George Bernard Shaw once said that Americans and the British are two people divided by a common language. The same, I think, can be said of men and women. So, as a public service this Valentine’s week, let me present my Female-to-Male (and reverse) Translation Guide.
“Let’s do something romantic.”
Male: Bring me a beer and a hamburger and we can talk during halftime.
Female: Take me out to dinner at an expensive restaurant and give me a dazzling bauble just before the chocolate dessert.
“Time to lose a few pounds.”
Female: Strict diet for months, accompanied by exercise program and daily agonizing weigh-ins. Lose a half-pound every two weeks.
Male: Have light beer with the babyback ribs. Lose five pounds a week.
“I’m in the mood for a really good movie.”
Female: Attractive people dying slowly, or folks who hate each other at first sight, then fall madly in love.
Male: Things getting blown up as the hero rescues a sweet young thing in a skin-tight, low-cut ribbed shirt.
“We have to cut back on non-essential costs here.”
Male: Eliminate her makeup, hairdresser, nail salon trips.
Female: Eliminate beer, cigars, the NFL package on cable TV.
“Let’s redecorate the house.”
Female: Hire a decorator or assemble a committee of female friends to make plans.
Male: Put up an electrified neon beer sign.
“I hear a noise!”
Female: “Go risk your life!”
Male: “Zzzzzzzzzzz ….”
But there are more language disconnects then just between male and female. And some of it is body language.
We’ve all seen the football coach with the huge gut and the wobbly second and third chin complain that his players are lazy and out-of-shape.
We’ve all known the girl in the slinky outfit and breath-takingly short skirt complain that men treat her like a sex object.
I think the most profound language confusion takes place between people and their pets, though. They infer a meaning to sounds that you really didn’t intend.
At our house, any motion toward the pantry or the fridge brings pets down the stairs by regiments and divisions. No matter how quietly you try to slip a napkin or a light bulb or an ice cube free you’re suddenly confronted by barking and meowing.
It’s especially galling since they otherwise often are deaf to the world. We’ve walked into the house in the middle of the night and found our slumbering watchpets snoring like a wood-chipper.
But take one silent step toward the breadbasket, and you might as well have set off The Klaxons of Hell.
Of course, lots of people are conditionally deaf. Teenagers are often this way. Ask for help in mowing the lawn, bringing in groceries, clearing the table or walking the dog and you are merely a voice crying in the wilderness.
But talk about something thata concerns their prerogatives – curfew time, opinions about their prom date, speculations on raising an allowance – they develop bat-hearing. Also, I know some senior citizens with the same technique.
It’s a good technique to practice and master, because they’ll probably be using it again 40 or 50 years after.
Don’t like this column? Consider it repetitive? Sorry …. Gee …. can’t hear a thing!