Janis Ian - At Seventeen

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At Seventeen

Original songwriter: Janis Ian

I learned the truth at seventeen

That love was meant for beauty queens

And high school girls with clear skinned smiles

Who married young and then retired

The Valentines

I never knew

The Friday night charades of youth

Were spent on one more beautiful

At seventeen

I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces

Lacking in the social graces

Desperately remained at home

Inventing lovers on the phone

Who called to say come dance with me

And murmered vague obscenities

It isn't all it seems at seventeen

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs

Whose name I never could pronounce

Said pity please the ones who serve

They only get what they deserve

The rich relationed hometown queen

Marries into what she needs

A guarantee of company and haven for the elderly

Remember those who win the game

Lose the love they sought to game

In debentures of quality and dubious integrity

The smalltown eyes will gape at you

In dull surprise when payment due

Exceeds accounts received at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain

Of Valentines that never came

And those whose names were never called

When choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away

The world was younger than today

And dreams were all they gave for free to ugly ducking girls like me

We all play the game and when we dare

To cheat ourselves at solitaire

Inventing lovers on the phone

Repenting other lives unknown

That call and say come dance with me

And murmur vague obscenities

Ugly girls like me at seventeen

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Artist Information

Singer / songwriter, born Janis Eddy Fink on April 7th, 1951 in New York City, USA. In 1964, she legally changed her name to Janis Ian, taking her brother Eric's middle name as her new surname.

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