Robert DeNiro’s Waiting
Contrary to title, Bananarama’s “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting” is not about a young woman’s obsession for the actor. The young woman has been raped and dealing with the trauma of it.
The rape has been affected her outlook on her life. She’s disillusioned and ashamed of her body, herself and her actions. She’s a teenage girl who walked to the park with a guy who appeared to be clean-cut and nice. (“Hopes dashed to the floor/Like shattered teenage dreams/Boys living next door are never what they seem/A walk in the park can become a bad dream”). She fears it will happen again. Even a glance from a stranger will make her scared and nervous. She also thinks that they know and will look down on her for it. (“People are staring and following me”) She’s afraid to befriend people and she views the celebrities on her bedroom wall or on her screen as safe. (“This is my only escape from it all/Watching a film or a face on the wall”).
Actor Robert DeNiro’s movies distract her from her pain. (“Robert DeNiro’s waiting/
Talking Italian/Robert DeNiro’s waiting/Talking Italian”).
Since the rape, she has lost interest in dating. She prefers to watch Christopher Reeve instead. She warns a guy who is trying to get to know her to leave her alone. She’s numb and thinks he’s going rape like the last guy she trusted. (“I don’t want a boy, I’ve got a man of steel/Don’t come any closer/I don’t wanna feel/Your breathing, your touching, but nothing’s for free”). She’s protecting herself and didn’t think it would happen to her. However, she doesn’t want it to happen again. The guy wants to understand her but she tells him to back off. She’s not ready to let men into her life right now. She prefers the company of Robert DeNiro. (“I never want this to happen to me/Don’t try to change me you’re wasting your time/Now I’ve got something much better in mind”).
Bananarama is more than covers as they prove on this single. By not mentioning the word rape at all, it leaves the message to subtext. It also accurately conveys a young woman’s grief over a loss of self. The subtle “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting” is a forgotten 80s classic.