On 19 January, 1980, “Make Believe It’s Your First Time” by Bobby Vinton peaked at #78.
Does a lyric count as a naughty double entendre if it’s delivered in sappy earnestness? How about if it’s delivered in a spirit of patriarchal 1950s-style concepts of what love and sex should be like? These are the questions I ask myself when listening to Bobby Vinton’s saccharinely dreadful “Make Believe It’s Your First Time“. Maybe it’s my own puerile mind (I don’t think so, but let’s make believe for a second that it might be) but can anyone who sees or hears the title to this song not think he’s asking her to pretend she’s a virgin? “The door is closed; it’s you and me…” it’s not like the setup is arguing any differently. This makes my skin crawl, in a similar manner that the (much better, but nonetheless creepy) “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” does: there’s the thought of a man making a woman a woman that’s only important, to, well, men who think that women are little more than attachments to men. So, here’s Bobby Vinton asking this woman to pretend she’s not a woman so that he can make her a woman. How pathetic — and creepy — is that?
It turns out he’s singing about having fallen in love, or at least the prospect of falling in love, which, I suppose is a bit of a wry joke on the sexual revolution that concluded a decade before this song was recorded (but admittedly only concluded a decade after Vinton’s first single). But still, would you want to be in a relationship with someone who wanted you to pretend you’d never been in love before? I thought not.
Meanwhile, The Carpenters went on to cover this. Why, I can’t for the life of me understand.