The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #106287 Message #2194328
Posted By: bobad
15-Nov-07 - 08:51 AM
Thread Name: Origins: I'm Gonna Be an Engineer (Peggy Seeger)
Subject: Lyr Add: I'M GONNA BE AN ENGINEER (Peggy Seeger)
I'M GONNA BE AN ENGINEER
When I was a little girl I wished I was a boy.
I tagged along behind the gang and wore my corduroys
Everybody said I only did it to annoy,
But I was gonna be an engineer.
Momma told me, “Can't you be a lady?
Your duty is to make me the mother of a pearl.
Wait until you're older, dear, and maybe
You'll be glad that you're a girl.”
Dainty as a Dresden statue,
Gentle as a Jersey cow,
Smooth as silk, gives creamy milk,
Learn to coo, learn to moo,
That's what you do to be a lady now.
When I went to school I learned to write and how to read
Some history, geography and home economy,
And typing is a skill that every girl is sure to need
To while away the extra time until the time to breed,
And then they had the nerve to say, “What would you like to be?”
I says, “I'm gonna be an engineer.”
“No, you only need to learn to be a lady
The duty isn't yours, for to try and run the world.
An engineer could never have a baby.
Remember, dear, that you're a girl.”
So I become a typist and I study on the sly,
Working out the day and night so I can qualify,
And every time the boss came in, he pinched me on the thigh,
Says, “I've never had an engineer.
“You owe it to the job to be a lady.
It's the duty of the staff for to give the boss a whirl.
The wages that you get are crummy, maybe,
But it's all you get ’cause you're a girl.
“She's smart (for a woman).
I wonder how she got that way.”
You get no choice. You get no voice.
Just stay mum. Pretend you're dumb.
That's how you come to be a lady today.
Then Jimmy came along and we set up a conjugation.
We were busy every night with loving recreation.
I spent my day at work so he could get his education,
And now he's an engineer.
He says, “I know you'll always be a lady.
It's the duty of my darling to love me all her life.
How could an engineer look after or obey me?
Remember, dear, that you're my wife.”
As soon as Jimmy got a job, I began again.
Then, happy at my turret-lathe a year or so, and then,
The morning that the twins were born, Jimmy says to them:
“Kids, your mother was an engineer.
“You owe it to the kids to be a lady,
Dainty as a dish rag, faithful as a chow.
Stay at home. You’ve got to mind the baby.
Remember you're a mother now.”
Every time I turn around, there's something else to do.
It's cook a meal or mend a sock or sweep a floor or two.
I listen in to Jimmy Young; it makes me want to spew.
I was gonna be an engineer.
Now I really wish that I could be a lady.
I could do the lovely things that a lady's s'posed to do.
I wouldn't nearly mind if only they would pay me,
And I could be a person too.
What price - for a woman?
You can buy her for a ring of gold,
To love and obey (without any pay).
You get a cook and a nurse, for better or worse.
No, you don't need a purse when a lady is sold.
But now that times are harder, and my Jimmy's got the sack.
I went down to Vickers, they were glad to have me back,
But I'm a third-class citizen; my wages tell me that,
And I'm a first-class engineer.
The boss he says, “We pay you as a lady.
You only got the job ’cause I can't afford a man.
With you I keep the profits high as may be.
You're just a cheaper pair of hands.
“You've got one fault: you're a woman.
You're not worth the equal pay.
A bitch or a tart, you're nothing but heart.
Shallow and vain, you got no brain.
You even go down the drain like a lady today.”
I listened to my mother and I joined a typing pool.
I listened to my lover and I put him through his school,
But if I listen to the boss, I'm just a bloody fool
And an underpaid engineer.
I've been a sucker ever since I was a baby:
As a daughter, as a wife, as a mother and a dear;
But I'll fight them as a woman, not a lady.
I'll fight them as an engineer.