Thursday, November 13, 2008

What He Really Means

I was talking to a guy friend of mine about how to make sure my male characters sound like real men, and our conversation turned into a discussion on coded speech—the stuff guys says to girls when they want to say something nice but don’t want to come across as a rude jerk who’s only interested in her body.

Here’s what he told me.

If a guy says:

that’s a pretty sweater

He means:

you have pretty breasts

If he says:

those are awesome boots/shoes

He means:

you have awesome legs

If he says:

those are great jeans

He means:

you have a great ass

Ok. That’s not the whole list. There were others including potential compliments including her jacket, blouse, skirt, turtleneck, tank top, khakis, gloves, hat, scarf—and others I’ve already forgotten.

I do remember though, when I asked him if there were any coded compliments about other things—other things being anything other than the woman’s body—and him drawing a complete blank. I prompted him with, you know, like maybe if they want to say something about her personality.

Again another blank.

Hmmm. I guess that coded speech does serve its purpose.

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