How To Talk Dirty…Posted: December 10, 2012
…Accidentally, And On Purpose
There was only one other customer in the bagel shop when I walked in. The manager and another employee were making a sandwich for him. The employee was teasing the manager by handing her bacon, once slice at a time. The young man was embarrassed when he saw me there.
I joked with them a little to let them know I wasn’t bothered. I said “don’t worry about it, I wouldn’t interrupt when you’re handing out the bacon.” I thought about how that sounded and added “I know that sounds dirty, but I don’t mean it to be.”
Accidental dirty talk is something we all will find ourselves doing at one time or another. When I made my bacon remark I was referring to what I’d seen him doing. How do we end up in these (unintentionally) embarrassing situations?
It Isn’t What You Say, It Is How You Say It
Let’s examine the bacon remark because it is structured in the way that most accidental potty mouth phrases are. Handing out the bacon follows a simple grammatical pattern – action verb, adjective, noun. There may be other modifiers in there, but you can accidentally imply something using just three words. That pattern can be modified to action verb, adjective, adjective, noun, as in “handing out the crispy bacon”. Adding the second adjective turns plain dirty talk to filth.
That simple pattern can be filled with most any words that fit those parts of speech to become part of an unintentionally suggestive remark. Allow me to provide you with some examples:
When I walked in, he was buttering his toast.
The mechanic rotated her tires.
I asked the maid to polish my silver before she left.
These examples are innocent sentences about ordinary things. They are also suggestive sentences about naughty things. Why? Because they fit the pattern.
Understanding the pattern of these phrases helps us understand why we find ourselves feeling awkward about something we said, when we didn’t really say anything that bad. But the pattern is instructional as well.
If It Works Accidentally, It Can Work On Purpose
The pattern teaches us that innocent words can convey not so innocent acts. If they can do that accidentally, we can also use them intentionally for the same purpose. This is a handy tool to have when there’s a need to communicate about a delicate topic in public, in mixed company, or in any setting where saying exactly what is meant may not be appropriate.
Suppose a man and a woman are lunching in a restaurant. The man mentions interest in buying furniture from a mutual friend. The woman has critical, yet naughty information. She responds:
Jeff told me he is selling that chair because he walked in on his roommate sitting in it while he was cleaning his gun.
The speaker has communicated valuable information. She’s done so in a way that communicates exactly what happened in the chair, but is inexact. Using an inexact phrase lets her get the message across without offending anyone who might overhear.
Advanced Technique, If You Know What I’m Saying
There are times when we want the subtlety of the suggestive remark, with a little something extra. There is a special linguistic tool you can use when that something extra required is calling attention to and magnifying the effect of your suggestive remark. That tool is the phrase “if you know what I’m saying”.
“If you know what I’m saying” is a signal to your audience that they should read additional meaning and power into the message. Let’s consider two very similar examples:
I couldn’t get into the bathroom because Bob and Lisa were in there re-grouting the tile.
I couldn’t get into the bathroom because Bob and Lisa were in there re-grouting the tile, if you know what I’m saying.
The first example implies that these people might have been involved in something that did not require tile spacers. The addition of the “if phrase” in the second leaves no doubt about what was going on.
Don’t Get Carried Away
We all make mistakes. Many of us have found ourselves stumbling into this linguistic pattern and sounding like we were making an accidental implication. Because we all make mistakes, we forgive each other for those stumbles.
Where the intentional use of this speech pattern becomes unacceptable is when it crosses the line into being creepy.
I recently read the story of a young woman in a coffee shop who ordered whipped cream in her drink. An older man in line behind her said “oh, you like your fat whipped.” His implication was purposeful, directed at a stranger and is the epitome of creepy.
The knowledge of talking dirty that I’ve given you here is powerful. It should only be used with careful consideration of the social contract we all live under.
Please talk dirty responsibly. Perhaps you’d like to write a naughty comment below, if you know what I’m saying.