Friday, May 18, 2007

The Carvahlo and The Shane

Pairs of people who become very close start speaking their own language - twinspeak is a term used when this phenomenon occurs in twins (I may have made that up, because it's not listed in Websters). Sometimes this is complicated or enhanced by shared dialect or isolation, but for me, it's often comprised of inside jokes or shared experiences taken to a whole other level. I noticed the other day that A and I are starting to have our own language and I took that as a very good sign. My last partner and I didn't even share a common primary language, so it's been a really long time since I had a private language with my partner.

On the other hand, E and I, having lived together for four years and spending much of that time in isolation together, have a rich and varied personal language. Sometimes if someone else says something that has come to have meaning for us, all it takes is a look between us for the laughter to come bubbling up. Sometimes, we can't even look at each other when someone says something because it would seem so completely out of place for us to have our usual reaction to these things. Our private language is only complicated by our mutual channeling of Chibo - since he lacks the physical capacity for speech, he often borrows ours and you really can' t believe what he has to say. Sometimes, like the late great Richard Prior, I want to "slap him in the mouf..." and you know the rest of that line!

At any rate, what has me wondering about language this evening is a friend we ran into this week. As E and I walked away from our brief conversation with him, I could only mutter, "He's Carvahlo-ing it, but he doesn't Shane very well!" Yes, we've turned these names into verbs. In the spirit of word of the day, here are some origins and definition, Webster-style:

Etymology - from a long-lost friend who took flirting to a whole other level
1 (noun) : a man who flirts openly and obviously with every woman because he would take any woman
2 (verb): to flirt openly and obviously with every woman in the hopes of dating any woman

Etymology - from a former date who knew how to make his dates friend feel very welcome
1 (noun): a man who flirts mainly with his date, but flirts enough to make her friends feel welcome without wondering if he wants them
2. (verb): to take care to make one's dates' friends feel welcome and appreciated without being sleazy

The Shane actually evolved out of the Carvahlo, because it seems there are times when flirting with the friends of the one you're trying to catch could be useful and appropriate in controlled amounts. The difference really lies in how it makes the third party feel - if she feels you're hitting on her, it's a Carvahlo; if she feels welcome and included, it's a Shane. Having been on both sides of both of these scenarios, I prefer to share a Shane.

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