Putting jelly on one's shoulder?
July 25, 2006 5:37 PM   Subscribe

Need some explanatory help from deviants and/or Lou Reed fans. Why would one put jelly on one's shoulder?
posted by ITheCosmos to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I found this discussion, but it's inconclusive, and I've been wondering about this for years.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:47 PM on July 25, 2006

I found this, but it sucks, but maybe if you ask there you'll get lucky.
posted by jewzilla at 5:51 PM on July 25, 2006

um. maybe to lick it off? like whipped cream on the belly?
posted by nadawi at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2006

Is that really the only line in the song you're confused about?

(Actually, I think you've gotten the point already. I think Lou wanted to suggest a deviant practice so strange that nobody could put their finger on the details — like Iggy Pop's "Of course I've had it in the ear before." But that's just a hunch, and I can't see how anyone could prove it one way or the other.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:28 PM on July 25, 2006

OK, I'm going to put on my English-major hat and do a close reading. As any English major knows, a close reading is generally meaningless and lacks and real connection to the author's intent. Nonetheless:

Put jelly on your shoulder
Let us do what you fear most
That from which you recoil
but which still makes your eyes moist

Put jelly on your shoulder
lie down upon the carpet
between thought and expression
let us now kiss the culprit

My theory: "Put jelly on your shoulder" is a euphemism for oral sex, "jelly" = female sex organ in many jazz and blues tunes.

He wants to go down on her, despite her inhibitions. She fears oral sex, it make her recoil, but it makes "still makes her eyes moist" -- and not just her eyes.

Again, "Put jelly on your shoulder." We are reminded of the sex act about to transpire.

"Lie down upon the carpet" comes with a double meaning. First, there is the literal meaning -- she lies down, spreading her legs, preparing the moment. But then: "down upon the carpet."

Inhibited and unshaven, she is carpeted. He goes down upon the carpet, between thought (of guilt) and expression (of pleasure) -- and between two legs as well.

And now we kiss the culprit. Is he the culprit for encouraging lust she wishes to deny? Is she the culprit for succumbing? Or is the culprit another euphemism, for the colden spot between her legs -- between thought and desire -- that we now kiss.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:01 PM on July 25, 2006 [3 favorites]

colden=golden, of course
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:02 PM on July 25, 2006

Like crouton, I've always assumed it's a reference to oral sex; only the other way around. As the shoulder is relatively close to the face, I figured it as a "money shot" euphemism. Laying down upon the carpet gives Lou a chance to reciprocate.

All of which seems consistent with the sexual nature of the song as a whole; "some kinds of love / the possibilites are endless / and for me to miss one / would seem to be groundless".

I suppose we'll have to ask Lou for the real answer. But I think it's safe to say it has something to do fucking.
posted by aladfar at 8:26 PM on July 25, 2006

As a slight derail--I wondered what Bowie meant by "ouvre le chien" (open the dog) in "All the Madmen". I know the song is about his brother, but also chalk it up to late sixties weirdness; this seems to fall in the same category.
posted by brujita at 9:38 PM on July 25, 2006

I'd back the sexual slant. Jelly was old black jazz slang eg Jelly Roll and commonly picked up by white musicians like Van Morrison etc.
posted by brautigan at 6:54 AM on July 26, 2006

Means nothing whatsoever. Fits the meter. Otherwise, gobbledygook. (Same for "ouvre le chien.")
posted by scratch at 8:27 AM on July 26, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, I figured it was probably like nebulawindphone said, but another part of me really wanted there to be some obscure and concrete answer.
posted by ITheCosmos at 1:52 PM on July 26, 2006

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