How To Talk Dirty…

…Accidentally, And On Purpose

English: Egg Tempera on Canvas

Not this Bacon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was only one other customer in the bagel shop when I walked in. The manager and another employee were making a sandwich for him. The employee was teasing the manager by handing her bacon, once slice at a time. The young man was embarrassed when he saw me there.

I joked with them a little to let them know I wasn’t bothered. I said “don’t worry about it, I wouldn’t interrupt when you’re handing out the bacon.” I thought about how that sounded and added “I know that sounds dirty, but I don’t mean it to be.”

Accidental dirty talk is something we all will find ourselves doing at one time or another. When I made my bacon remark I was referring to what I’d seen him doing. How do we end up in these (unintentionally) embarrassing situations?

It Isn’t What You Say, It Is How You Say It

Bacon, the good kind (public domain, wikipedia)

Let’s examine the bacon remark because it is structured in the way that most accidental potty mouth phrases are. Handing out the bacon follows a simple grammatical pattern – action verb, adjective, noun. There may be other modifiers in there, but you can accidentally imply something using just three words. That pattern can be modified to action verb, adjective, adjective, noun, as in “handing out the crispy bacon”. Adding the second adjective turns plain dirty talk to filth.

That simple pattern can be filled with most any words that fit those parts of speech to become part of an unintentionally suggestive remark. Allow me to provide you with some examples:

When I walked in, he was buttering his toast.

The mechanic rotated her tires.

I asked the maid to polish my silver before she left.

These examples are innocent sentences about ordinary things. They are also suggestive sentences about naughty things. Why? Because they fit the pattern.

Understanding the pattern of these phrases helps us understand why we find ourselves feeling awkward about something we said, when we didn’t really say anything that bad. But the pattern is instructional as well.

If It Works Accidentally, It Can Work On Purpose

The pattern teaches us that innocent words can convey not so innocent acts. If they can do that accidentally, we can also use them intentionally for the same purpose. This is a handy tool to have when there’s a need to communicate about a delicate topic in public, in mixed company, or in any setting where saying exactly what is meant may not be appropriate.

Suppose a man and a woman are lunching in a restaurant. The man mentions interest in buying furniture from a mutual friend. The woman has critical, yet naughty information. She responds:

Jeff told me he is selling that chair because he walked in on his roommate sitting in it while he was cleaning his gun.

The speaker has communicated valuable information. She’s done so in a way that communicates exactly what happened in the chair, but is inexact. Using an inexact phrase lets her get the message across without offending anyone who might overhear.

Advanced Technique, If You Know What I’m Saying

There are times when we want the subtlety of the suggestive remark, with a little something extra. There is a special linguistic tool you can use when that something extra required is calling attention to and magnifying the effect of your suggestive remark. That tool is the phrase “if you know what I’m saying”.

“If you know what I’m saying” is a signal to your audience that they should read additional meaning and power into the message. Let’s consider two very similar examples:

I couldn’t get into the bathroom because Bob and Lisa were in there re-grouting the tile.

I couldn’t get into the bathroom because Bob and Lisa were in there re-grouting the tile, if you know what I’m saying.

The first example implies that these people might have been involved in something that did not require tile spacers. The addition of the “if phrase” in the second leaves no doubt about what was going on.

Don’t Get Carried Away

We all make mistakes. Many of us have found ourselves stumbling into this linguistic pattern and sounding like we were making an accidental implication. Because we all make mistakes, we forgive each other for those stumbles.

Where the intentional use of this speech pattern becomes unacceptable is when it crosses the line into being creepy.

I recently read the story of a young woman in a coffee shop who ordered whipped cream in her drink. An older man in line behind her said “oh, you like your fat whipped.” His implication was purposeful, directed at a stranger and is the epitome of creepy.

The knowledge of talking dirty that I’ve given you here is powerful. It should only be used with careful consideration of the social contract we all live under.

Please talk dirty responsibly. Perhaps you’d like to write a naughty comment below, if you know what I’m saying.


19 Comments on “How To Talk Dirty…”

  1. I’m afraid to say anything. At all. I played with Play doh this morning, and after typing that out, I feel like I need to go to confession.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I work with a guy who pounces on every single suggestive phrase – it’s a cubicle world full of landmines with him around. Most of the time when I realize what’s been said, and play it in my head, it gets me giggling. We are all really quite juvenile at heart. We went from thinking the word, “poop” was hilarious to finding the dirty in so much more. Ah, the English language is so beautiful!

  3. Blogdramedy says:

    It’s only humans who see innuendo in words. To a monkey, you’re just bogarting his banana.

  4. You have a way with action verbs and adjectives, if you know what I’m saying.

  5. robincoyle says:

    The entire time I was reading this post, the line from “The Office” ran through my head . . . “That’s what she said.” It is amazing how often it comes into play in normal conversations. Also, adding “In bed” to the end of every fortune cookie fortune is brilliant. For example, “You will receive a salary increase today for your excellent performance, IN BED.”

  6. Betty says:

    There is a guy in my neighborhood who, every other month or so, thinks it’s funny to drive by while I’m walking the dog and say, “hey, want some mustard on that? henh, heh, henh.” This has gone on for ten years. I wish he would move, if you know what I’m saying.

  7. Michelle Gillies says:

    I am so out of practice with the “dirty talk” that I will use this as primer … if you know what I mean. Practice, practice, practice.

  8. My most favorite accidental dirty talk was in the Home Depot with my friend who was walking a bit ahead of me when I raised my voice and said, “I need CAULK!” which of course sounds like cock, which implied I needed to get laid. The guy behind me responded, “I can help you with that.” Good times.

  9. […] The flight attendant brought us something to eat, Mr. Peanut insisted on kosher. Meanwhile, he got drunk. It upset me that no one in the office had told me to arrange a kosher meal for this pain-in-the-butt they’d stuck me with. A few moments later I realized what his game was when he leaned across the aisle and invited the woman sitting there to join him in the plane’s lavatory so they could “mix a little meat and dairy, if you know what I’m sayin’.“ […]

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