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The Write Way

Friday 16 September 2011

The Difference between Men and Women ...

Greetings,

We've shared many intimate moments over the years, haven't we? So I feel we know each other well enough to get really personal this week ... We're going to delve into the mysterious differences between men and women.

Ready?

Then send the kiddies from the room, turn up the volume on the wireless and let's get on with it ...

Having lived with the Love of My Life for more years than you can poke a stick at, I feel eminently qualified to comment on this vexed question, and I can give you a perfect example of one of the major differences between those with dangly bits and those sans bits ... To see what it is, we have to venture into the Littlest Room in the House, so, I'm sorry to disturb you, but you'll have to get up again. Now sneak out without the children seeing you, and go into yours and tell me what you see ...

No, it's nothing to do with the seat being up.

That hasn't been an issue in our house for many years, because the LoML long ago learnt the wisdom of putting the seat down after use. In fact, the day is still seared in his memory, as it is in mine ... And perhaps we could pause for a brief moment to re-visit that fateful day ...

Our son was an early walker, being fully mobile at 9 1/2 months, so we were kept on our toes from the very beginning, and spent every waking hour moving through the house like a SWAT team, searching for our mini-mischief-maker to ensure he hadn't found some over-looked danger. On the day in question, the LoML had followed the sound of giggles and traced the m-m-m to the loo, where he was just in time to witness the cause of all the merriment as our son and heir happily removed notes, credit card, driver's licence and anything else he could extract from his father's wallet, dropped them into the toilet bowl and watched what happened to them as he poked them with the toilet brush.

Lesson learnt.

What we're interested in today is the position of the roll of toilet paper on the holder.

Look closely ...

Is the end of the paper against the wall or hanging over the roll? In other words is it an inny or an outy?

Yes, I realise there are more important things to be concerned about, and I know I'm lucky that I share my life and home with a man who actually knows that there is no Toilet Roll Fairy who visits homes in the middle of the night, in a cloud of white tulle, to replace the empty cardboard rolls with fat, fluffy paper rolls.

But ...

It just seems, to my female brain, that it's more logical to have the paper hanging loose over the edge of the roll. You don't scrape your knuckles against the wall, you don't run the risk of breaking fingernails as you scrabble for the end of the paper that is hell-bent on merging with the wall, and you don't leave marks on the wall as you perform all the aforementioned acts of desperation.

You just reach across, place your hand gently under the end of the roll and the paper obligingly wraps around your fingers so your nifty opposable thumb can then close on it. Simple and elegant, yes?

Try telling that to a man, or at least to my man, who even after all these years, is still an inny when it comes to replacing the toilet roll. However, as in so many things, I've discovered that discretion is most definitely the better part of valour, so I just automatically turn the roll around to an outy whenever I notice it.

Which leaves us, feeling terribly virtuous, to proclaim, Vive le différence!

Hmm ... better make that Vive la différence!

French nouns, as we all know, have masculine and feminine gender, and différence happens to be feminine, not masculine, so it needs the feminine article la, not the masculine le..

Crazy?

I know it is, but somewhere, back in the distant past, some inspired lunatic decided that the names of inanimate objects and abstract concepts would be classified as masculine or feminine.

Why?

Because.

And that's the most sensible reason you'll find to explain it.

There's just something about the French language that brings out the nong in many of our fellows, as we've seen with our repeated references to Viola! instead of Voilà! So the moral of today's lesson is this, girls and boys, if you're going to sprinkle any French expressions in your writing, make sure you take the time to check for the basics.

This week's Little Something Extra has some online references that will help you avoid common pitfalls.

And since we've been looking at differences, the following table explains some of them:

In the business world . . .
a successful man is aggressive a successful woman is pushy
he's good on details she's picky
he loses his temper because he's so involved with his job she's bitchy
he follows through she doesn't know when to quit
he stands firm she's hard
he isn't afraid to say what he thinks she's mouthy
he exercises authority diligently she's power-crazy
he's close-mouthed she's secretive
he climbed the ladder of success she slept her way to the top
he's a stern taskmaster she's hard to work for

The power of language!

Remember our old friend, Tom Swifty?

"I like variety in my intimate relations," said Tom indifferently.

