Novelist and official Southern Belle Loraine Despres used to warn me to be wary of men who say, “When I’m done with you….” As in, “When I’m done with you, you’ll know Paris like the back of your hand,” or, “By the time I’m done with you, you’ll have a wardrobe of real silk lingerie.” It means, she says, he expects to be done with you.
Me, all I hear is “Paris” and “panties.” Love addiction, it seems, goes right to my ears.
Now, Lord knows I’ve been plenty lied to by plenty of men. I’d call out my first husband on a thing or two, except I don’t know where he is, for one thing, and I’m not entirely sure I know his real name for thing two. I suspect that even more often, though, men have told me the truth and I’ve refused to listen. Somewhere in between his lips and my brain, a powerful force garbles the meaning, like Google Translate, bless its heart, making English out of Ukrainian. “I will love to know you better.” Anyone else get a message like that from a “US American Doctor” on a dating app…?
Anyhow, back to my malfunctioning manspeak translator. Maybe it’s cultural conditioning, maybe it’s denial, maybe it’s that the otherwise smart and capable Ethlie is, in some areas, dumb as a rock. You say what you mean, and I hear what I’m convinced you meant to say. You may have the same Malfunctioning Manspeak Translator in your head. Let me know if you relate to any of these common phrases.
What he says: “I love you… just not in the way you want to be loved.”
What I hear: “I love you, I love you, I love you.”
What he really means: “I love having a friend with benefits.”
What he says: “I’m just not ready for a relationship.”
What I hear: “Hang in there, baby. We have a future together.”
What he really means: “I don’t want to be in a relationship. Not with you, at any rate.”
What he says: “You’re my fantasy woman.”
What I hear: “I picture myself on a white horse, rescuing you from a dark tower.”
What he really means: “I picture your boobs when I masturbate.”
What he says: “You’re so hot!”
What I hear: “You’re so beautiful!”
What he really means: “Take off your clothes.”
What he says: “This is getting too intense too fast. We should make some space.”
What I hear: “The depth of my passion for you scares me.”
What he really means: “I’m interested in seeing someone else.”
What he says: “It’s not you, it’s me.”
What I hear: “You are perfect, I am broken. Will you fix me?”
What he really means: “I’m already seeing someone else.”
What he says: “I just need time to work some things out.”
What I hear: “I want to be a better man for you.”
What he really means: “My wife is pregnant.”
I assume that there are men out there — possibly men right here — who have their own version of the Malfunctioning Manspeak Translator. Fallible Femspeak Filter, maybe? I would love to hear some of your examples. Please put them in the comments, or shoot me an email, or post something on the @LoveAddict_Book Twitter page. Love addiction is a two-way street. A twisty, potholed, frequently lethal two-way street.