Who be the English major around here? I be! I be dat!
I’m a proud lil’ nerd, my babies and kittens! With my personal library as the only prized possession, I have traveled the world in pursuit of my smarts.
Oh, yes! I am one of “those” — known to conduct 3-hour debates on comma positioning, who, in her younger days, once wanted to write a bloody dissertation on why em-dashes were better — or more elegant — punctuation marks than parentheses. And don’t even get me started on e.e. cummings’ syntax and Pinter’s ellipses! (Okay, do get me started — but the next time you see me though. Until then…)
For a proud nerd like V, it has been a source of endless frustration to watch the English language get chronically raped by the laziness of the general public and its beauty quite quickly diminished by the seemingly consensual desire to create shortcuts in our communication. Well, okay! On the one hand, technology has expanded our minds, shrunk the size of our world, and sped up the pace of our lives and professions. But on the other hand, not only has it lowered our ability to communicate well — it has lowered our ability to communicate at all. Our friendships, business relationships and love affairs are now dependent on a number of little hand devices that serve as extensions of our egos. Facebook wall posts have replaced birthday postcards. Instant messaging has eliminated the treasured experience of hearing a beloved voice on the other end of the phone line. As for poetry: It is quite quickly becoming extinct altogether.
Just last night, for instance, at a Hollywood coffee shop filled with hippies and yuppies alike, I watched an angry lil’ man build his case for a lawsuit — via an iPhone and his highly anti-social behavior committed for the sake of… well, a social interaction. (Say whaaat?! I KNOW.) He first caught my attention with the speed of the click-clacking of his iPhone’s texting app which reminded me of the sound of beetles (the bugs, not the Brits). Or of baby witches. (Don’t ask: It’s a Russian thing.)
When joined by his partner — a young corporate shark that despite appearing well-educated refused to adjust her volume — they began composing those texts together. From what I overheard (I had no choice, really: the two were so loud, they jolted the head of every focused Mac owner in the joint), some “asshole” had done them wrong and now, via the click-clacking, they were building a case against him.
“Tell him this, tell him this!” the excited young lady was hovering over her chair and pointing at the hand device as if the “asshole” was trapped inside it. I shot her my askance glance but zero reaction followed. She continued foaming at her mouth: “Tell him: We’ve got EVIDENCE!”
More click-clacking happened, at double speed.
I wondered: When the skeletons of our era are excavated and studied by the next century’s archeologists, will they find our thumbs overdeveloped? My second thought was that someone ought to add a Texting Man to that famous drawing of the Evolution of Man. After all, look at how far we — and our disposable thumbs — have come! (Now what did I tell you, babies and kittens: I’m a total nerd!)
“He just fucked himself over!” the young lady was now so excited, she appeared to be dry-humping the edge of her coffee table. “These texts — can be used as evidence IN COURT!”
Alas: The Evolution of Man.
Now, as a nerd who revels in language, I’ve never been a fan texting; and only recently have I experienced the titillation of sexting (which involved shagging a much younger player than I would normally go for). As for the abbreviated lingo invented by the generation of texting — and sexting — children, before I had a chance to say, “WTF?”: It seemed to have been adopted by the rest of the world as a new universal language. Shiva knows, it took me three years to start using shorthand in my own texts. Yet, still, I refuse to “LOL”! And “OMG”, do I cringe when getting one of those from a man!
In my experience, in this day and age, a male courtier is pretty much off the hook when it comes to composing odes for his woman. I myself have lowered my expectations quite a bit; and although a well-composed sentence still gives me chills, I am perfectly content with getting my fill of philology from the prized — and above mentioned — personal library. So, when a man demonstrates a lack of desire to whip out a coupla stanzas in my honor, I go to the men I can rely on: Messieurs Baudelaire and de Saint-Exupery; Sir Keats and Lord Byron; or, if in a mood for some rougher lovin’ — Mister Bukowski or Comrade Mayakovsky.
However, a player who in his texts spews out abbreviations like a middle school student with bad acne and braces (and most likely, horrendous grades), I’m afraid — and here I speak on behalf of my vagina — I immediately lose all interest. Yep: The juices stop flowing. The factory shuts down until further notice. The ovaries start picketing.
Now, I myself have yet a lot to learn about the etiquette of texts (their duration and length or the power play of who should be the one to start or end a conversation); but I have made up my mind on the topics of my courtiers’ grammar and syntax. It goes like this:
Grow up — and use a spellcheck!
Because there are no shortcuts to a woman’s vagina, dear sire! (Or at least, to any self-respecting woman I know.) So, please, my dah-ling, please: Put a lil’ bit of effort when hunting for it. Do utilize your disposal thumbs and spell out your words. That way, there will be no confusion as to how you feel about me — or my vagina.
But if patience or grammar is not your strong suit — call me. When you do, of course, you’ll have to meet a whole other set of standards; but at least you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of not living up to the linguistic standards of the dead men who knew a thing or two about vaginas, hunting and poetry; and how to utilize their thumbs in pursuit of either.