This is a word that the British are familiar with.
There are certain factions of well-known British comedy which are only funny precisely because of their irreverence.
Think Benny Hill or the 'Carry On' films.
Some might be bordering on the offensive, some might be erotic, some might even be racist or sexist.
British comedy is known primarily for its naughtiness. Combined with feigned innocence, usually over the top.
These guys are kings of the double entendre.
The kind of stuff that would make your hair curl, as we say.
The kind of stuff that is forbidden, at least in polite company.
Stuff that would make your grandma put both hands to her cheeks, but smile at nonetheless.
is exactly what I mean. And it is the cleanest one I could find. Barabara Windsor, Kenneth Williams, Sid James. The British Royalty of Toilet Humour.
On a related note, has anyone read the crime thrillers of British writer James Hadley Chase?
Interestingly, most of his books are written in 'American' style, and most are in fact set in the US.
JHC is a great writer. I absolutely LOVE his writing style.
It strikes me however, that perhaps the reason I love his style has something to do with the fact that he loves to 'shock'.
Which makes most of his plots so amusing.
But some just end up freaking you out on many levels. If you have ever read 'No orchids for Miss Blandish' you will know exactly what I am talking about...
Children are naturally irreverent. You know, the whole bodily accoustics thing seems to tickle their fancy. Until society trains them otherwise. And even so, girls seem to outgrow this sort of thing much faster than boys :-)
Adults who are irreverent are in three categories only:
1. They had a frontal lobe removed or damaged in some freak accident or procedure. Has anyone met a person who had a frontal lobotomy? The disinhibition is staggering to behold.
2. They are British comedians as above.
3. They are men.
I am not kidding.
I am not one for generalising usually, but I shall have to make an exception here :-)
All men do this. Even the so-called 'nice boys'.
Every boy and man I know has done this. And every boy or man I don't know has done this.
It starts in childhood and it never quite ceases.
A couple I know has two little boys aged 5 and 3. I went to theirs for dinner once. It was early evening on a summer's day. It was bath time for the boys shortly after my arrival. Big mistake.
After their bath, both boys proceeded to run around the entire house naked determined to show Auntie Spacetraveller their 'friends'.
Mum was scandalised. And the boys knew this. I could tell by the expression on their faces. They were loving it that Mum was so embarrassed. I soon realised that it was the shock factor that they were relishing. The more Mum and I acted shocked, the more they did it and the more they howled with laughter.
These were Mum's exasperated words to the boys:
'Didn't we talk about this, boys? What did I tell you about showing your _______ to the girls?'
Ah. So it had happened before. Presumably at playschool or kindergarten.
Dad was not bothered by this stunt. He seemed proud of his mini-mes. He was enjoying this as much as his sons.
Mum couldn't stop apologising. Which amused me somewhat.
A 5 year old does that and it's amusing. A 35 year old does that and it's either 'hello alpha' or '911'.
Context, as they say is everything.
I have noticed that in the same way that women like to 'mock complain' about men they like or love, men like to 'tease' women. They really enjoy making a woman blush or wince. The more she blushes the better. Is this a form of 'negging' by any chance?
If they like a woman this may be done in good humour, as in 'Are those real?'
If they don't, it could be quite unpleasant as in 'Nice dress, my elderly aunt's got one just like it'.
And it really depends on the sense of humour of the woman in question and the nature of the relationship with the man.
Again, context is everything.
If done right :-)
If done clumsily :-(
My former boss was once trying to get me to be time-efficient. He is super talented in this. He crams more into an hour than I would manage in a day. In trying to get me to understand how to utilise my time better, he advised me to follow his example.
'Even when I am ___________ my wife, I am planning my next presentation'.
Total embarrassment especially as others were well within earshot.
But I guess that was the whole point.
Blush or wince.
He and I got along great, but we were not on those kinds of terms. He was not my 'buddy'.
It was uncalled for.
This is the sort of thing that could get a man into trouble if done in the wrong context.
We are both British with suitably irreverent humour, so I did not show I was offended. But I was.
Even though I knew he meant no harm. And he is like that. Totally irreverent.
The same thing said to me by a male 'buddy' however would have been viewed in an entirely different manner.
I wondered if this 'shock factor' thing was some kind of male 'fitness' test. I now believe it is not. Because men don't do fitness tests. Again I ask - is this a form of negging? If so, why neg a woman one is not interested in romantically?
Or is it simply 'saying it as it is'.
Or 'speaking one's mind'.
Which brings me to another important point.
All the 'feminine etiquette' rules consider 'plain speaking' in a woman as a 'no-no'.
I see why.
Because it is very much a masculine trait.
Not to say women don't or shouldn't swear.
But women are certainly punished more severely for it than men. Just like 'women who speak their mind' are labelled in unfavourable terms.
This 'plain speaking' trait of men can be a source of distress to women. Because of the shock factor it entails. So in this case, it is not so much blush or wince but cry :-(
On some level a woman goes courting trouble when she asks a man, 'does my bum look big in this?' because she definitely does not want to hear the brutal truth. But she doesn't want a man who will fail this test by overpedestalising her either. The clever men know when to keep their mouths shut :-)
I remember a scene in 'Sex and the city' when Carrie Bradshaw tells 'The Russian' that her friend Samantha has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Russian deems it appropriate at that precise time to tell Carrie of his own female friend who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and who had subsequently died from it.
Carrie did not need to hear that story at that time. She was visibly frightened for her friend Samantha, and did not need to be reminded of the possibility that her friend might die.
Try as she might, she just couldn't get The Russian to understand this.
In the end, Carrie gave up.
The Russian was not wrong. People with cancer die all the time. But Carrie did not need the facts at that particular moment. Omission or 'bending of the truth' would have been a kinder strategy by The Russian.
I had a similar experience. I was in conversation with a male friend about a family friend's adult son who had learning difficulties and whose loving mother was hoping to find him a wife.
This is a dear family friend's son. He is practically my brother.
My male friend found nothing wrong in telling me that in his country, they would lob off my 'brother's _________s off in double quick time because he is disabled.
Fair enough. I know that happens in certain societies. But I was disproportionately hurt to hear this about my 'brother'. Perhaps illogically so, yes. But there we are. Like Carrie, I gave up. I knew I was indulging in a futile exercise :-)
I just know that I would never have had had this experience had I been talking to another woman. Unless they meant to hurt my feelings.
Gentlemen, please take it easy :-)
And while we are on this subject, a question: what is the explanation for this trait in men? Is 'plain speaking' just another facet of 'logical thinking'?