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by Alexis Svenn

I was idly browsing the web when I found an online Telephone retailer who specialise in Home Phones when I got to thinking about home phones and who actually uses them...

I have got a contract with Orange, the mobile phone provider, which costs me around £35 a month ( one of the animal contracts ) and I have 500 minutes of cross network minutes included - that is 6 hours and 20 minutes . No way I speak that much on the phone a month. As I am running with a general surplus of hundreds of minutes I never use my home phone, and noone ever calls me on it. My conversations are masculine to the max, the linguistic equivalent of bullet points. I arrange with my friends complex itineraries and discover how they and their extended families are getting on with health, education and employment in about 20 short syllables. When we are together, of course, our expressiveness takes on a more expansive manner.

In direct contrast to this 'zipped up' / compressed method of communication favoured by myself and, I believe, my sex; is the way in which our partners hover and flutter around the subject of a sentence like butterflies around a flower. They will not construct conversations, communications of a specific aim and action. For example :
Derek "lets go beach for a swim"
Clive "yep, see you there at 7, bring some tinnies"

this is the male version and you will see that they manage to convey logical and specific aims and actions with definitive linguistic devices

On the other hand :
Julie "not very nice weather yesterday eh, Jane"
Sarah "no Jules,not very nice at all."
Julie "but it looks like its is better today, eh Jane?"
Sarah "yes, sun is shining, weather is hot" - giggles
Julie "must be beautiful down the beach right now"
Sarah hhmm, how are the kids?"
Julie "fine, did you get that new TV?"
Sarah "yes, and I think it was down to the struggle in south america"
Shirley "I was thinking that also, it explains his influences, artistically and philosophically"
Julie "beach will be nice later this evening"
Sarah "Lets meet down there later.."
...here I have removed 10 further lines of text in order to preserve your sanity and the formatting of this page
Sarah "OK, see you there at 7, bring some tinnies"

The conversations above are real, I promise you, I swear to god.

What we, as linguists, and sentinent beings can derive from the conversations above is that if you want something done quickly, ask a man ( ask any woman and they will agree ), if you want something explored, chewed on, ruminated, gestated, regurgitated and finally decorated then get a woman to do it. In most cases the woman will produce a finer, more beautiful and longer lasting creation with the same ingredients as a man would; just they will take the scenic rather than the linguistically direct one.

Getting back to the main point of this diatribe, we only have a land line phone because of her, my sweet and beauteous partner, who likes to communicate with her friends, family and strangers whilst trying to get to the point. I could save a fortune if I ditched the landline telephone. I can get by on my 6 hours and 20 minutes a month handsomely. I should ring up NTL (Virgin Media I mean) and let them know that I don't need a landline as all my calls are more than covered by my mobile tarrif. So I sit and think about it a while. I have a gorgeous DECT cordless home phone with answermachine, twin handsets, a SIM card reader, colour screens, polyphonic ringtones etc etc, but I dont need it. I am happy with my Nokia N95, all the calls are free, and I have GPS Satellite Navigation. ( I actually bought it for my partner but she laughed at having GPS when she can't actually remember ever having been lost, and, indeed, don't I claim to have a superb sense of direction??? )anyway , suffice it to say that I have carefully considered the pros and cons of losing the landline, even asking some of my friends and work colleagues what they think:
"yep why not", "should save you a fortune", "do it", "ugh"
So I am convinced, my mind is made up. I will not give it a moment's further consideration...

and then the home phone rings, it is my mum, she wants a chat, I leave the room and sit down in the kitchen and put the kettle on, the large handset sits comfortably in my hand, my feet creep up onto the table, aah this is nice...........


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