The "You" is a person who thinks like a person
"You're so vain. I bet you think this song is about you. You're so vain. You probably think this song is about you. Don't you?"
First off, let's get this out of the way: clearly, the song is about someone. Vain or not, this apricot scarf wearing horse gambler is indeed someone. Someone who has presumably heard this song. So right off the bat, it is about a person. Making me question Simon's complete line of attack. She's negating her own argument right out of the gate.
It'd be like giving everyone in your class a Valentine and then saying "I bet you think that heart shaped card is for you". Well yes, Carly, it is for someone. So assuming it is for me is not entirely out of the question.
So for every guy who Carly Simon knows, one of them is the "you". And he has probably heard it.
So the answer to her main question is:
"Yes! I think the song is about me? Why? Cause it is about me!"
I picture this guy screaming it at the radio every time it comes on (which is often).
The first line that makes us hate this guy is... questionable
"You gave away the things you love and one of them was me"
Now as much as it sucks to have been given away (got dumped), I think we're missing the first line of the lyric.
This guy is clearly selfless. He is removing the things he loves from his life. You know who else did that? St. Francis… could he be the guy? Probably not. But, the point remains. He literally gave away the things he loved and one (meaning there were multiple things) just happened to be Simon. Being dumped sucks. We just need to remember to keep it all in perspective and not start thinking wildly unlikely scenarios...
Which is what she does!
"You're with some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend"
Now, again, when you're dumped, your mind can get the better of you. You start to think crazy things. Unless this guy was literally sleeping with spies, I think this is a case of Simon being a bit dramatic.
Again, we get hung up on the last line - a guy sleeping with the wife of his bestfriend. 99.10% of the time, that is unacceptable and qualifies "you" as being a dick. But how do we know what he's doing? According to Simon, he's banging, not just spies, but "underworld" spies. Being that this was written decades before the movie "Underworld", I doubt this has anything to do with Vampires ("Underworld spy" could be a weird 70's euphemism that I am unaware of... and would like to remain blissfully ignorant). ; rather, I assume it has to do with deeeeeeeply undercover spies.
C'mon, Simon, think about it. Do you know who would probably not let it be known who they're sleeping with? Spies. Cause they're spies. They don't get caught cheating. Like they don't get caught overthrowing governments and planting chips in our brains, they're not getting caught with someone else's wife. This is doubly true since we are talking about spies on the 70's. So I do not believe that this "you" is actually sleeping with spies, much less his bestfriend's wives (that you can prove anyways).
Now that Simon's objectiveness has been questioned, this song comes undone and fast!
"your scarf is a apricot"
"hat strategically dipped below one eye"
I'm no stylist. Honestly one time I wore plaid shorts and an argyle shirt on purpose. However a colorful scarf and a cool hat do not make one evil. They make one wearing clothes for going to a party.
These are just personal attacks! Sure, the clothes doth make the man. But trying to look nice is generally a good thing. In fact, this song does more harm than good if we set the president that dressing nice = being a bad guy.
She keeps punching but doesn't land anything
"you had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte"
A google search told me that gavotte is a French waltz. I can waltz. I learned by watching myself in a mirror with a partner. This guy isn't in love with himself, he's just trying to get the dance down right. Try to not look at yourself when you're dancing and a mirror's available, he wanted to make sure his scarf isn't flailing around and his form is proper. That's just courteous.
And more to the point, who doesn't look at themselves when a mirror is present? That's what I thought!
Now comes the crux of my argument:
"you had me several years ago, when I was still quite naive"
She has a grudge! She's the most unreliable narrator since Leonard Shelby told us all about Sammy Jankins. She was dumped when she was young and in love. I understand, my 8th grade relationships still haunt me.
He gave her all the lines: "we made such a pretty pair" and that he "would never leave". And then, as we know, "threw her away".
He's not the worlds biggest snob, he's just a guy who dated a girl years ago and then they broke up. He seemingly moved on and now she's pissed.
That's the song. We've been vilifying a guy who never did anything other than end a relationship with someone a seemingly long time ago. We have all been dumped and imagined the other person to be literally the worst person ever. However, we all have not written songs this iconic. But if you do, don't make the person whom the song is about feel even worse for assuming the song is about them.
Then again, we should have known better than believing someone who has dreams that were only clouds in her coffee, clouds in her coffee.