The Problem With “Man” Words

“Man bag” is one of the most widely used “man words” and its overt meaning is self-explanatory.

…nut sack?

The reason why the meaning is so obvious is that an existing word (handbag) is being used as the basis for a new word intended to be used for a men’s equivalent of the same concept.


…thus “man words” achieve the strange feat of being offensive both to women and men making them bizarrely egalitarian.

I have never heard anybody use these words (man-bag, man-flu, menglish), but I bet if you’re a guy and you use them you’re probably breaking a man rule.


“Sexy baby voice,” or SBV, was showing up in television and films as an instrument of sexual manipulation, a way of exploiting our culture’s fetish for adult sexuality wrapped in adolescent packages. Grantland posited that SBV “portrays the speaker as a submissive 12-year-old trying to be a sex object.” Tina Fey mocked it in an episode of 30 Rock. Actress and director Lake Bell launched her own takedown of SBV while promoting her film In a World.

…I had no idea that there were sexy babies.

English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet

However it originated, though, the usage of “because-noun” (and of “because-adjective” and “because-gerund”) is one of those distinctly of-the-Internet, by-the-Internet movements of language. It conveys focus (linguist Gretchen McCulloch: “It means something like ‘I’m so busy being totally absorbed by X that I don’t need to explain further, and you should know about this because it’s a completely valid incredibly important thing to be doing'”). It conveys brevity (Carey: “It has a snappy, jocular feel, with a syntactic jolt that allows long explanations to be forgone”).

Just because you have a camera

Let me followup the Facebook Photos and language post with a story about the first, and hopefully last, time I was accused of being a creepy guy.

In college I took a drawing class and had an assignment to draw a public setting. I lived on a street with a bench, so I took a big pad of paper out with me to this bench and drew a nearby intersection.

After about 10 minutes of drawing this guy came towards me from across the street. He had a little kid with him and he was pushing a baby carriage.

From the middle of the crosswalk he shouts “Hey buddy! Let me see what you’re drawing!”


He came closer. He stood next to me.

I didn’t want any trouble, so I showed this guy what’s going on – crappy right angles. Shoddy illustrations of a sidewalk. Maybe a gutter. A traffic light above the intersection. The pizza place across the street. No funny business.

“It’s for my drawing class.” I explained.

His attitude changed. Now instead of wanting to start something (with his kids in tow) he laughed a little and explained why he approached me. His wife or girlfriend works in that pizza place. She thought I was stalking her and drawing her from across the street.

Let me make it clear how ridiculous this was.

This waitress must have thought she was god’s gift to guys and that I was so talented that I would, instead of taking a picture of her from outside, LIKE HOW I THINK ANY NORMAL, RATIONAL CREEPER WOULD DO, draw her – FROM A DISTANCE. She asked her man to settle things with me, perhaps suspecting I would show him an elaborate, well-done drawing of her serving pizza in the nude, and go “yeah man it’s THE CHICK FROM THE PIZZA PLACE! I drew her NEKKKKKID!”

Maybe there was something about me that made her uncomfortable, but all I was was a guy in a t-shirt and shorts sitting on a bench drawing something.

If you think that the language Facebook uses isn’t a big deal then you’ve never been accused of having deviant intentions just because you’re a guy with a camera…or a pad of paper and a pencil.


I just want to understand this, sir. Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city I have to compensate the person?
Jeffrey Lebowski — The Big Lebowski

Me: Why does that word exist?
My sister: What do you mean?
Me: “Micturated.” It means “urinated.” Why not just say “urinated?”
My sister: He wants to look more dignified.
Me: But it doesn’t make any sense. “Micturate” is actually a more recent word than “urinate” – I looked it up. So why was “micturate” created?
My sister: …that’s just the way english is.

“Dude, It’s Awesome”

Yesterday I received an email from from Oracle. The headline said:

Architecting Business Continuity Essentials for Enterprise Applications

Eager to find out how my enterprise applications could be architected for business continuity I read on.

I learned that I could…

Facilitate capacity planning and performance tuning. And effectively consolidate and virtualize enterprise application environments.

All I can say is, if you’ve never virtualized your enterprise application environment, dude it’s awesome.

Poor Grammar is something prospective employers up with they will not put

…grammar is relevant for all companies. Yes, language is constantly changing, but that doesn’t make grammar unimportant. Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence. And, for better or worse, people judge you if you can’t tell the difference between their, there, and they’re.