He loves it when I call him “beautiful”…
It is true that, through the past couple of millennia, women have received the historical “short end of the stick”- that is to say, power is often unequally shared between the two genders. So is it only fair, then, that we should continue to enable the unequal sharing of adjectives?
Here is what I mean-
I’m in an awesome relationship with an awesome guy. There are feelings and proclamations and sentiments and feelings again. Sure, all of these take place within the confines of the Catholic high school education system, a fishbowl-municipality, and our narrow scope of experience. And, yes, high school relationships, operating within the quintessential height of teenage bullshittery, do involve a lot of mindless words, which like the limbs of an infant are used blindly… but out of necessity. How else are we supposed to figure out a way to express things when it matters? (That is, when we become “experienced adults” and society finally decides to validate our feelings and convictions.)
And while the “sweet nothings” uttered by teenagers do little to make up the meaning of metaphysics, or even, arguably, to impress themselves on our memories in such a way that they outlast our 3-week relationships, they do have a way of making themselves “the essence of importance” in the eyes of a 16 year-old boy. Which is most unfortunate for him, considering that he can call his girlfriend “beautiful, pretty, glamorous, elegant, gorgeous, stunning, and lovely”, when “….Handsome?” is her sole, antiquated means of reciprocation.
You could argue that “hot” or “sexy” would work as a suitable replacement in these situations, but the passion and poeticism in such empty phrases is simply unequal to that of the adjectives above. And for me, someone who intends to abstain from sex until marriage, calling a guy “sexy” in the heat of the moment is a little counter-intuitive. Not to mention, calling him “cute” or “adorable” could be perceived as an attack on his “manliness”, an area many guys are sensitive about.
It’s interesting, because many other languages have both masculine and feminine endings for adjectives, which would seem to allow these words greater freedom to describe either gender. Am I right, second-language speakers? Is there a greater abundance of words by which to call a man “attractive” in Spanish? French? Italian? Punjabi? If so, I see why gender-neutral dialects aren’t considered “romance languages”…
Maybe this reflects the rigidity that exists within our perceptions of each gender’s characteristics, one which has persisted, with the staunch of a metre stick, through all of the “feminism” and “equality” movements our Western society has endured.
Or, maybe, such longstanding word delegation is the root cause of some of our lingering social problems, problems that are further exacerbated by the introduction of new social norms regarding sexual orientation and gender identification?
I suppose this is a classic “chicken or egg” situation. And all this deliberation does nothing to solve my “lover’s block.”
So what is to be done? Should I simply call it quits, being as I am at an age of insecurity, where words are the relational be-all, end-all? Should I say, “English-speaking teens: don’t date!” After all, I’ve talked to quite a few senior citizens who, forgetting what it’s like to be this age, would hastily agree with the sentiment.
All I’m saying is that, speaking on behalf of all of the infatuated Anglophone women out there, we simply don’t have enough words to express the sheer awesomeness of our partners. And that, mon cher, is a damn shame.