In olden times–much oldener than Consuela–lovers used secret languages to communicate in order to escape detection. Thus in the XIX century, or maybe it was the XVIII, I don’t remember which, languid ladies used fans to send messages to their beaus. Holding the fan on the right cheek meant “Yes,” holding it on the left meant “No,” to open and close it meant “You are cruel,” while pointing a closed fan at the mouth meant “You have some kind of goober between your teeth.”
Translation: “You also have tuna breath.”
But fans are passé nowadays, leaving lovers adrift when they want to express themselves in a sub rosa manner, and believe me, Rosa is not happy about it. How do you decipher the wordless missives that come your way from would-be lovers across a crowded room? Ask Consuela to translate the silent languages of love!
I work in the accounts payable department of a large manufacturer of flanges and hasps. I have noticed that our comptroller “Earl” who has a night M.B.A.–which he earned going to school for many years after work he is so diligent!–always sends me invoices fastened with a “candy striped” paper clip. Enora Bothwell, the girl who sits at the next desk, receives her packet of payables with a plain metal clip, although she believes she is the “apple” of Earl’s eye.
I would be interested in learning the meaning of peppermint vs. metallic clips in today’s romantic marketplace.
Please respond to my home email, we are not supposed to converse electronically at work.
Mary Alice Grimmett, Ludlow, Mass.
Dearest Mary Alice–
Time to order material for bridesmaids’ dresses! A striped paper clip sent by a man to a woman means he wants to “jump her bones,” and is willing to submit to a life of quiet desperation in an office cubicle to pay for it. Show “Earl” you mean business by returning his file copies with a baby blue and white clip that says you’re his gal!
My dearest Consuela–
I am a sales trainee at Loudermilk Dairy Products, where we are forced to spend our Friday afternoons in boring meetings instead of leaving early during the summer like people with good jobs. Recently I have noticed Floyd Moeglin from the finance department making a weird sign at me when Mike Radick, VP of Sales, turns his back to write on the white board. He–Floyd, not Mike–will wave his hand up and down under his chin at me, then get this goofy grin on his face.
I looked on the internet for “weird hand signs” AND “mental illness” but didn’t find anything.
Claudia Rees, Hoxie, Arkansas
You are one lucky gal! “Floyd” is making the Little Rascals “high sign,” universally recognized as either an invitation to friendship or an expression of contempt comparable to a silent Bronx cheer. I would proceed with cautious optimism in the hope that the former is the case and not the latter. Since “Floyd” is a trifle infantile in his courtship techniques, perhaps invite him to a church ice cream social.
I have been going out with this guy “Duane” who has a rotating collection of rear view mirror ornaments–the tassel from his high school graduation “mortarboard,” one of those Little Trees “Royal Pine” air fresheners, a Kansas City Royals nylon web pet collar, etc. Last Sunday night when I got in his car he had a woman’s lace garter hung up there, big as life. I said “Where’d you get that?” and he said “Wouldn’t you like to know?” We went back and forth like that for awhile, me asking a question, he “answering” with another question. Finally I gave up and scooched over to my side of the car where I stayed for the whole drive-in movie, which was Return of Mothra, something he wanted to see but I didn’t. At the end of the night he said “I didn’t know you were such a ‘chrome-polisher,’ the term in common use around here for a girl who won’t make out and clutches a car’s door handle the whole night.
Consuela, I have invested two months in this guy and want to make it clear I am not into an “open” relationship where he is allowed to festoon his car with female undergarments while I sit home checking for split ends. Is he trying to “send a message” to me that he’s too much man for any one woman?
Naomi Whitestone, Camdenton MO
Since time immemorial the male of the species has struggled to express his feelings. “Ug” the first caveman said to his date, and she no doubt asked herself “What did he mean by that?”
A man’s rear view mirror is an extension of his personality–assuming he has a personality–so you should not question the tacky decorating choices he makes with regard to this standard feature of most American-made cars. I think the little cat-and-mouse/tit-for-tat game he was playing by answering your questions with another question is a good sign, however. If he was dating somebody else he’d either lie to you or say “What garter belt?”
That said, the Standard Semiotics Directory of Non-Verbal Romantic Cues reports that a garter belt hanging on a rear-view mirror means the owner of the vehicle does not prefer panty hose, which are cumbersome to remove in tight places, if you get my drift.
When a woman wears an “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt on a date with you I always assumed she was saying she was not receptive to overtures from other men. I ask because this guy came up to my girlfriend Chloe when we stopped for fried clams at Jimbo’s Lobster Shack last night and apparently said “Why don’t you dump that egghead for me?” after I’d gone to the men’s room, fried food has that effect on me.
When I came back Chloe was batting her eyelashes at the guy trying to explain she was wearing the shirt ironically. He apparently didn’t understand irony–all of his shirts were permanent press.
I got kind of mad at Chloe for leading the guy on, but she said she was doing that ironically. I forgot to mention, she was an English major and so is into verbal wordplay and figurative speech. I was a business major, then got my masters in business administration, and now am in business. This summer I’m getting an executive M.B.A.
I don’t want to be a spoilsport but I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life with a woman who’s always pulling people’s legs, figuratively if not literally. Is there some sort of mood ring or something I can use to tell when she’s being ironic?
It sounds like you will have your hands full with this “off-the-wall” young woman. Unfortunately, there are no hand-held devices to detect, much less ward off, the cheap cynicism with which many “liberal arts” majors are infected during their undergraduate days. I would recommend that you dump Chloe like a hot rock and find a young woman more suited to your personality at a singles group for the literal-minded.
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”