an Unsettling Evolution of Language
Recently I was in a bookstore (this wasn’t recent; also, I work there) and witnessed a thirteen year old girl who, when asked by her mother if she liked a particular calendar, lifted her leg and made farting noises while she hopped in a circle, as if propelled by said imaginary gas. This was certainly inspiring to witness, but what may have been most noteworthy was the fact that her mother seemed to understand her. The older woman put the calendar back, and nodded in agreement. She even responded as she continued to pick up and put back other calendars. Sadly, the girl did not react similarly to the other calendar selections, so I can only assume the initial selection so disturbed her taste in organizational products, that her response was entirely appropriate.
After all, how dare her mother suggest that Doctor Who calendar—does the woman not know the next Doctor is going to be old? Gross. So gross, mom. Better to play it safe with one of the 18-month Justin Bieber affairs; after all, he’s dreamy, and the calendar’s duration is ironic (by the girl’s definition of the word) in that’s how long his probation for drunk drag racing will be. Ironic like her 80s acid-washed skinny jeans. Don’t lower your red over-sized sunglasses at me when I’m talking to you, it is 8 o’clock at night in January and you are indoors, it has been dark out for six hours. Those are unnecessary. We both know this.
I can only conclude, therefore, that her response is a new method of communication for young girls, and one we could be seeing more of going forward. I am not nor have I ever been a girl (ok, so there was that one time), young or otherwise, and certainly have only the most rudimentary understanding of anything spoken by the fairer sex regardless of age, so this is an entirely plausible explanation.
There is a precedent for this as well, as girls have always had a coded or secretive manner of speaking amongst themselves that has baffled the male of the species on the rare occasion we noticed it was going on at all. Men have historically preferred, in situations where excessive violence was inappropriate for their needs, either one word answers or responses quoted verbatim from movies or television shows. Women, on the other hand, can communicate effectively with only raised eyebrows and well-timed dirty looks. Well-timed in this instance refers to all of the woman’s friends seeing said dirty look with the exception of the one at which it was directed. Bitches.
However, one exception to the male’s method of communication, when violence, mono-syllabics, and cartoons were ineffectual, has always been the tried and true fallback of flatulence and/or eructation. Let me explain in terms the typical male who has not lost interest in this piece already may understand: farting and burping.
As the walls between gender roles continue to be broken down and redefined, and methods of communication adapt to the prevalence of these so called “internets” to become increasingly text- or emoticon-based, perhaps this girl’s behavior was entirely appropriate. Should she have been asked in text message by a peer, would not a cartoonish hand giving a thumbs down have been all the response that was needed? Looking at gender specific methods of communication, in a similar situation, would a young man (or any man) have not belched his displeasure at a particular calendar? Conceivably, could the lifting of her leg and hopping around have been young female’s adherence to straight old schools rules, as explained by David Bowie, in that she is replicating and elaborating on what the male has done before? Was she trying to one-up her male counterparts?
Perhaps I witnessed the beginnings of a fledgling system of communication that combines both vocal and physical properties in a manner not seen since offensively comedic recreations of Native American rain dances?
This could be the start of a new craze, similar to the Paris/Ritchie dialect prevalent in the early 21st century, in which young women would carry on entire complex conversations consisting only of variations of the phrase, “Oh my god, that’s so hot.” Evidence to date suggests that this incident involving the young girl and her mother was isolated, so shooting the girl on sight, in hindsight, has proven to be a wise decision. However, only time and a keen eye at the mall, where the female is reported to congregate in relative ease within their natural habitat, will determine whether this event is as isolated and unique as one hopes.