Today's column addresses an important etiquette question: Is it acceptable for a man to use the word "scrumptious?"
Let's pause a moment to consider this critical issue. *#$%!, NO!
There are certain words that cannot come out of a man's mouth naturally. When considering the manliness of a certain word, ask yourself this: What would Richard Simmons say? No, wait a minute, I mean Clint Eastwood! Would Clint say, "These cookies are scrumptious!"
I think not. A man could go his entire life and never say the word "scrumptious." Or "luscious."
A man's man also would never say "exquisite." During the NBA playoffs, TV announcer Bill Walton said a player's shot was "exquisite." I rest my case.
Women can use these words, but not men. Men and women barely share the same language. A man will never describe the color of something as "magenta." First of all, he doesn't even know it's a color, and if he does he's not sure which one. After the basic colors, the rest are just details. "Chartreuse" and "mauve" don't even come up.
As my friend and fellow columnist Ann Cannon says, "Men should not sound like they're speaking from the J. Crew Catalogue." Amen. It's yellow, not maize. It's red, not persimmon. It's white, not eggshell. It's purple, not eggplant. It's orange, not tangerine.
Here's how women would describe other women: "She was wearing a peach taffeta gown with a flowing chiffon scarf. The other woman was wearing an eggshell chambray blouse with faux pearl buttons."
Here's how men would describe the same two women: "She was wearing an orange dress and the blonde had on a white top." In the history of the world, no man has ever said "taffeta."
Here's another word a man would never say: "nuptials." Prenuptial, yes; nuptials, no. On a scale of 1-10 for manly words, with 10 being the worst, "nuptials" rates a 12 1/2. When have you ever heard a man say, "So, when are the nuptials?"
A man will never say "dear" in the exclamatory sense — as in, "Oh, dear, who ate all the quiche?!" The only place a man would say such a thing is on "Frasier" when those two wussy dopes, Frasier and Niles, sit on the couch sipping tea.
When describing a woman, a man will never say she is "ravishing." Or "lovely." He would never say, "Oh, she looks just darling." He would say the same thing in a different way, the way, say, Garth and Wayne would say it, and I quote — "She's a babe, schwing!"
A man would never say this during the Christmas holidays: "The mall was so festive!" (He also would never say, "Let's go see Ice Capades!" But that's another story.) If a man says, "Let's enjoy the holiday festivities," it means bullies stole his lunch money every day during recess. A man also wouldn't dream of saying the holidays are "gay" — but neither would a woman these days.
(Does anyone actually know any men who sip tea together on the couch, other than Niles and Frasier?)
A man would never say "famished" when "hungry" will do just fine. A man would not say "delightful." Or "peachy." A man will not say "indeed," unless he is a butler or an Oxford graduate. "Adorable" is out. "Yummy" and "icky" are off the charts.
Guys would never say, "Those flowers are so fragrant!" Ann makes another excellent point: "I would be nervous if a guy wanted to go get a 'sorbet' with me. Same with a 'demitasse.' " I don't know what demitasse means, but I'll take her word for it. Or maybe I'll ask Niles.
Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.