listened to.

Men–real men–do not have one night stands. They don’t. How do I know? The same reason you know. Because it’s the way it is. Smith wonders why he’s so emotional the morning after, and then advises himself to gain self-control. Another good friend of mine would tell Smith he’s emotional because “the inner man isn’t one with the outer man.” You want to stop crying over him, Sam? Too late buddy. You’re crying because you just caused the two of you pain. And pain hurts. The good thing is that the pain wasn’t lethal. You can learn from it. We can learn from it. But learning is defined as a change in behavior caused by experience. A change. And no fellas that doesn’t mean that you learned if you don’t get weepy next time.

In the end, the world could use a whole lot more and a whole lot less Sam Smiths.



  1. JOan

    I disagree. Mankind reaches all the way around the globe for thousands of years. The definition of a “man” is a comparatively recent concept, and quite a narrow one, at that.


    • A Mugwump

      Did you mean to say “this definition of a “man”?” I’m pretty sure I’m not the first or only man to ask himself “what does it mean to be a man?” Hmm.

      I love this topic (one-night stands). Is that what you disagree with? Do you think they are okay? How does the argument go that says that they’re okay? I know you and I agree that hurting people isn’t okay. So it seems like the disagreement is on something very precise, but I can’t be sure.

      My brother asked, “Why did you pick this song to bring this up?” I think I did because it illustrates perfectly the point I’ve always argued. People can’t just walk away from a one-night stand. It’s impossible. There are emotions/feelings/expectations etc. A lot of shyat. And I don’t think anyone is better for it. It’s not like sexual release is worth all of it. Or is it? What do you think Joan?



      • JOan

        I think we individually give life and its situations whatever meaning it has for us, filtered thru what societal and other influences have gotten to us and usurped the meaning. Life runs by agreement between us. There is no objective reality, and certainly, no objective definition of a man, or no objective judgment of an intimate adult encounter… It is possible for anyone to walk away from anything at any time, as far as I have witnessed. That’s the beauty of life. People have selective thoughts, selective memories, and selective meanings. Most of the time.


      • A Mugwump

        I see. I’m pretty sure I’ll never “get there from here” as they say. I can buy what you say academically and for philosophical “the tru tru”, but as you say, “life runs by agreement between us” and I’m too steeped in the Western World, culture, and ideology etc. to believe that there is actually no objective reality. Oh well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. Wish me luck on the house hunt, we need to have another MTLC dinner, and soon!


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