dimarts, d’agost 22, 2006

Друзья [Russian for Friends] (English / Russian / French - kinda)

I'm putting the English language on official notice. I plan to enforce a strict definition of the word "friend." It's such a troubling word in this language, and I rarely know what most people mean by it. This one is my friend and that one is my friend. This is my friend from work, but this is my friend that I pork once in a while. That one is my best friend, but you're just a coffee friend. This one is my roommate, and we're friends, maybe best friends or maybe we shag on the couch but keep it all hush hush. The word friend can be so damn vague, like the floppy member of a diabetic octogenarian man.

Будет другом? Я не понимаю!

Thus, here I will explicate what the word friend means in my idiolect, and I will give rules for its proper employment when speaking with me, so I'm not left feeling like a kosher Jew on a pig farm.

1. A friend is not a person with whom you have sex. You never, ever, ever have sex with your friends. If you have a friend, and suddenly you find yourself with your genitals in some part of his or her body, your relationship has evolved. Perhaps you could use the term, fuckbuddy, or friend with benefits, or lover, or paramour, or boyfriend or girlfriend. Even heavy petting moves the line from friend to something else. This cloying use of the word friend with life partners is annoying. A committed loving and sexual relationship is in all honesty more complex than a day-to-day friendship, and I would posit, rather uncommon. Usually spouses are in it for the kids, the social acceptability, the tax breaks and the ass. Friendship, nah. If your wife or your husband is your best friend, you are most likely pathetic.

2. A friend is in fact, someone you love, or you feel like you could love. A friend is not a casual acquaintance. If you have a friend from work, then that person must be someone for whom you would commit loving sacrifices.

3. People can become fast friends, but if someone is a friend, then it's always nice to use his or her name when they are are referent. A sentence like the following, "I have a friend in Scranton" is fine, since his or her identity isn't likely to be important to the general narrative. However, in the sentence, "I was out with a friend last night," you have now opened a Pandora's box. The pragmatic informational possibilities in that sentence are vast. Last night? Out? Friend? This could in fact mean many things. It might mean that you were out with your chum Bill for a pint at the pub. It might mean that you were on a date. It might mean that went back to your "friend's" place and made the beast with two backs. This is a socially ungraceful construction, and should be avoided at all cost. In such a case, if you did not wish the hearer to know what you were doing, it would be more tactful to simply lie about where you were if questioned, or better still, refrain from bringing it up. If you're talking to an acquaintance that is. If you're talking to a friend, someone whom you love or may love, just be specific. A friend will revel in the ecstasy or the banality of your life because he or she loves you.

4. If there were to be any confusion about your friendship due to your sexual orientation, then it is of paramount importance to use nomenclature that expresses yours actual feelings. A single straight man talking about his female friends should take the time to reinforce that they are "just friends." You don't want people interpreting your friendships for something they're not.

5. A good word for someone whom you know casually is "acquaintance." For men, the terms bud, homey, pal, guy just doesn't work; worse than friend, in some circles these terms are very sexual. It is better to avoid them. If there is someone in your life of whom you are fond, but whom you do not love, the term acquaintance has drifted semantically enough to ensure that the hearer will understand that you enjoy this person's (non-sexual) company, but you do not love him or her, and you are not rubbing your genitals together.

6. If once upon a time you used to rub your genitals together, or perhaps you had a serious relationship with said individual, then it is appropriate to use the word friend, but it is also de rigueur to explain that you used to be lovers, paramours, etc.

7. If you are still rubbing your genitals together (or any reasonable facsimile thereof), see number 1.

1 comentari:

Persephone ha dit...

LOL at "like the floppy member of a diabetic octogenarian man."

This is an excellent post. I, too, am often irked by the English language, the use of the word "friend" being no exception.