I know lyrics meaning is not a kind of a thing English SE is supposed to specialize in, but before looking for possible figurative meanings of the song excerpt that I put below I just want to reassure the phrase in bold is not a rare idiom or something.

There is a song by Pink Floyd - Arnold Layne. It has the following lines:

Oh, Arnold Layne
It's not the same, takes two to know
Two to know, two to know
Why can't you see?

What does (it) takes two to know mean? Is it an idiom?


3 Answers 3


Yes it is an idiomatic expression:

It takes two :

If you say it takes two (or it takes two to tango), you mean that a situation or argument involves two people and they are both therefore responsible for it.

  • Divorce is never the fault of one partner; it takes two.

(Collins Dictionary)


Arnold Layne is a song about a Transvestite. Collecting women's clothes from the wash line suits him fine as he tried them on, distorted view in the mirror thinking he's a girl, yet see-through baby blue is a boy. It's not the same, a boy can't be a girl: it takes two to know that there is a difference between a boy and a girl, why can't you see? (The song was banned on some English radio stations at its debut.)


I've always thought that it was a bit more existential than that, i.e. that something is not real unless it's experienced by more than just you?

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