Incomplete Sentences – No. 13 – “I Have Nothing To Wear”

Sunday 3rd April

Before I am accused (unfairly surely) of misogyny I must state that I have nothing but admiration for the female sex and especially in their unique and novel use of language.  It has been said before that Women are from Venus and Men from Mars, and while I do doubt that planetary ancestry it does offer a clue as to our different ways of thinking.  Men, or at least me, tend to use language in a logical way.  A split second before saying something I try to find a form of words which will convey what I wish to declare with clarity in the expectation that my listener, equipped with a reasonable understanding of the English Language will be able to comprehend my meaning.  My reasoning for this is that the use of words should be as clear as possible to avoid possible misunderstanding.  However, and before you shout me down Ladies, I must first state that all generalisations are odious and prone to exaggeration and many examples of exceptions will be found by the astute observer; not everyone uses language in the same way.

Indeed women have developed a skill, sadly lacking in men, of conferring totally different meanings, sometimes the complete opposite of the words actually used, to their sentences.  In my pursuit of knowledge I have made a special study of this use of language and I think I have discovered the key.  They, women, (and again I am generalizing) have come up with a way of omitting, either single words or occasionally whole portions of a sentence, in order I can only assume to be able to cram even more words in later on.  And amazingly other women know instinctively (or maybe there is some secret code learnt in their teenage years or by reading Women’s magazines – I can only hazard guesses) what the sentence would have looked like had the cleverly omitted words actually been spoken.

“Does my bum look big in this?” is a good example.  The real sentence would go something like this.  “I am asking this question not for your judgement; in fact I am not looking for anything like honesty – I simply want you to say ‘No, darling, not at all – in fact it makes you look quite slim’ – so the question, to which you know the answer you must give is ‘does my bum look big in this?”

But the one which always confuses me is “I have nothing to wear.”  The fact that the woman speaking is in fact not naked at the time makes the sentence of course untrue as a statement of fact.  And confusingly this is often said while the woman is standing in front of an open and bulging double wardrobe full of things to wear.  Now, I would hate to accuse these females of dishonesty.  And in fact they are not speaking untruths at all; they are simply omitting the end of the sentence “which I want to wear today” or “that is new and my friends haven’t seen before”.  There are actually many possible endings to the truncated sentence “I have nothing to wear.”  Us men, unequipped with either extra-sensory perception, and unschooled in this secret use of language, can only stand dumbfounded before said bulging wardrobe in amazement, our eyes in fact seeing what the woman cannot see, that there are actually many many things to wear, some of them only worn once, or dare we mention it never at all and still in that pristine shop-perfect state.

Maybe the Government should set up special lessons for men to equip them with the skill of inserting missing words into women’s sentences.  Life between the sexes might be improved immeasurably by such a decision.  Or am I……(Women, please complete this sentence using appropriate language only).