Sometimes it takes just one person saying one small thing to change a phrase for me forever. This time it was a phrase I’ve used since I was a pre-teen and have never thought much about. I hear it all the time. I say it all the time. It is even said to me from time to time. But now I’m on a mission to rarely, if ever, say it again.
It sounds so cavemanesque to hear it now.
Those are the words I said to a woman who I was chatting with over text before our first date.
Said out of context, and with a deep grunting doofus voice, and a ridiculous scrunched face, as I am doing and making right now… Yes. It sounds like a phrase said by a man with Axe Body Spray dripping from his elbows and a large club propped up on his shoulder. But, I promise you, we had actually had quite a profound and even eloquent conversation with each other to that point, and I assure you that complimenting her appearance was a natural and charming next step in the conversation. Or at least it usually would have been.
She didn’t thank me. She didn’t brush it off as so many do. She didn’t get all bashful. Instead she straight-up called me out on it. “Oh, come on. I’m ‘hot’?” she replied. “You’re a writer. You can find a better word than ‘hot’.” She then followed up with another text telling me that she always encourages her son to find better words than ‘hot’ to use when he describes the girls at school.
I thought about that. And she was completely right. What does hot even mean when talking about a human being? Feverish? Trending? Overheated? And when did we replace nearly 100% of all suitable adjectives to describe another person’s attractiveness with a single all-encompassing word like that? It’s just extremely evolved laziness by mankind if you ask me.
I told her she was right. And I thought about it for a moment. And I studied her pictures with a much more appreciative eye of what made her attractive to me, and I replied by telling her the truth… Her energy was inviting. So much about her was enticing. Curiosity-peaking. Pleasantly-countenanced. Her eyes were warm and telling. Her personality suffused every photograph she was in with that same warmness. The beauty of her hair was a rarity. And the way she held herself with friends and her children was so loving, yet so confident.
Yes, she was gorgeous. And there were many specific things that made her gorgeous to me. But instead, I had chosen…
See what I mean? Cavemanesque.
“I BEAT CHEST. I WANT YOU HOT GIRL NOW. I ARE MAN WHO NO WANT THINK.”
No more. I are a writer. I have brain. I are better than caveman.
Or at least I’d like to think so.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing