Don’t Use Such Language on Me!

I was providing sane human companionship to an SMF when she mentioned that the thing that was giving her real anxiety at this juncture so close to her wedding was failing her history midterm. This is not terribly surprising; she got seriously exciting when I asked if she’d like framed 8x10s of epithelial tissue for her living room. She complains that people ask her random questions about physics because they like to see her eyes light up as she outlines the explanation. During dead time on the train, she enjoys flipping through photos of her slides from bio lab, which she stores on her digital camera. (I know! Where do I find these people?) I must have commented on how conscientious she is, because she retorted, “Let’s call a spade a spade – I’m crazy.”

“Not crazy – just an ambitious overachiever,” I tried to frame it in more euphemistic terms. Apparently I failed. “Not ambitious,” she corrected. “You should never use that on a girl – it’s the kind of word that only sounds good on men.”

Oops. And to think I’ve unblushingly confessed to having the same disease that killed Caesar. No wonder I’m not married. Sometimes my own naïveté astounds me.

She then reeled off a string of other terms that Must Not Be Applied to Women – “serious” is good for a guy, but not a girl. A serious guy is obviously the strong and silent type, while a serious girl must be mildly depressed. “Career-driven” is like ambitious. Only men are allowed careers (when they’re allowed a job at all); women are supposed to put family first; “career” doesn’t jive with that 1950s housewife charade. No career. Career is bad.

Talkative is bad, she says, because everyone assumes girls are chatty to begin with, so if you specify talkative, it means they’re a chatterbox and don’t shut up. Whereas men are not known, as a breed, for verbal skills, so talkative means he can carry on a conversation.

She had many, many more, but thinking about all the terms that Must Not Be Applied to me made my head hurt, so I went to spend some serious (though quiet) time reviewing my supply and demand charts because my ambition is to succeed and maybe even have a career down the line.

If I’m going to be undesirable, I might as well overachieve at it.

16 thoughts on “Don’t Use Such Language on Me!

  1. One word few people like to hear, regardless of gender, is “unique.” It’s euphimistic for weird. Espeically in brooklyn. Never wanna hear that!! Yet, that, of course, is how people describe me.

  2. My wife is a serious, career driven woman and I think that is good.

    Overachieving at being undesirable as a successful, ambitious, talkative working woman might accidentally make you desirable to someone else, so be careful.

  3. Michelle, I have been described as unique as well! I like it and if people think I’m weird so be it. I’d rather be different, it makes me special (in a good way!).

  4. If I’m going to be undesirable, I might as well overachieve at it.

    ::pressing fingers to temples in AGONY!!!::

  5. LOL when i was dating my husband, on the second date, he sat back, checked off on his fingers all these “undesireable” traits i had, he was like, “you’re in college? check. you’re serious? check. you’re really smart? check. you can be intimidating? check. you have an impressive vocabulary? check…. etc” and then he was like, “but for some reason i still want to marry you!’
    so he did.

  6. I haven’t taken the time to do the math, but there seems to be a greater percentage of women on than who don’t have college degrees… at least among those profiles that I’ve browsed through.

  7. As Mark Twain said in his story “A Fable,” “when it took a whole basketful of sesquipedalian adjectives to whoop up a thing of beauty, it was time for suspicion.” Stick with words of only one syllable and you should keep out of trouble describing people for shidduchim.

  8. ::pressing fingers to temples in AGONY!!!::

    [concern/] Oh dear. Please G – make fun. I don’t want you to land in the hospital for fear of hurting my feelings.

  9. Howbout the converse- there are words that are overused, i.e. ‘special’, or ‘talented’.
    And, who wouldn’t want framed 8×10’s of epithelial tissue- it’s kinda cool!

  10. i was in touro and took a&p by merdian. i dated my husband with all my pictures of my cat dissections. yeah, he thought i was crazy as i studied my mutilated cat in photos, but hey, he married me.

  11. well, i’d rather be talkative and intimidating than nice. nice = has no personality whatsoever, or they don’t know the person enough to describe them.

  12. Pingback: Friday Repost: If I’m Going to Be Undesirable | Bad for Shidduchim

  13. Pingback: Repost: How Not to Describe Yourself | Bad for Shidduchim

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