I am looking for a hard headed woman – a Valentine’s Day reprise

This post was written about seven years ago. I thought of it when I was recently commenting on how our life partners lift us up and make us better. They complete us..

One of my favorite Cat Stevens (Yusuf) songs is “I’m Looking for a Hard Headed Woman.” I tease my wife (and she returns the favor) about being hard headed. But, if you look at the lyrics of this song, you will note that Stevens is singing about looking for someone who is real and not contrived. He wants someone who is hard headed about being true to herself and seeking the same in her partner.

I’m looking for a hard headed woman,
One who will take me for myself,
And if I find my hard headed woman,
I won’t need nobody else, no, no, no.

I’m looking for a hard headed woman,
One who will make me do my best,
And if I find my hard headed woman
I know the rest of my life will be blessed — yes, yes, yes.

I know a lot of fancy dancers,
People who can glide you on a floor,
They move so smooth but have no answers.
When you ask “Why’d you come here for?”
“I don’t know” “Why?”

I know many fine feathered friends
But their friendliness depends on how you do.
They know many sure fired ways
To find out the one who pays
And how you do.

I’m looking for a hard headed woman,
One who will make me feel so good,
And if I find my hard headed woman,
I know my life will be as it should — yes, yes, yes.

I’m looking for a hard headed woman,
One who will make me do my best,
And if I find my hard headed woman…

Two lines jump out at me in the song, one in the beginning and one in the end. First, he says “one who will take me for myself.” He does not want someone trying to make him into something he is not. Yet, in the final stanza, he sings “one who will make me do my best.”  He wants a partner that will help bring out the best in him. He wants his lover to believe in him and help him do the best he can. To me, that is what having the right life partner is all about.

I have used two other songs to describe my wife of now thirty-five years. In Loggins and Messina’s “Danny’s Song,” also made famous by Anne Murray, they sing in the last stanza “Love a girl who holds the world in a paper cup, drink it up, love her and she’ll bring you luck. And, if you find she helps your mind, you better take her home, don’t you live alone, try to earn what lover’s own.” Holding the world in a paper cup is a terrific metaphor for someone who is genuine, such as my wife.

The other is from Gordon Lightfoot, “Rainy Day People.” He sings “Rainy day people, always seem to know when it’s time to call. Rainy day people don’t talk, they just listen until they’ve heard it all.” My wife is the best of listeners. In fact, she would rather hear you talk about yourself, than the other way around. And, it is raining right now and she is out helping a friend, which is not unusual.

Like Stevens sings about, once he finds the hard headed woman, his life will be blessed. My wife is one who holds the world in a paper cup and knows when it is time to call. Thank goodness she is also hard headed, as well. For I am blessed…and equally hard headed.


11 thoughts on “I am looking for a hard headed woman – a Valentine’s Day reprise

  1. This post made me all dreamy. So glad you found your hard headed woman, Keith. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Your wife sounds wonderful. God bless you both 🙂

    • Pepper, many thanks. She is indeed. She would laugh at this post. because of its title, but she is her own person and will tell me I am hard-headed as well. We also love a song off one of The Eagles’ final albums sung by Glenn Frey called “I love to watch a woman dance.” The woman sounds just like my wife as she dances at an outside party at her house – barefoot with a plastic cup of wine she tries not to spill as she dances. Keith

  2. I love Cat Stevens’/Yussuf Islam’s songs. A few years ago I listened to them up and down almost all day. He has such deep lyrics and the lyrics you presented here only prove it. Many misunderstand what a relationship is for. We don’t meet to pamper each other but to help each other in our development. It is of no use if you have someone at your side who only says what you want to hear. Of course, hopefully, it is conveyed with love but still. Honesty only strengthens the trust in each other!

    • Erika, very well said. To your point, you want your partner to pull you aside at a party and quietly tell you that you need to check your opinions or you hurt someone’s feelings and need to apologize. She/ he is the one who tells you that a sprig broccoli is in your teeth or you didn’t button all your buttons on your shirt. Or, you might not like going to this party, but you need to go because your absence will be noted, etc. Keith

      • Yes, exactly, all those points which are only for the sake of that one person brought with love because the other one doesn’t mind to appear as the downer.

      • Erika, again well said. I think the pulling the spouse or partner off to the side is an essential part of the process. It follows the construct of praise in public and criticize constructively in private. We have known a few couples where the wife was the butt of too many jokes, often with the kids teasing her, as well. To me, it was off putting and my wife and I would chat about later when home. I told her if I ever make you feel that way, you have my permission to knock some sense in me. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: After reading Erika’s note, for those who may not be as familiar with Cat Stevens’ work, here are a few from many songs to listen to:

    – Oh very young
    – Moon Shadow
    – Peace Train
    – Father and Son
    – Where do the children play?

  4. I like the paper cup metaphor, similarly how other old phrases are turned modern. I think it was (one of) the Beatles said they were “born with a plastic spoon in their mouth” – not into poverty but common life. (going on memory here, might be wrong on all 4 counts.)

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