Wednesday, September 01, 2010

wifersize wednesday: a civilization of two


One night, as Andrew and I were getting ready to leave a crowded pub, I squeezed behind a friend's chair to get out and Andrew followed behind.  I was already laughing that we were thin enough to navigate the tiny space, as Andrew asked our friend to pull in a little farther...

"We're skinny minis."

I thought it, and he said it.  Or did I say it?  The shock on Andrew's face let me know that we said it simultaneously, in the same breath, and with the same intonation.  It was as if I opened my mouth and his voice came out.

We joke about our "bluetooth" ability, a kind of marital telepathy, but this was bizarre.  Not only do we never use the expression "skinny mini" (who does?  grannies?) but the surprise of using it at the exact same moment freaked us out.  Thank goodness a table of friends witnessed the phenomenon.

Since that night, and subsequent retellings, the Skinny Mini Episode has joined the barrage of Gazaneoisms, turned up on Facebook, and is now used as a handy reference tool.  A replacement for the expression formerly known as, "Jinx!  You owe me a beer Coke."

This kind of stuff fascinates me.  I loved this quote from an article from The Boston Globe written by Joan Wickersham:
"I guess that most longtime couples have their own lexicon — phrases that have come out of some shared experience and entered the private language of the marriage...  There’s a clich├ęd idea that what makes people stay in love is things like candlelight and flowers and sexy glances across crowded rooms. All that is lovely, and it helps. But so does our nerdy private language. The language of marriage is personal. It doesn’t translate, and it’s not transferable. Nobody reading this column is going to start mentioning serrated knives or waiting rooms. You have your own phrasebook, developed naturally, over time...  And for me, it’s a way of remembering that first glimpse of marriage as a team, a civilization of two; and remembering how lucky I still feel that he and I share a language, and a life."
This post is, in part, a companion to last week's "editor-in-chief", since there are so many more personal idioms we allow than have been blacklisted.  We can share the stories, explain the intricacies, and lend it out like a Seinfeld episode, but I know that only Andrew shares my "nerdy private language".

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