Inventing Language Filter
May 12, 2014 3:01 PM Subscribe
Short version: I flippantly described myself today as a "repressed tramp" and that got all kinds of misinterpreted. I am looking for better descriptors that more accurately convey what I mean and are still succinct (or succinct-ish). More details below the fold. (potentially NSFW)
posted by Michele in California to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It was taken to mean "sexually repressed" and also, I guess, that I am insulting myself (and potentially others). I realize that "tramp" is, for some people, a loaded word with negative connotations. For me, it is not. (I chose it as less loaded than ...other words that came to mind as well.)
What I mean is that I am generally pretty comfortable with my sexuality and I am fond of men, so my wiring is kind of hippie tree hugger, make love not war, and all that. But I am very socially conservative about things like knowing who the daddy is and not exposing myself to germs and so on, so I live a pretty conservative life in some ways but not because I am emotionally inhibited but because I am aware of the potential consequences and wish to avoid bad things happening.
I am asking because I have these sorts of misunderstandings kind of a lot (not on this specific subject but this sort of "uh, no, I did not mean that at all" kind of situation is not unusual for me). I thought this would be a good opportunity to survey the hive mind and ask for feedback on this specific instance. So, what is a way to say this which is not offensive to other people and doesn't take scads of explaining? Sometimes there simply isn't the time and, often, trying to clarify when someone has heard it really negatively can be pretty problematic. The discussion tends to just start on the wrong foot and it can be really hard to get it back to something not negative.
Someone suggested the phrases "Only the requirements of safety and propriety restrict my libertine nature." and "My libertine nature is bound only by the requirements of social grace" which I thought were really good but are far from "nut shell" succinctness. (I guess we already have "Lady in the living room, tramp in the bedroom" kind of language but that is basically still a whole sentence and still commits the faux pas of calling myself a tramp, which is apparently really bad in the eyes of some people -- not to say they are wrong, just that I do not feel the same.)
So what is a polite, well-mannered way to convey that without it being paragraphs and paragraphs, and, preferably not even a sentence? Is there a phrase for that? If not, please suggest your short-ish sentences.
I realize also that the best way to convey this is without ever directly saying it but, reality being what it is, that kind of delicacy isn't always effective.
Thanks for any assistance.