A week ago I asked a question and last night a got my answer. It was a long and painful answer, but then, it was a long and painful question.

The answer is yes.

The questions wasn’t ‘what colour did the original kencell-celtel-zain-whatever-it’s-called-now use’, though I’d like an answer to that as well.

Yes, it is possible for two people to say or do the exact same thing and have completely different meanings. Observe.

Case study 1

Wife asks husband “Honey, do I look fat?”

In 90% of situations, the correct answer is “No dear, of course not.” accompanied by a swift ducking behind furniture or a sprint for the hills. Why? Because she will go out in that dress, meet her sister/mother/bitchy neighbour, who will inevitably comment on her weight. Then you are a dead man.

But in the 10 percentile are the indigenous societies where a rotund woman is a sign of affluence, in which case her husband had sure as hell better say “of course you do hun, I feed you well,” regardless of said wife looking like a matchstick.

Case study 2

This here being CB, I prefer to be told the truth, no matter how much it hurts. So if I ask you if I look fat, please say yes or no, whichever is more accurate.

However, there is an exception to every rule…

Case study 3

Me, CB, I have weight issues. I was terribly chubby as a teen, and my siblings and relatives tormented me ceaselessly. It did not bother me. Well actually, it did, but I brushed it off. Teasing from silly blood relatives was something I could live with. **They can’t me**

Later, when I was slimmer, the same relas now teased me for being thin, and I asked, ‘When I was fat you dissed me, now I’m thin you’re still dissing. Kwani?’ My cousin admitted that he had no idea his teasing was upsetting me, because I’d never react. I explained: reverse psychology. If I had reacted to the fat-chat, he would have increased the level of torment. As is, he thought I didn’t care so the game became boring and he stopped.

Once I had shed the weight to a point where “My … twins … were suspended on a skeleton”, those words were said by my girl. I acknowledged that the phrase was in bad taste, but brushed it off. Bygones.

Lately I am putting on weight again. My aunties are super excited, I look okay, but it’s totally bugging me.

Former-workmate  said “You’re so fat! You look fabulous!”

Twiggy said “You’ve put on, what, five kilos? Your’e an African woman, stop dieting.”

Princess said “Mummy, I like hugging you coz your stomach is warm. I want to be fat and hot like you.” [I’m pretty sure she meant temperature *cheeky grin*]

None of the above particularly bothered – or flattered me.

However, when someone said “You’d better find some way to exercise, coz with all those lunch dates you have, you’re going to get a little chunky.”


Now explain to me how I decided that the other statements were idle chatter while that last statement implied jealousy? And more to the point, why I walked around nibbling at my food for days after that?

Case study 4

I don’t enjoy losing my temper coz it leaves me with a vacuum – this giant chasm that I can only fill with blackforest cake. Also, because when I’m angry, I throw things. Expensive things mostly, and they tend to break. That’s why I like Nokias, they have survived endless throwing.

When I speak to the First Ex, I get so furious that I yell and scream and rant and generally castrate him with my tongue. Nothing gutterly about that. Nothing at all. I loved the boy so much that the hatred I have for him now is enough to ignite a petrol bomb – with my eyes. It is gradually fading to indifference though, which is good, because bile is bad for the skin.

Yesterday I had a heated argument with someone. The level of anger surprised me, because I have only ever been that angry with the First Ex. Yet this anger was prompted not by scorning, but by caring. The boy I fought last night is so dear to me that I called him all manner of names yet constantly wondered why I was doing it. I got more and more angry, and I wondered, since he was pissing me off so much, why the fuck was I still talking to him? Why didn’t I just hang up?

Clearly, rage can be fueled as much by love as by hate. That’s why lawyers can argue out a crime of passion.

And I suppose that’s also why the First Ex often said that he wished I didn’t love him so much. He said love makes people crazy, and that he was afraid one day I would walk in, find him on top of some woman, and kill him on the spot. Hm. Glad I got over that boy.

Case study 5

I have always said that if a boy likes you, he will not mention sex on the first date. Or the second, or even the third. It’s my reasoning that if you have long-term potential, he will want to bide his time and get to know you vertically before he takes it horizontal.

And no, I don’t mean standings.

I don’t know where I got this idea. Probably from Oyunga Pala *shudder* or from that Monica song. Or maybe from the rule that most boys get bored after they hit it, especially if ‘it’ is wild and green and under sixteen.

Horizontal synchronicity, however, is important in relationships. So lots of people will not take you seriously until you have proved your ability in the art of sideways.

So, while one person may simply be winning a bet or filling out his scoresheet, another may have be genuinely besotted and now wants to see if you are worth further … perusal.

Case study 6

In high school, boys would always ask for girls’ pictures and vice versa. In our case, it was so we could put them on the noticeboard or under our pillows to ensure that we dreamt of no other.

In their case, it was probably to show off … or perhaps, by the time they got to college, to ensure cleanliness, with the aid of a bar of soap.

In any online interaction, you will eventually ask for pictures – unless of course you’re on facebook. When I ask for a person’s picture, it is simply so that I can visualize the person I am talking to. It makes the conversation more comfortable, more real. And yesterday, I realised that some boys can be equally sweet, so you, yes you, you have officially cleansed my dirty mind, at least for the moment. Much obliged **grin**


I have been disturbed for most of the morning equating the First Ex to the boy from last night. I thought that either I hate the boy from last night, or I still have feelings for the First Ex.

Both ideas are ridiculous.

So I cede. It is, after all, possible for two people to use the exact same words at the exact same place, in the exact same situation, yet have completely different meanings and results.

I detest First Ex. But I miss my friend.

Fallen Sarah Mchlachlan

For more information on 3CB, click here.

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