Sunday, September 19, 2004

Gender is what we

need more of in English. Yup. The French have their Le/La to infuse even the most sexless of objects (stones, doors, rugs) with the whimsicality of femininity or the weightiness of masculinity. La whim, le weight. Teachers who bestow French upon English speaking students say, "Aren't you glad we don't have to worry about that in English?" It's really just another Anglo attempt to denigrate all things Frenchular.

Some guys (think the John Goodman character on the old Rosanne show)like to use the La with some nouns when skewering what they think is a pansy-fied subject. La moisturizer. La scented candle. ("La President?" comes the retort from other parts of the room.) This tells us that even among the testosterone replete whose T shirts ride up over their bellies is the desire for a more poetic approach to all things neuter.

Some others will protest that adding gender to objects would be a politically incorrect misstep. So what? Colorful is superior to correct, any day.

Let's make "the" masculine, and invent a feminine article. My first find would be "tha", but this won't work because its pronunciation is too close to its masculine counterpart. How about "ta"? It looks like "la" so it already has some familiarity, and it can be pronounced as either "tuh" or "tah", just like "the" is spoken in various ways.

Ok, so we've got the and ta. Now boys and girls, let's use them in a sentence. "The guy in the red truck went on a date with ta hairdresser". Hmm. Problems already? Ta hairdresser may be a guy. Duh, he's still proudly Ta Hairdresser, especially at the moment he steps down from that red truck and shakes his shiny shag as he enters Ta Starlight Cafe on The Hairy Arm of The Truck Guy. See what fun we can have here?

I propose a modification of the French assignments. In English, let's let the speaker decide the gender of whatever noun he or she calls forth. Why should ta cake knife always be feminine and the switchblade always be masculine?

These thoughts came to mind yesterday while in the shower. With disposable razor in hand, I was considering the fact that one's first day usage of a disposable razor is never as good as the second day. On day one, the razor can cut you. On day two and three, you get the smoothest and safest shave. After about a week, you've got to toss it or suffer the irritations of a dull blade. I thought that this must be what sex is like for a virgin. The first time's marked by some pain and indelicacy. Smooth sailing doesn't really happen until the follow-ups. Why can't someone invent a disposable razor that is pleasant even on the first usage? Did a woman or a man invent the disposable razor and decide just how sharp those little twin blades ought to be? Since its performance tracks a woman's sexual initiations, should it be Ta Disposable, or, since it's my face that suffers the consequences, should we keep it as The Shaver, and let those sleeping dogs lie dreaming of their first time? Ta choice is yours.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ta da!!!! Tu me fait rire...beaucoup! Je pense que "Le monde" est vraiment "La Monde". D'accord? Ou est ma chapeau?