 

And thanks to Immi who was the first to notice my blunder last week, pointing out that there are (of course) 1000 cc (or ml) in a litre, so "... a volume of between 1100 and 1200 cc" is just over a litre and not "about half a litre" as I wrote.  

This week's quiz:

Here are some foreign words and phrases we don't have in English (but could often really use) so we've pinched ... er ... borrowed them from other languages:

esprit d'escalier, nunchi, mamihlapinatapai, karoshi, backpfeifengesich, desenrascanço, honne and tatemae, tingo, iktsuarpok

1. to take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them

2. a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to do

4. an ability to solve a problem without having the knowledge or the adequate tools to do so, by use of imaginative resources or by applying knowledge to new situations; achieved when resulting in a hypothetical good-enough solution

5. "staircase wit" or the act of thinking of a response, argument or clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it when you're already on the stairs

6. death form overwork

7. what we mean and what we say; reality as you understand it and reality as filtered through what society expects

8. compound word for a 'face that should be slapped;' a face badly in need of a fist

9. person who goes outside often to see if anyone is coming; that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet

10. the subtle art and ability to listen and gauge others' moods; the concept of emotional intelligence; relies on an understanding of one's status relative to the person with whom they're interacting

And then there was the pretentious prat at the art show, commenting about an abstract painting, "It has a certain je ne sais quoi ..."

To which his little mate responded, "Oh, I dunno ..."

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Never-Ending Story

An Ape that wants to play Hamlet after being type-cast as King Kong, a talking anvil and that rottweiller ... Dr Morgenes is still caught in the nightmare that is the casting couch. Help him find a plot!  Just click on the Comments button at the end of the entry to add your contribution. If you have friends who fancy themselves as writers, invite them to contribute (just forward this newsletter in its entirety to them).

Last week's quiz:

This week, match up these sci-fi words:

android, sentient, nanotech, cyborg, ornithopter, force-field, teleport, hyperspace, regeneration tank, tractor beam

1. device that assists a damaged human body in healing and regrowing missing parts - REGENERATION TANK

2. region to which a star-ship can somehow exit normal space to a domain in which the light-speed limit does not apply, or the geometry of the realm permits quick transit between points widely separated in normal space - HYPERSPACE

3. technological melding of human and machine, with the machine parts intended to enhance normal human abilities and environmental tolerances - CYBORG

4. term for an extraterrestrial or alien possessing human-level intelligence - SENTIENT

5. application of force-field technology that can pull on material objects at a distance ranging from feet to miles - TRACTOR BEAM

6. automaton resembling a human being; biological robot, esp. a cloned or synthetic human - ANDROID

7. flying machine that uses flapping wings - ORNITHOPTER

8. technology of manipulating matter exactly, and efficiently, atom by atom, as opposed to via bulk methods such as heat, pressure, mixing etc; tools are themselves of molecular scale, thereby combining the autonomy and flexibility of living cells with the reliability and designability of machines - NANOTECH

9. to move object from point to point without traversing the space in between - TELEPORT

10. hypothetical technology which can interact with any material object in the ways that magnetic fields interact with magnetised ones; may be deployed as a shield around a spaceship or other object -FORCE-FIELD

Let's hear from Tom one more time before we go our separate ways ...

"Don't let me drown in Egypt!" pleaded Tom, deep in denial.

"I used to command a battalion of German ants," said Tom exuberantly.

"Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess," Tom began grimly.

 

A Little Something Extra

Read about French gender here

Lots of French expressions commonly used in English here

Online dictionaries (French, English, German, Italian and more) here

And lists and more lists of the most commonly used words in many languages here 

Oxymoron of the weekTwo this week, so I can't be accused of playing favourites: male sensitivity and female logic

Word of the week: Schadenfreude (n) satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

This is one of those foreign words (from Germany this time) that we've found a great use for and have taken it on as one of our own. It comes from two German words: Schaden meaning 'harm' and Freude 'joy.'

And this week's Latin phrase is the perfect retort:

Non sum iniquis

[NOHN SOOM ee-NEE-kwees]

(I am not being unreasonable)

Did you know that you can have your very own Latin reminders? How about undies proclaiming, Bene est rex esse? (It's good to be king) Or a shopping bag that warns, Emptrix nata sum (Born to shop)? Click here for these and more: http://www.cafepress.com/write101 

Kind regards,

Jennifer

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