words are all i have

Well shut my mouth, girls gab more than guys—not!

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It has come to my attention that women flap their gums more than men. Like, 13,000 words a day more.

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patti dawn swansson

Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, women supposedly beak off to the tune of 20,000 words per day, whereas wives, girlfriends, lovers, daughters and sisters manage to pry a mere 7,000 words out of their men’s tight-lipped mouths.

Well, let me say this about that (hopefully, in 20,000 words or less):

If true that us girls stand atop the leaderboard of loose lips, there is a very logical explanation: Women must constantly repeat themselves. Especially when talking to men, because men are too busy talking about tits, trucks, tools and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders to listen to women talking to them about family, friends and fixing the kitchen sink. Thus, in reality, we’re only using about 10,000 words a day. We’re just repeating everything. At least once.

That all started in the Garden of Eden. When Eve reported to Adam that Cain had killed Abel, the first words out of his gob were, “He did what?” Thus, Eve was required to repeat herself. It has been ever thus.

Of the 7,000 words men use in a day, “what?” would be the most common. I believe it accounts for 6,579 of those 7,000 words. “Yes, I’m listening,” would rank next on the list, even though a man isn’t actually listening because his mind is occupied with thoughts of tits, trucks, tools and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

tongueI suppose that raises the stench of stereotyping, but no more so than the notion that girls gab more than guys, a perception whose roots can perhaps be found in this ancient Chinese proverb: The tongue of a woman is the sword that is never allowed to rust.

That, in turn, led to the greatest misconception about girl gab—that we require 20,000 words a day in order to squeeze in all the juicy gossip that flutters across backyard fences.

Well, if you think girls gossip at an unparalleled rate, you’ve not spent much time in the company of gay men.

A number of years ago, I was in Paparazzi Nightclub in Victoria, engaged in quiet conversation about rumor, innuendo and galloping gossip in the LGBT collective with my gay friend William.

“You know the three fastest ways to spread a rumor?” he asked, then answered without waiting for my reply. “Telephone, telegraph, tell a fag.”

Indeed, this reality was re-enforced for me not so long ago, when I surfaced at Paparazzi for the first time in almost three weeks. One of the main gossip queens was sitting at the left end of the bar, sipping on a glass of red wine.

“Did you get the job in Winnipeg?” he asked as I walked past.

“What job in Winnipeg?” I said.

“With the newspaper. I heard you had applied for a job at a Winnipeg newspaper.”

“I left the newspaper business in 1999 and have no intention of getting back into it. Who told you I was trying to get a job at a Winnipeg newspaper?”

“I heard it from somebody.”

“You heard it from somebody in here, right?”

“Right.”

“And that person heard it from somebody else in here, who heard it from somebody else in here, neither of whom ever talked to me about it because I never talk to them. Look, I don’t work at this club anymore. I’m rarely in here anymore. I haven’t been down here for more than two weeks. And you boys at the bar are still talking and gossiping about me? Don’t you have better things to do?”

Apparently not. But, hey, perhaps gay men are like women and they use 20,000 words a day, none of which are about tits, trucks, tools and the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders (talk about stereotyping).

At any rate, this 20,000-7,000 scorecard about female and male tongue-wagging is bogus. Zero data has been discovered to confirm its accuracy (numerous studies have, in fact, confirmed it to be a faux notion), and no one has been able to determine the original source of the figures. That, however, didn’t prevent Louann Brizendine from citing it in her book, The Female Brain. She is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California in San Francisco, but apparently even those of higher learning aren’t above sweeping facts under the carpet.

I suppose it all goes to confirm one thing: Talk is cheap…at 20,000 or 7,000 words a day.

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