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Basic Instinct 2: "shipping" love

("Shipping" and the language of love  -alternate title)

I believe it is almost possible to find practical analogies for almost everything in life.
In this piece we will use our very limited understanding of shipping to generate analogies
for the various stages of courtship. While shipping will be used for the analogies, we will use
plain English to explain the peculiarities of the language used at various stages of courtship.

Below we will deal with three major stages of courtship. 
I am unavoidably biased since:
(1) I am male, and 
(2) I have only been privy to certain parts of the discussion below from an observer's point of view.

1. Pre-courtship (setting sail or arranging the cargo)


If you have ever been on a ferry or canoe that is still docked, you will know the side-to-side
slow rocking motion that the canoe undergoes as people and cargo get onboard and try to find
positions that will optimise the equilibrium of the ship. You will notice that the rocking motion
does not generate any real fear even though the passengers may be practically falling over
each other. The feeling is more of nervousness with a little embarrassed laughter. This feeling
is totally different from the one experienced when say- the ship is in mid-ocean and is being
violently rocked by gale-force winds for example. 
At this stage, both parties are sizing each other up. The guy has probably already made up his mind 
- usual brash male way; he has seen something he likes and that is that (go for it dumbo!)
Girls are more likely to take their time - they need to be sure they are not acquiring a "scrub".
Some-"thing" that would stick like hot glue (or a leach) when it is no longer desired or desirable.

2. Trimming the sail


When sailors trim the sails, it's basically to fine-tune the ship's motion which is basically alright at 
the point in question. Here the two involved persons begin to build up a more accurate picture of 
each other. The "level" of accuracy of the picture is based to a certain degree on how honest the 
two parties are about the relationship of course. Men are notoriously able to keep the wool over 
women's eyes even at this semi-advanced stage of the courtship.
This is the courtship that precedes the "real" long courtship that may lead to marriage or 
"live-in" in the "West") - to be developed!!

3. The center cannot hold (abandon ship!)

If a couple finds themselves at this stage, it is because the budding relationship has failed due to some 
incompatibility.
If this does not apply safely move on to the next section. 
This section is the focus of this piece and can further be subdivided into "break-up on friendly" terms or 
"I broke my finger poking your eyes out" terms.
While the latter is self-explanatory, we will dwell briefly on the former and the changes in language and possibly
mannerism that goes with it..

The girl's language changes - subtly. Most likely unconsciously. She is more paddy-paddy than "girlfriend"
or more "girlfriend" in its real definition than a possible lover (sounds corny :-)
She is now sure of her "standing". She is no longer the pliable person she used to be, she is now all chummy.
The language reflects this - chumminess. She is more friend or boyfriend (if that is possible) than girlfriend
I have heard talk about "not liking soapy talk" but I suspect all girls would lap it up like ice cream if it is the right guy.
Of course, it makes sense that since the particular guy is not "the knight", the girl shouldn't encourage such talk.
At this point in time, we must state categorically that we do not know as yet what is responsible for the changes
in language or maybe, stated in a better way, what causes the girl not to use this kind of language at stage (1)
above for example. As we have said, it may be subconscious - that is, the girl is expectant and knows that 
something nice such as a good relationship may come out of the stage 1 which is why certain languages/terms 
are subconsciously suppressed. Terms like "gerrout" for example are never head in stage 1.

The bride grooming the groom


"Honey, let me brush of the little bit of cake you have on your moustache" - perfectly acceptable at this stage.
At stage (3) above, it would probably have drawn a "setting-your-damn-moustache-on-fire" glare. Or better still,
"I-am-sliding-quietly-away-from-you-before-people-guess-we-are-together" sideways motion - with apologetic
smiles at any inquisitive onlookers.





Finis.

(Where did I get my info from, you ask? Please go and watch the film "She is out of control" - pay close attention 
to the doctor in particular) 

08-September-2004

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