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In Cocaine song, by Clapton, why does he refer to cocaine as "she" instead of "it"?

She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie, Cocaine

In the same sentence, why does he use "don't" instead of "doesn't"?

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I think most narcotics are identified with women. Coke can be called "girl", "white lady"... –  jinawee Aug 2 at 21:57
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@jinawee: I don't think Anglophones in general are much into the m/f distinction made in many other languages. But it is worth noting that we usually get our illicit drugs from "The man". –  FumbleFingers Aug 3 at 1:34
    
Nice comments! Very constructive! Thank you guys! –  Alexander Aug 3 at 2:46
    
Also (although possibly not the reason Clapton uses it that way) cocaine is a feminine name in most romance language (definitely in Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and possibly in others) –  nico Aug 3 at 9:12

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

She personifies the cocaine.

Don't as used here is an informal slang usage.

In any case, artistic license lets you write what you want. Also words have to fit the music timing, etc.

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Also, purely as conjecture, I would say Clapton personified cocaine as a female because he was likening it to a relationship, e.g. "If you wanna hang out, you've got to take her out". It's a common device, there are many uses of "she" that I don't personally know enough about to give reasons for, but for example: "She" as referring to a car, "Lady luck", referring to things that have control over you as your "mistress", etc. –  Jason C Aug 2 at 21:30
    
@iStimple I would if I had more concrete knowledge of the historical usage of the female gender for such things. I just know it happens, I don't know why. –  Jason C Aug 2 at 21:35

The use of she personifies the drug. Not only that, the word compares the addiction to a damaging love relationship. Cocaine is the temptress that lures you back with her love, and that love, like the drug, can hurt you when you break up.

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I think (she) cocaine here is influenced by (she) heroine. While "heroin" is a drug, "heroine" is a female form of "hero", as in "Marie Curie was the tragic heroine of science".

And "she don't" is just clumsiness dressed up as licentia poetica :)

These are just guesses. Why an artist said or sung this or that? Of course nobody exactly knows (including perhaps artist himself).

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