Had a date last night at the Union. Girl came by, said she needed a beer ASAP. I offered to get her one at the bowling alley, but she said she wanted to sit down and text first. I sat down and she sat behind me to text. Odd. 10 minutes later I turned around (yes, I had been focused for 10 minutes thinking she was evaluating my study heat) and she was gone. She texted later that she'd be right back, she ran off to get a beer. Four hours later she texted that she left because I said “jerking off.”
Here was the actual conversation:
Girl: Hi! I need a beer!
[We walk to my table.]
Girl: Why are you on campus?
CSH: Because it helps me focus and keep working. If I go home, I'll end up jerking off and getting nothing done.
Surely, most native-born Americans know that jerk is one of those words with broad meaning and often used in exclamations, like fuck, shit, and piss. I think fuck is the winner in the broadness category.
So I’m going to send her this text:
If I say I am jerking around, it does not mean that I am masturbating while wandering around a room, nor am I having an epileptic seizure. And if I say that I am fucking off, I am not raping people, or fucking them so hard that you project them away from you. Similarly, if I say, “You’re talking bullshit,” I do not mean that your mouth is like an anus or your words are like feces. But you could take them that way. It is consistent with the meaning of the words, taken in isolation. But if you do, it looks like you’re looking for insult.
I stay on campus because it helps me focus and keep working. If I go home, I'll end up jerking off and getting nothing done.
Given the obvious context, the chance that jerking off here means procrastinating is at least 95%. Masturbating, 3%. Dancing, 1%. Seizure, 0.01%. Attacking people by shaking them, 0.001%. Leaving other interpretations collectively at 0.989%. Why pick one of the least likely (given the context) interpretations?
P.S.—This was a “full me twice … you’re not going to full me again” moment.
a A month ago