Friday, November 30, 2012

Pseudo-slurs and Oxford shirts

1. Is there a linguistic term for words, like "niggling" and "niggardly," that aren't slurs and never were but make everyone uncomfortable anyway? I'm keeping a mental list of these pseudo-slurs, between "Negroni" (my favorite cocktail) and "jigger" (also cocktail-related) and today's "fucknig" typo (which Gmail's spellcheck, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to correct to "McKnight").


2. Whenever I wear an Oxford shirt and jeans, John, without fail, tells me I look nice (even without the airbrushed cleavage). If I put on a plaid flannel, forget about it; it's like he falls in love with me all over again. This seems to be a well-kept secret. Fess up, fellas: Do you too have a fetish for a button-up shirt? (Not a "button-down" shirt, NB; that's a type of collar.)

23 comments:

  1. GMail's spellcheck just wanted to get OUT OF THERE

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  2. my boyfriend LOVES me in a pearl snap. LOVES it. and that's basically all he wears (except he, weirdly although so weirdly anymore because we've been together so long i'm used to it, only wears black).

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  3. Yes. (By the way, what's an Oxford shirt? Just another name for any man's dress shirt?)

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    1. Pretty much. It refers to the fabric and style in particular, so not all shirts with buttons are Oxfords, but a regular dress shirt like you'd wear with a suit is an Oxford.

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  4. yup chicks look good in button-ups fo shz

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  5. Mmmm, flannel. I'm like Homer & donuts when it comes to flannel. Happy holidays,

    tpeterson

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  6. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, re: question one, I can't think of a term for those, except 'loaded words' maybe, and that is not very good. There are words out there even more insidious in their phonetic power, for example: telling someone to stop 'nagging' you will generally have greater impact than telling them to stop pestering, bothering, etc.; there are other examples much better than this, I'm certain. Best,

    tpeterson

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    1. Oh, I HATE the word "nagging"!

      I think I've said so "on these pages" before, but I also hate the word "bright," which is always used by men to describe women or adults to describe children.

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    2. I mean "bright" in the sense of "smart, but not as smart as me"

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    3. You remind me of something Donald Hall said about his Harvard days with Adrienne Rich, Frank O'Hara, et al.: he and his cohorts called one another "rather bright" or "not very bright."

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  7. This article has a strange use of the word 'niggling'. Like, RIGHT after a short discussion of racism... so idk, seems like someone should have said something or maybe someone thought it was a super clever pun.

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  8. I definitely think the button-up shirt thing is hot. But I think this look might be context-specific. If a woman spends the night and then on Saturday morning needs something to wear around the apartment, then it is really, you know, attractive to wear a button-up shirt (or for that matter an old sweater) stolen from the man's closet. Outside that sort of context it wouldn't be as hot I think. One could speculate about why this is the case, but basically it seems to push a lot of people's buttons.

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    1. Yes, in that context it is almost a cliche (and seems to be the implication of the above ad); I'd guess it triggers feelings of propriety and protectiveness (women look smaller and more vulnerable in big clothes, and when they're you're clothes you probably feel an additional sense of ownership). Interestingly, John likes when I wear my own button-up shirts, as regular clothes. Maybe it's still a reminder of this other cultural thing. Also, it doesn't really work for me to wear his shirts because there's such a marked size differential. He's almost a foot taller than me. It just looks ridiculous.

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    2. Whoops -- I meant proprietary feelings.

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  9. For some reason this hadn't ever really occurred to me, or articulated in my consciousness, but yes, there is something about a woman wearing a man's dress shirt. For me it has something to do with crossing over into each other's home ground, or something like that -- vocabulary is eluding me at the moment. (A similar thing with a man wearing a woman's blouse, maybe.)

    By a sort of analogy, I'm thinking of a specific moment once when I was having dinner with a woman friend, and at one point she carefully reached over with her knife and fork and cut herself a small piece of what I was eating so she could taste it. Didn't announce it, or ask first, no formalities, and didn't grab a huge piece, just cut enough for a small taste. Neither of us mentioned it or paid it any mind, we just kept talking about whatever we were talking about. And I thought it was the cutest thing I'd ever seen.

    ("Cute" wouldn't have been the first word I would have thought of to describe the friend in question -- she had much more presence than the small shy sweet quality the word suggests to me -- but her food-cutting gesture was, definitely, cute.)

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    1. I like that too! This weekend I was at a wine bar with a relatively new friend and she reached over and took a sip from one of my glasses (we were drinking flights) and then handed me her glass for a sip in return. In general I like when people are almost presumptuously familiar. Cuts through all the bullshit.

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  10. jeans and nice, gender-neutralish shirt, is a great look; it's amazing how some gals look so good when they keep it plain, and then fall off the aesthetic wagon in the process of trying to be more put together/elaborate. Too, tho, it may be a tough look for the not really confident, as there's no distraction, so "flaws" could pop out. On a sort of different note: hurray for the Herve Leger inflected bandage dress which seems to have become quasi-in--an excellent look, and especially for women who are under 5' 8. It's hard to imagine a bandage dress looking fly on Christy Turlington.

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    1. Hm, yes, they do seem made for shorter women don't they? Although Blake Lively is 5'10" and she looks good in everything.

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  11. Should have started with this--happy xmas!

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