I love it when you do that, it’s so cute.
I’m not cute!
Karl and I had this argument many times in college during our dating years. To me, cute means it made me go mushy – completely unable to resist. Karl would accept any other words, but not cute. He did not give me a reasonable explanation other than “guys aren’t cute.” So I learned to avoid using that word, even though I never understood why.
Flash forward 22 years and my 12-year-old son is able to put into words that make sense why this evil label of “cute” is so demeaning to a man. Matthew explained that cute is usually something that is helpless, like a newborn kitten. It is so adorably cute because of how much care it needs (just saying that sometimes men do behave like they need a lot of care). His tween wisdom was given, full of passion and determination, more than his father, to never be called cute.
Dealing with two generations of Leukert men, I finally understand why the word is so offensive to masculinity. While it is still true that women don’t limit the word “cute” to the helpless and needs care definition that men do; I will refrain from using that word to describe in any way the men in my family. I respect them enough to appreciate their definition of the word and use it appropriately around them.
Today, I’m grateful to finally have the mystery solved. To finally know “why” the word is so offensive and to make sure my words always express to my husband that he is “the man” in our house!
The moment I walked in the door I realized I had a decision to make. I could suffer in the heat and get what I came after, or turn around and run away! The little building last night was full of other people coming to look at books, just as I had. The heat was already unbearable and I saw someone in charge turn off the ceiling fan. I guess they figured they might as well make us suffer as much as possible.
But there he sat, the beads of sweat forming on his face in no way hindering his smile or willingness to talk to whoever came by with a book to be signed. We talked about his books and I decided to purchase both of the ones Mr. Ed Dickerson had there last night. Then I came back to the line around him and let him scribble his encouraging note and signature in his books.
Later that night, I recounted the experience to my oldest. I was heading for the shower (pity me here, five people and only one bathroom) and told him I was taking over the bathroom for a while because I had been sweating like a pig.
“Actually, pigs don’t sweat.”
Faster than your leg pops up after the doctor tests your reflexes was my son’s response. I had to laugh and chase him around the kitchen for a moment, making him laugh as well. Michael is one of those special people who find it enjoyable to sit down and read a book on random facts and cherish each one as if it were a favorite picture of a childhood friend. So if he spouts off some random fact, I believe him.
It did make me stop and wonder, why do we say the words we say and do we really know what they mean or if they are even accurate? “Eating like a bird,” is another favorite saying for people who barely eat anything, maybe only picking at their food. But the phrase is inaccurate as most birds consume large quantities of food in proportion to their body size.
I know what is going to happen now. Every time I read one of Ed Dickerson’s books, I’ll think of Michael’s spewing forth of random facts he has digested over the years, but I’ll also think of how important it is to make sure we watch what i say. I’ll think about how important it is to mean what I say and make sure the words I”m using are an accurate portrayal of the point I’m trying to get across.
Especially when communicating with those you love, your spouse and your children, extended family and close friends; take the time to choose your words carefully, for you are sharing your soul – a form of intimacy with those you love.