An alarming number of pretty loaded psychological terms have made their way into the popular vernacular in the last few decades, been abused to the point of meaninglessness, and are now bandied about with shameful disregard, filling the world once again with people walking around saying things (usually very loudly) that they don’t mean at all.
In just the last month I have had no fewer than 5 women describe themselves to me as “anal.” These were not interactions with hookers, nymphomaniacs, future ex-wives, or anyone with whom I am intimate enough for discussions of analism to be appropriate, but rather very recent acquaintances or coworkers. And while contemporary American society may have become inured to this term to the point not batting a sphincter when it’s thrown around, I have not. Last week, a woman whom I had just met said, “I’m very anal about my desk.” If I were to take the literally, well, the mind simply reels at the various ways such a statement could be interpreted. To consider it a bit of an invitation would not be much of a stretch (sorry to use “anal” and “stretch” in such propinquity, but if it will help just one of you to quit bringing your anus into otherwise polite conversation, so be it). Even when viewed through the the filter of Freudian theory, there is no getting around that what you have just told me is that they are no more psychologically developed than a three-year-old, and that since you haven’t figured out your vagina yet, you’re just really into pooping. “But that’s no what I meant,” are the cries of the contemporary anal masses. But that’s what you fucking said. Not my problem. Continue reading