Keep Your Hands to Yourself - #MeToo in a 1960s that Never Was


Imagine a world in which women are able to hold men to account for their actions - in which an abuse of power behind closed doors is suddenly cast into the light. Such is the promise of #MeToo, but what if that movement had hit without the hashtag.

For example, what if Jackie Kennedy had broken the unspoken rules of her day - and called her husband out on his dalliances? What if this had spilled over into the public eye, consuming John Kennedy’s presidential bid - placing sexless Richard Nixon in the White House in 1960?

That’s exactly what happened in the alternate history of Flashback to Never.

One of the pop stars of our world - the soulful Shea Korgy - had a hit in 1962 with “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.”  It’s a seductive song - a deceptively simple tune, a danceable earworm that sticks with you for days like so many other throwaways from the early days of rock and roll.

Korgy sings:

God made boys to make girls cry

They carry on and got a wandering eye

They can’t help but touch the pretty toys

So stay away from my lovin boy

So I’ll tell you just one more time

Keep your hands to yourself

Keep your hands to yourself

Boys don’t know how much they hurt

They can’t stop whistling at tight skirts

So don’t blame Bobby for what you did

Or I might just go and blow my lid

So I’m saying for the very last time

Keep your hands to yourself

Keep your hands to yourself

On first blush, Korgy’s words seem to be addressed to a female rival. At the same time, she views her man as hopeless and weak, doomed to make the same mistakes over and over, not really worthy of her trust. He’s certainly not virile or manly - he’s really just kind of pathetic.

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that Bobby is a gender-neutral name - Bobby could be a female referenced in the third person. So, maybe she’s not talking to that rival at all, and instead she’s issuing a warning her own man. “Don’t you dare blame the girl - keep your hands to yourself.”

Korgy is jaded about men and women and the bad behavior between them. She’s over infidelity and sex-as-power, whoever the player. You’re on notice, Bobby, whoever you are - boys will not be boys. Not anymore.

Even trifling little ditties like this one - pop songs about teenage love - look different in the light of a world where women, their wants, and their consent are taken seriously. Where Jack Kennedy’s dalliances are not conquests, but liabilities in a contest against straight-laced Richard Nixon.

It’s tempting to imagine Jackie dancing the Salad Toss to this one. Maybe Shea Korgy could have added a special verse to address the shame Jack’s affairs would likely have brought on had they not been kept secret by the boys’ club - the press corps, the aides and fellow politicians in the know - that protect men like him…  

Don’t blame the White House you lost

on me or any other girl,

Keep your hands to yourself.