Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm still a stranger here myself

Outing, per Merrian-Websters online dictionary:
Function: noun 1 : a brief usually outdoor pleasure trip 2 : an athletic competition or race; also : an appearance therein 3 : a usually public presentation or appearance (as in a particular role) 4 : the public disclosure of the covert homosexuality of a prominent person especially by homosexual activists
Per Wikepedia:
While outing often refers to an outdoor excursion, in the late twentieth century the term acquired an additional meaning: taking someone "out of the closet" - that is, publicising that someone is gay.
Not knowing the subtle meaning of this word, I created a new email handle and announced it to some of my friends. First my husband gave me a weird look, then people stopped replying to my emails. I have no closet to jump out of, no stone to turn over, just a foot in the mouth and a big mess with my emails. I used to think baby shower had something to do with washing a baby, and driving in a carpool may involve getting your car wet. America, just as I thought I could fool everyone but myself, you prove to me that, after all, I'm still a stranger here.


Marguerite said...

Thanks for the laugh. I read your post to my husband and he shared in the laughter.

Hope you're able to laugh about this now. Or at least soon, when you get your email mess cleared up.

Romi said...

Heeee. I've also had that experience with other languages! But don't feel like a stranger. :)

Karin said...

I can really relate, as non-native speaker....when I first came here as an exchange student, in 1983, and kind people would invite me to their houses, how many times do you think I thanked them for their "hostility" instead of their "hospitality"? After all, they were the hosts!
Also that year, a trip to Florida. All those billboards advertising condominiums? I thought those Americans are a very liberal people...talking about birth control so openly...
Oh, and what do you think tree nursery means?
Vivian, the first step is to forgive yourself. And then remember you are more fluent than a lot of people...