Universal terms — because you know what I mean

By Caroline Klapper | Oct 08, 2012
Photo by: File photo

Sometimes it’s a wonder how anyone understands me.

I have a tendency to refer to objects or even ideas with words like “thingy,” or it’s cousin “thingamajig,” and I do believe “doohickey” and “whatchamacallit” have escaped my lips a time or two. Of course, for people whose name I cannot recall right away, “whatchamacall-him” or “whatchamacall-her” will do.

I recently referred to a new hair accessory I bought as a “hair thingy,” and although I could have called it by its rightful name of a hair clip or barrette, I tend to refer to all hair implements as thingies, whether it’s a ponytail holder or a headband. It’s okay though because other girls know exactly what hair thingy you mean in that moment.

I have a feeling this is something women do more than men because I’ve been mildly chastised by men for using such vague terms, especially in relation to tools. But women never mention it and don’t really seem to notice, and mostly likely will use similar “universals” of their own at some point in the conversation if you hang around long enough.

I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s some deep evolutionary quirk in the communication development of the sexes, but really, I know what I mean and you know what I mean, so why do we need to get all technical about it?

Or maybe you don’t know what I mean, and my “universal terms” aren’t really all that universal. Maybe everyone is just humoring me, and no one really knows what I’m talking about half the time.

Or maybe my terms are just my brain’s way of not having to work too hard. Don’t want to think of the proper name for something? Just call it a “thingy” and be done with it.

Maybe that’s it. I have a lazy brain. I think some of my friends and family would say that’s a definite (hopefully they are joking…but maybe not).

What are some of your universal terms?

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