Harry’s “Can I Stay” tattoo appear to be lyrics from a Ray Lamontagne song called “Can I Stay.” It’s safe to assume this is what the tattoo was inspired by because Harry seems to be a huge fan of Ray Lamontagne and tweeted his lyrics often.
Harry got the lyric tattooed because it must’ve stood out to him in some way. I believe he related to it on a deep level, because we know Harry was in an affair with someone, which he openly sang about quite often: “Happily,” “JALBOYH,” “Woman,” and “Meet Me In The Hallway.”
In affairs, typically you’re not able to spend the night together because you need to separate and go back to your normal lives, (a lot of times with other partners.) Harry seems to have a deep DEEP separation anxiety with his lover. (“you left me in the hallway…give me some morphine…just take my pain away…gotta get better…gotta get better…”) He does not like being apart from them, and when he is away from them, his world stops. All else becomes meaningless and irrelevant like he states in “If I Could Fly.” He also considers himself lonely (despite millions of fans and tons of friends and family) when he is not with this person, as expressed in “To Be So Lonely.”
So it is my guess that the concept of waking up with his lover was something extremely important to Harry, and something he may have demanded in some ways. Hence the “Can I Stay” tattoo, but it also explains also why Harry is so hurt when he doesn’t wake up with his lover that he writes about it. “Woke up alone in this hotel room…where were you?” and “I’m in my bed and you’re not here…”
This would also explain why in “Pillowtalk” Zayn made a big deal of stating, “I love to wake up next to you…” and why in “Let Me” Zayn assures his lover “This time you’ll stay to the morning.” And what is the very first lyric of “Can I Stay,” the song Harry has tattooed? “Can I stay here with you till the morning?”
It would also explain Zayn making an entire song with the same themes in “Tonight” and also “Dusk Till Dawn.” Zayn knows how sacred the bedroom is for them, as he expressed in “Pillowtalk,” but he also emphasized in “Dusk Till Dawn” the importance of the time period between dusk and dawn for them. They are in love on the run. They are in an affair. They cannot have a life together, they only have stolen moments. So from dusk till dawn is their safe place, which they spend in their sanctuary (the bedroom.) And in “Dusk Till Dawn” we see Zayn makes a promise to carve out that time for his lover whenever he can, and repeatedly assures them that they’ll “never be alone” which is a restated fear in Harry’s songs. He is very afraid to be alone:
“I don’t want to be alone, when it ends don’t want to let you know, I don’t want to be alone.”
“It’s hard for me to go home and be so lonely.”
“Woke up alone in this hotel room…were were you?”
“Can I Stay” by Ray Lamontagne
“Can I stay here with you till the morning
I am so far from home and I feel a little stoned
Can I stay here with you till the morning?
There’s nothing I want more than to wake up on your floor
Can I stay here with you, till the day breaks?
There’s something you should know
I ain’t got no place to go
Can I stay here with you, till the day breaks
How happy it would make me to see your face when I wake
Can I stay here with you through the nighttime?
I’ve fallen sad inside and I need a place to hide
Can I stay, here with you, through the nighttime?
I’m all alone and blue, won’t you take me to your room
Lay with me in your thinnest dress
Fill my heart with each caress
Between your blissful kisses, whisper
Darling is this love?
Whisper to me, is this love?”