What Does "wish you were gay" by Billie Eilish Mean?
“wish you were gay” Lyrics Meaning
Billie Eilish’s new single “wish you were gay” was written by Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS. In “A Snippet into Billie's Mind - wish you were gay,” FINNEAS said of his little sister’s story behind the song, “It’s painful to love someone who doesn’t love you back,” to which Billie added, “Yeah. And if only there was a reason . . . I wish you were gay to spare my pride. To give your lack of interest in me an explanation.”
“Just say that I’m not your preferred sexual orientation”
“wish you were gay” was born out of a personal experience Billie Eilish went through, during which she loved someone, but he continued to blow her off and not appreciate her affection. The rejection was so painful that she began to “wish [he was] gay” so that she would have a reason for his disinterest that wouldn’t have to do with something being wrong with her, but instead, it simply being a matter of his affections not lying with her gender.
Baby, I don't feel so good
Six words you never understood
I'll never let you go
Five words you never say (Aww)
I laugh alone like nothing's wrong
Four days has never felt so long
If three's a crowd and two was us
One slipped away (Hahahahahahahaha)
The first verse hits hard on the theme of loving someone who refuses to care for you in return. Billie sings that this man never took the time to understand her pain, and was possibly incapable of comprehending it. Whether that came either from his rejection or from other life difficulties is unclear, though it can be reasonably assumed her pain is a result of his repeated callous treatment of her. She is reminded that “I’ll never let you go” is a loving and protective phrase she’ll never be told by him, but she attempts to “laugh alone like nothing’s wrong” in an effort to either convince herself or this person that he is not causing her pain. It is more likely that she is attempting to convince herself the pain is not as bad as it truly is because of her use of the word “alone,” which frames his emotional abandonment of her. She circles back to this theme of abandonment with the lines “If three’s a crowd and two was us / One slipped away.” “Three’s a crowd” is used when a couple has a third wheel and can’t be alone together, so the use of this phrase indicates that whenever the two of them had that chance to be alone together, he “slipped away,” passing up the opportunity to spend quality time with Billie.
I just wanna make you feel okay
But all you do is look the other way
I can't tell you how much I wish I didn't wanna stay
I just kinda wish you were gay
In the chorus Billie sings that she cares about this person, and she thinks that a romance between them would make both of them feel “okay” (implying that he doesn’t currently feel okay). But, despite all her efforts to love him, he acts as though she has done nothing. In “A Snippet into Billie's Mind - wish you were gay,” Billie describes her experience with this person as her putting all of her love on the line for him, throwing it at him, and him not even catching it (let alone returning it) and instead “look[ing] the other way.” She doesn’t want to want to be around him or “stay,” because she knows he will be dismissive of her feelings and cause her pain again. She has commented on the controversial sounding line “I just kinda wish you were gay” on her Instagram, saying “that’s so not meant to be offensive in any way. It literally means I wish he was gay so that he didn’t like me for an actual reason.” It is a blow to her pride and confidence, and she wants a legitimate reason for why this man she has feelings for is treating her love so flippantly. Maybe he just doesn’t like anyone of her gender in that way?
Is there a reason we're not through?
Is there a 12 step just for you?
Our conversation's all in blue
11 "heys" (Hey, hey, hey, hey)
Ten fingers tearing out my hair
Nine times you never made it there
I ate alone at 7, you were six minutes away (Yay)
Billie compares her feelings for this man to an addiction she needs a twelve step-recovery program to recover from. This also hails back to the countdown style of the verses (six to one in the first verse, and twelve to six in the second verse). She illustrates how one-sided the effort put into the relationship is by telling us their texting conversation is only “in blue,” meaning the only texts there are from her (on iMessage the texts you send are usually in blue, while the other person’s are grey). Their only conversation is her attempting to start one by texting “hey” eleven times without response, leading her to tear “out [her] hair.” There are also “nine times” he “never made it” to her at a time they had agreed on. She explains in her commentary, “A Snippet into Billie's Mind - wish you were gay,” that the final line refers to a time they were supposed to meet for dinner at 7 o’clock, but she ended up waiting for him at the restaurant until he arrived at 9:30, despite his only living six minutes away from the meeting place.
To spare my pride
To give your lack of interest an explanation
Don't say I'm not your type
Just say that I'm not your preferred sexual orientation
I'm so selfish
But you make me feel helpless, yeah
And I can't stand another day
Stand another day
Here, she gives the reasoning behind her wish for this man to be gay. She wants his “lack of interest to have an explanation.” She doesn’t want to simply “not [be his] type,” but instead to “not [be his] preferred sexual orientation.” She feels selfish for desiring him to change to save her pride, but she “can’t stand another day” with him making her “feel helpless” and causing her pain.
Deeper Meaning of “wish you were gay” by Billie Eilish
“wish you were gay” is about Billie Eilish’s experience with rejection and walks us through her emotional response to the behavior of the person she loves. This song is unique in that, unlike most Billie Eilish songs, “wish you were gay” does not carry that eerie tone she is known for, but instead favors an almost timid vulnerability (only almost, because this is still Billie we’re talking about). From her shift in tone between this single and her last, “bury a friend,” it sounds like she is growing in her lyrical voice to experiment with different topics as well as her musical style with this romance focused autobiographical piece.
Check out the video explanation of this song on the Pop Song Professor’s YouTube channel:
“A Snippet into Billie’s Mind - wish you were gay”: