A man named Stephen was plotting his revenge. Every day he would come home and tell his girlfriend, whom he lived with, about the outside world.
“Those assholes,” he’d proclaim, “are really gonna get it. I’m gonna put mothballs in their gas tanks, kidnap their children, steal their jewels, rob their banks! I’ve always wanted to rob a bank,” he added.
His girlfriend nodded. She was addicted to speed and never left the house. She spent a lot of time putting beads on strings, and only went out for hairspray, or cigarettes.
A number of psycholinguistic studies have found significant differences in the ways that men and women employ language. Men, it seems, are more likely to express themselves in the past tense, as well as to make themselves the subject of a sentence, than are women.
Stephen was a drug dealer by profession. He sold marijuana, cocaine, meth and heroin in little plastic bags.
“The only place I get any respect,” said Stephen, “is the plastic bag store in Chinatown. The people at the plastic bag store call me ‘sir.’”
His girlfriend thought this was funny. She snorted. Bending down to light a cigarette off the gas stove, her bangs caught on fire momentarily.
The researchers conjecture that perhaps these differences stem from men’s more stable relationship to things like “time” and “meaning.”
Stephen’s girlfriend stuck her head under the sink to make sure the fire was out.
“Our landlord,” chuckled Stephen, “oh boy will I ever get him. I intend to rig up a trap so that water will fall on his head…or better! Water balloons, I’ll fill them with Canola oil! That old shithead won’t be able to clean up the mess I make for months! When we move out of here I’ll keep the key to our apartment and I’ll come back to put voodoo curses on it!! I’ll sneak into that little asshole’s house at night and cut off pieces of his hair! I’ll rape his grandmother!”
Stephen fed his girlfriend revenge fantasies day and night:
“John XY drug dealer anonymous personality owes me two thousand dollars, that bastard. I’ll kill him!…I’d like to plant rats in his mailbox, throw his possessions into a rotating industrial fan so they all break…Hey listen, if you can think of a way to get the two grand back, I’ll give you half,” he said to his girlfriend.
His girlfriend looked up from her plastic beads.
“Okay,” she said.
Stephen knew he could rely on his girlfriend. She was addicted to his drugs, so she needed him. Besides, she loved him. He knew what this meant.
“I can’t believe this fucking world,” he said to her as they sat at the restaurant down the street. “Just you wait and see what I’m gonna do. You can’t let people walk all over you in this world. You have to look out for yourself. I’m my own boss. I’m gonna kick John XY’s ass, you wait and see. Now we’re going to drink fancy cocktails, because I know how to live life. Hafta watch out for yourself.”
He ordered three fancy cocktails.
“You see?” he said to his girlfriend, “that waiter didn’t think I had enough money to order more than one drink. That was just because of the way I dress. Now he has respect for me! Plus,” he added, “he thinks you’re my wife.”
Stephen and his girlfriend got drunk together.
Because men possess a more stable relationship to meaning, they can therefore rely on traditional structures, in a way that women cannot. One of the researchers suggests that these differences in language-use between the sexes can lead to great misunderstandings, such as “love” and “politics.”
So I said to Stephen, “How’s your day going? You stupid little shit.”
Then I hit him over the head with a frying pan, stole his drugs, and split to China. From China, I sent Stephen a telegram. It said: “I’ve always wanted to rob a bank.”
I received no answer. Men are funny like that.
Footnote: Studies taken from Speaking Is Never Neutral, by Luce Irigaray.
Posted September 30th, 2011