Thursday, March 14, 2013

Words I cannot say

I just realized that the title of this post sounds as though I'm about to discuss something heavy and possibly dramatic, something so powerful mere words are too weak to adequately describe it.

But, no. I'm just talking about words that I cannot say out loud without wanting to harm myself in punishment. Words that are just squicky.

Some time ago, I remember reading some things online about people being glucked out by the word "moist." I guess, for those individuals, it conjures images of fungus and open wounds in secret orifices and not, say, cake mix. And when they hear it, it causes very unpleasant shuddery feelings and a desire to take a decontamination shower. I get that. I don't have that reaction to the word "moist," but I do to the word "pleasure."

Yes. Pleasure. Honestly, right now? Just having typed the word twice? I had to change my clothes and then picture a flowery meadow until the demons went away. I think my hatred of this word comes from my childhood when I went to an ultra-evangelical elementary school. At this school, they were forever telling us what was going to send us to hell, which included dancing, playing cards (not that this was ever clarified into "poker for stakes" or anything like that - just "playing cards"), listening to rock music, reading books other than the Bible, anything involving science, and saying "gosh" or "gee" because these were just substitutes for "God" and "Jesus." And one thing that people like this are highly suspicious and, dare I say, afraid of is...pleasure. Of any kind really, but when they say it—and even if they are saying it in reference to, say, cake mix—they say it in such a way that you know what they really mean is sexual pleasure. These people truly hated their own tingly parts. And ours. But the thing was, we were in elementary school and they weren't going to be even remotely explicit about it, because as everyone knows, if you mention a weenie to a pre-pubescent girl she suddenly sprouts boobs and pubes and starts pole dancing at truck stops. Boys and men were clearly unable to control themselves around even the merest suggestion of girl flesh, so girls couldn't wear shorts. Ever. Not even for gym when we had to run around outside in the sweltering Tennessee heat. So we learned that sex was very, very bad without ever learning the first thing about actual sex. But we heard a lot about pleasure. All those things I mentioned that would send us to hell? Those were, we were told, pleasures...of the flesh.

Imagine the word "pleasure" actually meant something like, "an itchy, painful, pus-filled sore that is highly contagious and appears primarily on the eyeballs" and then imagine the sneering, disgusted way someone would say it while thinking of how gross and vile it is while also secretly being fascinated by it. Now add a southern accent and a contemptuous, pedantic attitude.  THAT'S what I hear in my head every time someone says the word "pleasure." This has occasionally made knocking boots with the opposite sex a trial because some dude would have the notion to use that word in reference to what we were doing and I would have to stick my fingers in my ears and sing the Star Spangled Banner at the top of my lungs until he promised never to say it again. Which is kind of a boner-killer.

So, yeah. Please don't ever say it was a pleasure to meet me or that it's a pleasure to work with me. I'd hate to have to hurt you.

And while you're at it, don't call me a "gal." Don't say "gal." Don't write "gal." Okay, you can say it or write it if in some way you are existing in the 1950s, but please don't say it and mean it. I don't know why this rubs me the wrong way, but I hate reading something that is otherwise perfectly innocuous and then discovering that the writer likes to call women "gals." "Gal" just sounds to me like what the ad execs on Mad Men call their secretaries while patting their butts after a quick and mandatory shag on the desk. And if I say it out loud it just sounds wrong, like I tried to say "girl" but got smacked in the back of the head while it was coming out. We used to watch this show on Nick with our daughters called The Upside Down Show, and it was from Australia, and anytime they had little kids on it, the adult performers would ask them silly questions and the answers were always an emphatic, "No!" But for some reason, the little Aussie accents made the "no" sound like "NAR!" to my ears. So, maybe my dislike of this word is just a combination of too much Don Draper and a need for an ear canal irrigation.

This is acceptable. (Also, I want this.)

Oh, and I get hives whenever anyone refers to her husband as her "hubby." AND EVERYONE ON EARTH DOES THIS. (You do it too; I know you do, I've seen your Facebook posts, and I love you anyway. You know I love you, baby.) I'm sure people who speak other languages have appropriated it and and are peppering their speech and writing with it just to make me suffer. "Hubby" sounds like a nickname you'd give a plump baby, not a term of endearment for the man you make the plump babies with. I cannot actually say this word, and if it happens that I have to read something out loud that contains it (and this occurs more often than you think), I replace it with "eunuch."

Of course, what all of this essentially means for me is that I have to avoid Cosmopolitan magazine at all costs, because it's highly likely that they have and will use ALL THREE words in the same sentence, quite possibly on the cover.  So, if I ever mysteriously keel over in a grocery store checkout line, you'll know it was because I read: "Gals! Learn 56 New Ways to Pleasure Your Hubby With String Cheese and a Moist Towelette."

Note to readers on iPhones and iPads and other portable devices: my comment system doesn't seem to work on tablets and smartphones, so if you leave a comment, I will see it, but it won't necessarily appear here unless I do a copy-and-paste thing for you.)

1 comment:

giddy99 said...

Well, I'm off string cheese now; thank you very much. ;)