Once a Creep, Always a Creep

Updated in December 2021 to include a review of Creep by Radiohead

Around the dinner table with my Norman, Oklahoma friends (a group known at the time by several names, such as The Thirty Something Group [despite the fact that they weren’t 30-something any more], The Breadmaker Group, and The Bohemian Continuum) in 2009, I revealed a not very secret secret that those closest to me, like my wife, already know: I look at women’s hands, kind of obsessively. I related a story about having these feelings in third grade, explaining to them that when Mrs. Dzialo was at the front of the room, I stared at her hands. They looked really sexy to me.

When I was done with this story, Thea said, “So, you’ve always been a creep?”

After the laughter died down, I said, “Yes. Yes I have.”

Thus, even those closest, and presumably most understanding, to me were inclined to label and judge me. And thus, when Dan Marsh challenged me to review the song Creep by Radiohead, a song I already loved, it seemed obvious.

When I was younger, I usually felt like an outcast, and this feeling was never more apparent and powerful than when I was a young teenager, without a clue how to act around girls my age, who, in my view, shunned and mocked me. This perception imprinted deep into me, creating the idea that I really was more awkward and less attractive than the girls were.

It was manipulation that, as an adult, I realize was far from accurate. I think about the girls that age who I meet and photograph all the time as a news photographer, and I realize that they are the ones who are awkward and mannered, not me. How do I know this? I am completely comfortable socially is all settings, unless I am talking to a teenager. There is friction, and it comes from them. I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their incomplete replies.

So the song Creep tends to strike a chord.

“I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul…”

Then the perfect, and most revealing lyric, is sung: “What the hell am I doing here?”

What, indeed, Creep? How dare you be an oddball, an outcast, a nerd?

Creep is layered densely. You can’t listen to this song without going deep.

And in the end, of course, the voice is NOT the creep, and doesn’t “belong here” because of the special someone who has us all psyched to imagine she’s perfect. She’s not perfect, and his desire is as honest as anything she has to offer.

I love this song, but I love High and Dry and Fake Plastic Trees just as much. Radiohead rules!

“They’re the ones who’ll hate you
When you think you’ve got the world all sussed out
They’re the ones who’ll spit at you
You will be the one screaming out…” ~High and Dry

All that said, the only reason I know anything at all about Radiohead is due to Napster, and the Apple friendly app Macster. Yes, that’s right, I stole all the Radiohead I own.

Me, a creep? Maybe you're looking in the wrong mirror.
Me, a creep? Maybe you’re looking in the wrong mirror.


  1. OMG! I loved Mrs. Dzialo! Not that I ever noticed her hands, though. Hmmm Good Genes or Good Docs?

  2. I'm guessing most people have varied fascinations with specific body parts, but most won't admit it.

    For me, it's always been eyes. There are so many variations and patterns, colors, shapes, etc.

    Now, you'll catch me avoiding people's eyes in public situations. That's only because I'm overcompensating, afraid of staring at the eyes.

  3. Love this song. Also love High and Dry. I’m weird; I kind of prefer Radiohead’s “garage-band” sounding era (albeit short-lived) as opposed to their post-OK Computer sound. Apparently, the album Pablo Honey has been disowned by the band and crapped on by fans. Whatever. It’s a great one.

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