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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