Most of the time when a song's subject is just too damn personal I drown it in metaphor and leave it at that (see "Chiaroscuro" for all the ways my parents' divorce is like the Washington Mall). If I can't make something funny or ironic, I hide it away so listeners might not figure out exactly what I'm saying. I have a few songs, however, that are just beat-for-beat retellings of actual events. "NSFW" - a title I always meant to change, but I guess it's too late now - is like that, but there are some things I had to keep vague. I wish I could tell this story outright. I wish I could use his real name. I wish he would read this. I promise he won't.
This is a story about a one night stand that didn't quite happen. It could have. I wanted it to. I had wanted it to for months, and given my history of keeping myself square in the proverbial friendzone I was baffled when he made a move. Also drunk. And drenched in cheap whiskey from Haley Bowery's since retired Super Soaker. I wasn't even supposed to be there - the cab driver had refused to take me to my own apartment so I wound up stuck at his. We sat on the floor and went through his old CDs like a couple of high schoolers. "Tonight Tonight" was playing from the stereo when he kissed me.
We'd been keeping time with each other for months, and most people didn't know. We'd sneak away from parties and spend hours talking, talking, talking. Mostly him, to be honest, although he let me get enough words in edgewise for me to believe that he cared for me. He was fucking someone else though. And when I paused the proceedings long enough to ask what their deal was (I am fairly certain that elegant phrasing was my exact words), I knew from his reaction that he wasn't going to commit to me anymore than he committed to her. Even drunk I am cautious by nature. "I can't be this for you,” I told him. “Can't because I'm in love with you” was the part I didn't say. I wonder if he knew.
There was no reason for me to stay once we decided sex was off the table. Only by that time it was 5am and I was more or less stranded at his apartment. So I stayed over, but I sure as hell didn't sleep. And that's where this song picks up - it's the chaos in my head from that night and the days immediately after, wondering if I'd made the right choice. I assume for the purposes of the narrative that he's sleeping soundly throughout my existential crisis (how he slept through that loud ass bridge I'll never know), although I'm not sure if that's true. I'm not really sure about anything he did, or said, or wanted. After a while I stopped trying to find out.
The title "NSFW" had a number of reasons behind it. Originally it was code for me not to accidentally email the demo to anyone, since this strapping example of chivalry had sworn me to secrecy regarding our not-quite affair. It's also meant to be ironic, a NSFW tag for a night when no sex actually occurred. Mostly though, it's an accurate description of the two of us the next day. He marched off to his office job on little to no sleep, and I was still hungover when I went in to wait tables at 5pm. We weren't suitable for anything. Certainly not one another, that much is clear.
(for the first half of this story, see track 3.)