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  • Writer's picturecatecartermusic

Behind the Lyrics: "Numbered Days"

I wrote “Numbered Days” a few years ago about my first date with a woman. I’ve known I am bisexual since 2015 and it’s something I would lose sleep over because I never had a “real” queer sexual experience. Heteronormativity tells you that you should be, and are attracted to the opposite sex, and my experience as a bisexual woman proved that to be true. With that feeling being validated and no social sexual script for how queer attraction manifests, it wasn’t hard for me to gaslight myself into thinking I was making it all up. I used to think, “Well I don’t feel the way about women that I do about men.”

In college, I saw a TikTok, of all things, that visually articulated the feeling of being attracted to a woman as a woman, and being attracted to a man as a woman as “distinctly” different feelings – equally strong, but different. The way I had been taught to be attracted to women by society was by objectifying their bodies in the way that men do. Queer attraction is different. There is a clear differentiation between objectification and attraction. It’s an impossible feeling to articulate so I wrote a song about it.

“Numbered Days” is about a first date that I went on. It was one of those 6 hour dates (iykyk) and it was the most validating experience in accepting my sexuality. I was nervous because prior to going out with this person I had never met her before. General first date jitters paired with years of questioning if I am actually attracted to women had me shaking in the car ride to the date. Once I was there, those fears started to melt away.

Much of the song discusses the overlap between the three feelings of excitement, attraction, and anxiety. The new anxiety was about her liking me, because at that point, I knew I liked her. She was so beautiful and kind. Our eye contact made my stomach drop. As there are few reference points in our society for how queer dates or relationships are “supposed” to go, I was painfully aware of the fact that I had no idea what I was doing. Although I am a generally confident person, I was terrified. The verses walk the listener through the scenes of the date from my perspective of being so enamored with her, but so nervous about myself.

“It’s watching the sunset behind these old streets/ but those colors may as well be grey when she’s standing next to me.”

The chorus goes on to reveal the short lived nature of this relationship. She was moving away, and truthfully, it did not end up being a good match for either of us.

“I know our days are numbered but still she wants to take it slow / and I see that she’ll never know what this time has meant for me”

It was less about her as a potential partner, and more about the validation of finally knowing confidently that I am bisexual. Experiencing attraction and connection with a woman, having that reciprocated, and that being equally as fulfilling as being with a man was liberating.

Part of the song speaks about the tension of not knowing who would make the first move. A common question when queer dating is, “Is this a friendship or is this a date?” We can’t be certain until we kiss… right?

Without sexual contact or explicit intentions, it can be hard to tell if the other woman feels the same way. When I first played this song for a friend going through a similar first queer experience, she could not believe how word-for-word it captured her same feelings during her dates.

“I watch her lips move so I know she’s saying things / but I can’t focus on her words when her hand brushes me”

The bridge goes on to take the listener into my mind, which was a bit detached from reality. Honestly, it was partially because we were pretty high. However, I do remember sitting with her and truly not hearing a word she was saying because I was so hyper-aware of where her hands were and how close together our legs were. The bridge takes the listener out of reality and into this space with me.

“Time moves slowly / eyes catch grounds me / time moves faster / legs touch ask her”

At this point, the song has increased in tempo and confidence. The last chorus brings all of these thoughts and feelings to a conclusion. This experience solidified my identity and brought me profound peace. As for this woman, we fell out of touch, for the better, but I am so grateful to her and this validating experience.

This song is not your average single, it’s not a pop radio hit, but I wrote it to be deeply relatable to queer women. I made a short film style music video because of the connection my friend had to the song when I first played it for her. I want someone else to see this on TikTok and feel like it has helped them validate their identity the same way that initial TikTok helped me.

Being in a long term relationship with a man now, I am aware of the privilege I have that other queer women do not. The privilege of being able to publicly display affection to my partner and remain safe, and the privilege of automatically being accepted by society as a couple. No one questions our love, no one questions our relationship, and it is a privilege I do not take lightly. Even in telling this autobiographical queer story, I am protected by the fact that I am in a heterosexual relationship.

This song is so deeply meaningful to me. It was the beginning of a long road to loving and accepting myself. I hope that other queer women relate to this story and I hope that this song takes on a new life larger than me and my experience.

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