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An Ordinary Man [song lyrics]


Song lyrics to An Ordinary Man, Music by Frederick Loewe, Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, sung by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady

Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White): Higgins, forgive the bluntness,
But if I’m to be in this business
I shall feel responsible for the girl.
I hope it’s clearly understood
that no advantage is to be taken of her position.

Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). What! That thing? Sacred, I assure you.

Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White). Come now, Higgins, you know what I mean.
This is no trifling matter.
Are you a man of good character where women are concerned?

Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison): Have you ever met a man of good character
where women are concerned?

Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White). Yes, very frequently.

Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). Well, I haven’t.
I find that the moment I let any woman make friends with me,
She becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance.
And I find that the moment that I make friends with a woman,
I become selfish and tyrannical.
So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so.

Well after all, Pickering,
I’m an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more than just an ordinary chance,
To live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants…

An average man am I,
Of no eccentric whim,
Who likes to live his life, free of strife,
Doing whatever he thinks is best for him,
Well… just an ordinary man…

BUT, let a woman in your life
And your serenity is through,
She’ll redecorate your home,
From the cellar to the dome,
And then go to the enthralling fun of overhauling you…

Let a woman in your life,
And you’re up against a wall,
Make a plan and you will find,
She has something else in mind,
And so rather than do either
You do something else that neither likes at all.

You want to talk of Keats or Milton,
She only wants to talk of love,
You go to see a play or ballet,
And spend it searching for her glove,

Let a woman in your life
And you invite eternal strife,
Let them buy their wedding bands
For those anxious little hands…

I’d be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling
Than to ever let a woman in my life.
I’m a very gentle man,
Even-tempered and good-natured
Whom you never hear complain,
Who has the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein,

A patient man am I,
Down to my fingertips,
The sort who never could, ever would,
Let an insulting remark escape his lips.
A very gentle man…

BUT, let a woman in your life,
And patience hasn’t got a chance.
She will beg you for advice,
Your reply will be concise,
And she’ll listen very nicely,
And go out and do precisely what she wants!

You are a man of grace and polish
Who never spoke above a hush,
Now all at once you’re using language
That would make a sailor blush,

Let a woman in your life,
And you’re plunging in a knife,
Let the others of my sex,
Tie the knot around their necks,
I’d prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition
Than to ever let a woman in my life.

I’m a quiet living man,
Who prefers to spend the evenings
In the silence of his room,
Who likes an atmosphere as restful
As an undiscovered tomb,

A pensive man am I,
Of philosophic joys,
Who likes to meditate, contemplate,
Free from humanity’s mad inhuman noise;
A quiet living man…

BUT, let a woman in your life,
And your sabbatical is through,
In a line that never ends
Come an army of her friends,
Come to jabber, and to chatter,
And to tell her what the matter is with YOU!

She’ll have a booming boisterous family,
Who will descend on you en mass,
She’ll have a large Wagnerian mother,
With a voice that shatters glass.
Let a woman in your life,
Let a woman in your life,
I shall never let a woman in my life.


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