Some tips on how to talk while female

I got a kick out of Alexandra Petri’s column in The Washington Post, which Cindi shared today in The State, headlined “13 Tips on How To Speak While Female.” It was based on advice she’d heard on how women can sound more professional and be taken more seriously. It was pretty hilarious, as a send-up (I assume) of both the givers of those advice and those who take it seriously.

The best bits:

1) Never speak in run-on sentences. Use only sentences that Hemingway would use. Speak curtly. Speak of fish and fighting, and the deep wisdom no woman can know. Speak of hills and strong liquor. Speak of Scott Fitzgerald and his fatal weakness….

Alexandra Petri

Alexandra Petri

6) Do not baby talk, not even to babies. Especially not to babies. Avoid speaking to babies in general, as they do not control the workforce and cannot offer you advancement.

7) Never apologize. Not even once. Not for yourself, and certainly not for America. Never let “Sorry” leave your lips. If you wish to play the boardgame of that name, point at it and growl….

Nice work, Alexandra — for a dame. I like your voice, no matter what the other guys say…

7 thoughts on “Some tips on how to talk while female

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, she derived this hilarity from actual advice out there for women on how they should speak. To paraphrase Dave Barry, she was not making this up:

    I have read all the critiques of women’s vocal mannerisms and tics. No “just.” No “sorry.” No uptalk. No vocal fry. I have come to a few simple conclusions, which I have distilled into the following 13 tips.

    The vocal fry is really something. I did not know there was a word for that vocal quirk.

  2. Kathy Duffy Thomas

    I’ve heard those gems, too. I thought the piece was great. But did you read the comments? I remind myself: never read the comments.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    I just think it’s great to see a young person parodying Hemingway to good effect. Shows our schools today aren’t just teaching rot.

    “Speak of Scott Fitzgerald and his fatal weakness….” Yeah, that’s what ZELDA said

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