The Lexicon of Marriage

by meg on June 30, 2010

Main Entry: lexicon
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: collection of word meanings, usage
Synonyms: dictionary, glossary, terminology, thesaurus, vocabulary, word stock, wordbook, wordlist

Do you are your spouse have a language of your own? Do you have catch phrases that send you into fits of laughter, causing strangers to eye you with suspicion?

I read an op-ed piece the other day in which a couple called themselves the “serrated knife people” after being dissed by a salesman at an upscale cutlery store. A snooty salesperson told them Henckels knives were not for them, and they should stick to the utilitarian serrated kind. The expression then became part of their personal communication, and a funny way to say that fancy stuff was just not their style. I loved that sweet little phrase they used, and it got me thinking on all the things we say at here at Chez Meg and Leo.

There is the standard endearment:

He is Dear.
I am Dearette.

Sometimes he is Lion (as in Leo, the…)
Then I become Lioness.

Sometimes we are the Barflies, because we like to eat at the bar (more opportunity to chat!)

While we were traveling in Ireland a few years ago, we were always checking the speed limit signs, and translating the speeds from kilometers to miles. One day we were on a back road, where sheep generally have the right of way and carts of hay are a close second. We saw a sign that said the speed limit was 100 kilometers per hour, which is about 65 MPH. And for a country with a tiny infrastructure, that’s like saying, “would you like to go careening to your death today off the lovely Cliffs of Moher?

Our catch phrase for the rest of our time in the Emerald Isle was “Speed. It’s just a suggestion“.

I know, you probably had to be there for that one, but trust me, every time we saw farm equipment, a pack of woolly animals, and the accompanying speed limit, we howled.

When I think about it, whole lexicon thing can extend to siblings and co-workers too. My sister and I code named my parents the Finklesteins, because they were constantly shoving food at us in every restaurant we ever went to, even before they took a bite of their own meals. We would always picture a loving Jewish couple with some matzo ball soup simmering on their stove going “Eat, please eat“! And thus, the Finklesteins were born.

When we were right out of college, a young Meg and Leo worked at this company. One of our operating systems (which later became the foundation of Windows) was called VMS. It was a fabulous piece of software, and when you wanted to exit out of an program or email message, you did this:

That’s right, the beautiful Ctrl Z. But let me count the other ways Ctrl Z can be used.

Honey, Ctrl Z that trash.
I think these Chinese leftovers need to be Ctrl Z’d.
Ladies, I think it’s time to Ctrl Z out of the office today.
Let’s Ctrl Z this boring party.

Exiting, leaving and pitching trash all could all be neatly wrapped into one fabulous non-threatening sentence, the Ctrl Z. Of course, the Z gone by the way of the dinosaurs, but that nerdy tech humor was good in the day.

I always took these cute sentences for granted, but realize they are an important part of our lives. Our personal lexicon brings a sense of intimacy, a touch of humor and becomes our connection to those we like and love.

What favorite sayings do you toss about in your house?

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{ 13 comments }

Nance June 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Great idea for this post! At our house, most of the sayings are straight out of Top Gun. My husband was a fighter pilot when we met and the Air Force owned us for the first half of our marriage. We became engaged at the AF’s version of Top Gun, known as Red Flag, near Las Vegas. The lingo we fall back on is the stuff fighter pilots use in the cockpit. So people who act crazy, “go ballistic.” The one of us who is clearly meant to take a fall in an argument is “the designated mort” (the person in a dogfight exercise who is supposed to be the enemy and get shot down). When one of us is headed out the door, we often will say, “I’m a dot,” which means what one plane looks like to another as it pulls away and flies off at top speed.

And, if I don’t get off this laptop, my whizzo will go ballistic, so I’m a dot.
.-= Nance´s last blog ..What You Miss =-.

Ashleigh Burroughs July 1, 2010 at 4:27 am

Hand signals, secret words, nicknames… I love them all. The harshest words are softened by the codes that say “we’re all in this together.”
Wonderful post, Meg.
a/b
.-= Ashleigh Burroughs´s last blog ..Musical Theater – A Commentary in Two Acts =-.

Little Miss Sunshine State July 1, 2010 at 4:55 am

I loved this post.

When the kids were little, we didn’t want to use profanity in front of them. If we thought the other was being a jerk, instead of saying
“%$#@ you”, we would walk to each other and shake hands.

When we lived on the Cape, we would often go fishing at the Sandwich end of the Canal. The teens decided that we really would just go to the jetty parking lot and make out. They would say “yeah sure, you guys are GOING FISHING…*WINK,WINK*”, so that became a euphemism.
.-= Little Miss Sunshine State´s last blog ..Mend My Broken Face With Sad Literature =-.

noe noe girl July 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

We have a lot of Shugs and baby and kiss blowing at our house. Yeah I know….we’re kinda boring! Great post!
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Jessica July 2, 2010 at 4:22 am

I confess, I miss that part of my marriage. Not much else but that, for sure
.-= Jessica´s last blog ..Vlogging Tips- Put Your Clothes Back On -amp Others =-.

linlah July 2, 2010 at 4:32 am

We do have our own marriage language and most of it involves “having to be there” but that’s a good thing it makes it us.

And I’m stealing the Control Z.
.-= linlah´s last blog ..a cone by any other name is pine =-.

Cupcake Murphy July 3, 2010 at 3:24 am

Oh dear lord I LOVE this. The large majority of my comfort has come from my Tribe Lexicon. I love reading about yours. This shoudl be a book!
.-= Cupcake Murphy´s last blog ..Things I Dont Understand- Items 193 thru 195 =-.

Dawn in Austin July 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I loved this!
I know we have our own language, but now that you’ve asked, I can’t think of one to put into words. The only one I can think of is, when we were courting, whenever I would thank him for anything, from taking out the trash to changing a tire, he would say, “I do what I can.” That one has stayed with us for 15 years. It’s my favorite.
.-= Dawn in Austin´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday… =-.

meg July 4, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Cupcake, maybe we should travel the country doing research and write our bestseller!

Paula Lee Bright March 31, 2011 at 9:32 am

The pseudo-husband and I have a horrifyingly overly cute way of discussing our dog, Tipsy, as well as having protracted conversations with her. It embarrasses me to me. But we can’t stop. She’s little and cute and a puppy, and it’s just sickening.

I never thought I’d be me now! But DANG, we just love ‘er. :/
Paula Lee Bright´s last blog post ..I’m In a Teacher’s State of Mind- My Dream School

Jay Kahaleua April 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thank you after sharing this acquaintanceship!

Chickens Consigliere July 24, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I posted about our family language, too. When our youngest son wanted someone to wipe his nose, which was often, he would call out “I’ve got boogie nose”. In our family and among a small group of friends, it became synonymous with “Could I get a little help here?”.

James Cook October 20, 2011 at 12:57 am

Hi and thanks for your post. I’m doing a project for university and this information was very useful for my research. A Stumble for your efforts :)

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