Speaking Nancinese

Image of a stack of dictionaries John Gray, author and pop-psych relationship counselor, is most noted for his work Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus: a '90's missive which opines that most common relationship problems between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the genders. Gray's compartmentalized world view is, in my less than humble view, utter bunk. Women are not, by virtue of their gender, irrational complex creatures whose thought patterns are guided solely by emotion. Similarly, men are not, by virtue of their genes, rational bastions of logic, unfettered by emotion and void of empathy. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. Rather, I would argue (using some of Gray's cosmic references) that men and women are individuals and, as such, individuals may speak one of two very distinct languages: Martian or Venusian.

The Martian language is clear and concise. It is efficient, direct and unambiguous. When someone says "I'm so damned hungry I could eat the arse out of a skunk" they are speaking Martian. There should be very little confusion about the precise meaning. Short of skunk arse, do not wave any leftover foods or unhealthy snacks in front of anyone claiming to be hungry enough to eat skunk arse. At least not if you value your fingers because the dangling foods, and your fingers, will likely both vanish. In Gray's terms, I speak Martian.

Let's say, for example, that you were to say to a friend "I picked up some skunk arse for the BBQ. Would you like to come over for dinner?". All men would not answer one way and all women in another. Rather, all Martians would answer in one way and all Venusians in another. A Martian, not surprisingly, would almost certainly respond "That sounds great! I'm so damned hungry I could eat the arse out of a skunk!". A Venusian, on the other hand, might answer "I would if I hadn't already made other plans" or "I have to take my cat to the vet tonight". The Venusian response is often categorically untrue. In actuality they may not like skunk arse, they may not like your cooking or they may simply not like you. There's an element of hypocrisy in Venusian. A Venusian will politely say "Hi, how are you? It's been ages. You look well!" but secretly, under the subterfuge of politeness, they hate your guts. A Martian would simply say "Bugger off Butthead" to your face, their view unjaded by social grace. It is, of course, far more complex because Martian and Venusian are not the only languages spoken by men and women. Men and women may also speak Proxima Centaurian, Epsilon Eridanian, Tau Cetian or, for the purpose of this writing... Nancinese.

I have become adept in understanding Nancinese, however my ability to speak the language is somewhat limited. I was first introduced to the language back in 2009 when I met Nancy, a lovely, considerate, patient and generous gal whose azure eyes light up a room when she smiles. We had, and continue to have, long conversations, though ranging in depth from the mundane to the philosophical, always in Nancinese. One must approach Nancinese much in the same way an anthropologist would embrace the tradition of Bronislaw Malinowski: immersed in participant observation. You don't just listen to the words; you must live the Nancinese experience to appreciate the intricate nuances of the dialect.

For example, if I were to ask Nancy "Any thoughts on dinner tonight?" I could expect to receive a response like "There's a sale at Abercrombie's!" This I would instinctively intuit to mean we were eating out so in turn I may very well offer "Okay, Swiss Chalet works. We need an LED light for the bathroom. Maybe we can stop at Canadian Tire to pick one up while we're out."

Nancy never answers a question directly. There is always a journey in her response and conversation is often a linguistic exercise in Where's Waldo. As above, were I to pose the question "Any thoughts on dinner tonight?" and Nancy were to respond "Want to catch a movie?" I could almost certainly deduce that she wanted to venture over to Lush or Bath & Body at St. Laurent Shopping Centre, and that grabbing a quick bite in the food court was what she had in mind. Since I don't like any of the offerings in the food court at St. Laurent, I would likely counter with "Okay, I'll have a very late lunch and I'll just have a coffee if you're going to grab something at Thai Express". She'd pop into Lush or Bath & Body or both and then we'd catch a movie at the theatre.

In summary, Nancinese is not linear. There is no 1, 2, 3 in Nancinese. It more closely proximates a computer language... a very, very complex computer language. But if you're savvy and proficient in the language, your ability to communicate with the underlying subsystems will be smooth and flawless.

if dinner goto select;
if no sale goto home;
if sale at Abercrombies goto takeout;
if sale at Cozy Kitchen goto takeout;
if sale at Lush goto St. Laurent;
take out:
if Abercrombies goto Swiss Chalet;
if sale at Lush goto St. Laurent;
St. Laurent:
if exist sale at Lush goto food court;
if exist food court goto movie;
goto end

Submitted by Jeff Dubois, 31 August 2018