Since St.Valentine’s Day, the time for the celebration of love, is upon us, it seems appropriate to examine the differences between the sexes. All right, one difference.
Have you ever noticed the dissimilarity between the way men and women use the word, “cute?”
For women, “cute” has an infinite variety of meanings. Women not only apply the word to bunnies, puppies and babies. In their lexicon, certain men – the guys who have six-pack abs, square jaws and great pecs, not to mention being rich or younger than 55 – are classified as “cute.”
But it goes further than that. Almost anything that looks good, feels good or gives pleasure – and that means clothing, cars, shoes and chick flicks, to name only a few – are also cute.
The word has become a synonym for “adorable,” which among western women of a rather reserved mien, is a bit over the top and usually applied only to ponies or particularly ugly infants.
Men, on the other hand, apply the term in only two situations: sarcastically, as in “that’s a cute Ponzi scheme,” or somewhat reluctantly, when forced to compliment someone’s child, as in “that’s a cute kid.”
In the old days, it was okay for men to refer to a beautiful woman as a “cute trick,” but that is so far out of date that it has acquired multiple, rather risque meanings and is no longer socially acceptable.
However, back to St. Valentine’s Day. Women: If you don’t know what to say when you get a heart-shaped box full of chocolates, just gush, “Isn’t that cute of you to give me something (that will make me fat as a pig)?”
Or if an admiring swain offers to take off his jacket and lay it over a puddle so you won’t get your feet wet, say, “Isn’t that cute (of you to get your jacket all wet and muddy to impress me with your misplaced gallantry that was already out of date in the 17th century)?”
And men: If you have to use “cute” in any way other than those referred to above, don’t let me hear it. Otherwise, I’ll just have to forward to you all those e-mails that people keep sending me of bunnies, puppies and babies.