Last week The Tuesday Prude provided a brief overview of means of defense.
Please don’t, however, assume Prudes are people of little backbone.
We don’t always turn tail and run.
As people of honor we fight in the face of ridicule, marginalization and overwhelming odds.
Periodically over the coming weeks we’ll teach you how to use these weapons and in which situations (ie. don’t use ellipsis tape when an m-dash staple is required)
But before you know how to use these offensive slings and arrows you better know what they are.
We’ll begin with our concealed carry weapons and move on up to the heavy artillery.
-The smallest, most easily brandished weapon is The Look.The Look varies from prude to prude, but usually involves lowered eyebrows and lipstitching. To achieve the lipstitch, imagine (painlessly) sewing your upper to your lower lip with an easy running stitch. Now tug the thread gently. Not so hard as to pucker, just enough to fire a warning glance of disapproval. Brandish The Look when your husband hauls out that slightly off-color story, when your son ‘loses’ the belt that prevents his pants from collapse, when your daughter attempts to convert texting shorthand into verbal communication (OMG, M! RUK?)*
Often The Look is enough to stop enemy behavior before it becomes belligerent. It is usually limited in effectiveness to those who know you best. Strangers may interpret The Look as a reaction to a bad bite of sushi.
-For those times when The Look is insufficient to convey disapproval, but the FInger Point would create chaos, pull out the ‘tsk’.
Again, the ‘tsk’ has various manifestations. Some prudes use a throat clear. Some engage their ‘small cough’ which doesn’t reach far enough outside the oral cavity to emit any germs. (True Prudes never engage in germ warfare). And of course, the ‘tcht’. Made when one’s tongue suctions itself for a split second to the roof of the mouth before pulling free, it is perennially popular with prudes. The tsk/tcht is a multi-purpose tool. It expresses mild verbal disapproval while releasing pressure on the prude’s itchy reprimand finger. We prudes keep our tsk/tcht handy because danger lurks everywhere.
Prudent prudes realize that flourishing the Finger Point or the Lecture at a rabid baseball fan venting rage via a vulgar assortment of adjectives could unleash the dogs of war. Prudes prefer positioning themselves on the high ground during battle. The ‘tsk’ prevents them from participating in the fray.
-Our final small firearm is the gentle ’Do you really want to (do that, wear that, put the dessert fork on that side of the plate)?” You can see how we have moved up from the smallest silent-but-deadly Look to a complete-with-subject-and-predicate sentence.
Use on those most familiar with power of “Do you really want to…” Try this weapon on teenagers engaged in a passionate public display of affection in the middle of the produce aisle and the ammunition will bounce harmlessly away and land on the artichokes.
We have one more room to visit in our munitions storage. Hold onto your helmets, fellow prudes. Next week we unlock the iron door guarding the Big Guns. Till then, please use your small arms responsibly.
* ‘Oh my goodness** Mom! Are you kidding?’
** Even in texting acronyms your daughter knows better than to take the Lord’s name in vain
I just came across a new one (while reading fiction, of course): “cuh” try it, it’s a good one.
Oh my goodness Prude! I’m not kidding…I loved it!
“Do you really want to…?” is so subtly powerful. Unfortunately, I’ve often forgotten that phrase and skipped straight to the lecture, which is then tuned out. Thanks for the reminder. I hope to try it out soon.