You Can't Say That

It started with "moist."

At first, it wasn't so much the word itself, but the way it combined with other words to make them seem... inappropriate.

I would be talking with a cashier at Trader Joe's and she might mention how must she enjoyed the "moistness" of the chocolate cake in my cart. And then all of a sudden, I was a 14-year-old boy in a Bart Simpson T-shirt, snickering behind my hand, uncomfortable and dirty images dancing in my head.

Hee hee, She said "moist."

It was, needless to say, unseemly.

But really, "moist," I realized, was just part of the longer series of words I found I was uncomfortable with.

I don't know if it began when I had children, or when I went back to school or if I was just strange, but I soon realized I had a LIST of words I didn't want to say. Or hear you say. Ever.

It was starting to become difficult to have conversations about certain subjects in which the offensively inoffensive words might suddenly surface. I soon realized I couldn't talk about a friend's new couch if she mentioned that it was "silky" or (barf) "plush," and I had to surreptitiously swallow back some throw up that crept into my mouth.

I didn't want to hear that a soup was "savory" or that you had been "pampered" at the salon.

Please. No.


And God forbid we discuss your health issues. I love you so much and I am the most supportive friend. Ask anyone. But THE WORDS TO DISCUSS YOUR BODY ARE GROSS. Really, really gross. I would be screaming 'fucking stop it right now FOR THE LOVE OF GOD' inside and yet nodding in support as you mentioned your husband's "penile" swelling.

Speaking of swelling, can't we figure out a synonym for "swollen"? It's really awful. Let's just say "larger and more reddish than normal" and call it day, son.

And please, no talk of "tissue" or "phlegm" or "examinations." I have a weak stomach. And I have an active imagination. If you use those words, I will have images in my head of you that you do not want me to see. And they can not be unseen.

And don't use words like "putrid" or "stench." Don't say "stockings" or (let me brace myself) "panties." Let's call them underwear. Or things you wear in areas I don't want to think about you having. Better yet, let's not even talk about them.

I'm a liberal girl. I believe in free speech and free love and free donuts. Lots of donuts.
Hell, I swear sometimes. You can express yourself in any way you please, but let's agree that you should reconsider any word that makes me think of you naked, in the bathroom, or "snacking" on "milky froyo."


These are, I realize, not reasonable requests.

And that I am possibly unstable.

I'm not asking for sympathy. I am just asking that you stop using words that make me have to throw up in my mouth.

But the things is--- the more I discuss my issues with other people, the more I realize we all have words we do not want to hear in conversation.

You are ready to condemn me for my list of irrational irritations, and yet you cringe every time your uncle says he retired from "Ford's." Where exactly do you see the "S" there, Uncle Lester? You know who you are. Don't judge me.

To eliminate the use of the biggest offender, I would suggest you (and you know who you are) consult this handy flow chart I've created about whether you can use the word "Moist" in conversation.

And remember one final thing, darling readers, before you begin a conversation in which you bandy these words about, potentially creating a feeling of illness and ill-will in your friends and co-workers:

Just because you CAN does not always mean you SHOULD.


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