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5 words we should ban along with bossy

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has been popping up all over my Facebook News Feed ever since she unveiled her campaign to ban the word bossy. I for one would actually love to be called bossy, because it might imply that people see me as boss material, or at the very least someone worth paying attention to, or listening to, or not ignoring completely when I politely leave post-it notes asking not to take any of my good Mexican glass bottle Cokes out of the fridge.


But I also hate being told what to do. I feel like I’m constantly being bossed around. By my boss. By the government. So yeah, let’s get rid of the word bossy. I’m all for hashtagging BanBossy. But why stop there? While we’re at it, here’s a list of other words long overdue for a ban:

1. Hairy

I remember when I was a little kid and my family would go on vacation every summer, it would always be a shock to see my dad put on a bathing suit and take off his shirt to jump in the pool. Because it’s not a sight we were used to seeing around the house. Now that I’m a grown man, I feel that same instant recoil, the jolt of disbelief every time I step in front of the mirror on my way into the shower. Nobody told me when I was a little kid exactly what I was in for as an adult.

And even though I try my best at manscaping to a degree of acceptable manageability, every once in a while someone will say something to me like, “Dude, your hands are fucking hairy.” I just smile and try to act casual, but I really want to grab them on the wrist, pull them in close, look them dead in the eye and say, “It’s not just my hands. It’s everywhere. And it’s getting worse. Help me.” Please, it’s time to #BanHairy.

2. Lanky

Here’s a word with absolutely no positive connotations whatsoever, yet it’s thrown around casually, like a term of endearment, the way you’d call a loveable yet disheveled looking puppy mangy or mutt. You might not think lanky is that big of a deal, but you try being a 160-pound high school sophomore who, after a very intensive growth spurt, rockets up to six foot three almost overnight. Would you be able to control the trajectory of your limbs at all times? Do you think it’s easy to constantly not trip while walking or running?

Fast forward ten years and you’re waiting tables for a living. You’ve filled out somewhat, but your arms and legs are still disproportionately long, and the effect is only pronounced when the restaurant can’t seem to find a waiter’s uniform that fits just right. Then there are the accidents, the spilled glass of wine, the five or so dropped platter plates in the kitchen. Just try it, I dare you, see what happens if you say lanky. This applies also to gangly, klutzy, and spastic, OK, but it’s long overdue that we #BanLanky.

3. Clingy

Listen, I don’t think that I’m spending too much time calling you. I just love you so much. Is there something wrong with showing my affection? Yes, after you explained to me how embarrassed you were after I sent that barbershop quartet to serenade you at the office for Valentine’s Day, I get it, that it was maybe too big of a gesture. But if you’d only synch our Google calendars like I’ve been telling you we should, I’d have known that you were in the middle of a really important presentation, I could have waited until later in the day.

And look, I’m behaving myself here, on the Internet. I’m not doing those big public displays of love on the Internet anymore, where I write your full name in the middle of the article, tag you, and then post it all over your Facebook wall. I get it, personal space, boundaries, all of those things the lawyer highlighted in the subpoena, OK, I know how to read. Baby, just give me a call and we can talk about it, OK? Baby? Just don’t call me clingy, OK? We’ve seriously got to #BanClingy.

4. Spicy

Here’s a word that, in its quest to be everything, ultimately winds up meaning nothing. Actually, it’s worse than nothing, it’s doing a disservice to language. It’s like, I went to a Vietnamese place last night with my brother. After I ordered my food, the waiter warned me, “Oooh, that’s pretty spicy.” I told him, “That’s OK, I like spicy.” My brother then put in his dish, to which the waiter said the same thing, “That’s very spicy.”

Ultimately both of our dishes packed about as much heat as a packet and a half of “mild” sauce from Taco Bell, but as we sat there and wondered if maybe the chefs watered down the seasoning because they didn’t think we could handle it, we both recalled different experiences in which dishes marked as “spicy” were served so hot as to be practically inedible. And that’s the problem with spicy. That bag of BBQ Fritos over there is labeled “spicy,” but so is that ghost pepper that would render my tongue immobile. We need more words, vocabulary that’s better able to describe the various degrees of heat. Until then, there’s no option but to #BanSpicy.

5. Lucky

It’s just like Obi Wan said in the middle of Episode IV: “In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.” It’s all skill. Like when I was playing my friend Matt in a game of HORSE last week, he was destroying me. Left-handed shot from the point. H. Three point shot on one foot. H-O. By the time he cornered me all the way to H-O-R-S, I didn’t have any choice. So I started pulling my junk shots out. Slam-dunk. H. Matt’s a lot shorter than me and can’t reach the rim. H-O. Another dunk. And another. H-O-R-S for the tie game.

“You lanky motherfucker!” Matt was pissed. (#BanLanky.) “This is beyond cheap, Rob. I bet you ten bucks you can’t win on a real shot. A three-pointer.” Ten bucks? I couldn’t resist. “You’re on.” And yeah, I don’t have much of an outside shot, but for whatever reason, this one just sailed in, a total swish. And Matt, he hits maybe nine out of ten, a great shot, he missed this one, a brick. Of course I gloated a little, I mean, it’s a competition. And as he handed over the ten singles, he commented, “What a lucky shot.” You know what Matt? It wasn’t luck. It was skill. I don’t always hit those shots, but that one was a perfect three. OK? You can’t take that victory away from me by calling it lucky. Because it wasn’t. And now look. Everybody’s reading about this on the Internet. And they’re all hearing about what a baby you were. I won, fair and square. #BanLucky.

Originally published on Thought Catalog

10 essential tips for dating Spider-Man

  1. Don’t mess around with his web-shooters

    Seriously, they’re not toys, OK, he needs them for fighting crime. Besides, that webbing could potentially be kind of dangerous. What if you press the button and it covers your nose and mouth? It takes like at least an hour for that stuff to dissolve. You’d suffocate. Spider-Man cares about you a lot, he doesn’t want to see you suffocate. All I’m saying is, you get really mad when Spider-Man goes through your purse to look for those mints you always carry around. Respect his personal boundaries accordingly.


  2. You won’t know who he’s hanging out with at work

    Spider-Man spends a lot of his time with other adults dressed up in various superhero costumes. While of course he would love to introduce you to his crime-fighting coworkers, there’s the whole secret identity thing that you have to keep in mind. That’s just the nature of his business. If people figured out who you were, they might be able to trace the link back to him. The next thing you know, Mysterio shows up at your house to kidnap you and draw Spider-Man into a trap. Do you want that kind of guilt hanging over your head? Besides, isn’t it kind of cool, the secret nature or your relationship? It’s like a hidden treasure, something only the two of you get to share.

  3. It’s not that he didn’t like the surprise birthday party you threw for him

    It’s just that, with his built in spider-sense, it’s really hard to pull a fast one on Spider-Man. Even if it’s the most well-intentioned secret, as soon you start getting past the idea stage into the actual execution, his alarm bells immediately start ringing. And yeah, he tried to act surprised, but everybody knows that Spider-Man is a terrible actor.

  4. If he’s being a dick, maybe it’s the alien costume

    All you’re trying to do is make plans to do something special on Saturday night, and he’s all not paying attention or putting in any effort to show that he even wants to spend time with you. Even regular boyfriends get in weird moods sometimes. But has Spider-Man been acting even more difficult and aggressive than usual? Maybe it’s the alien costume. It’s kind of a long story, but a while back, Spider-Man was sent to an alien world with a bunch of other superheroes to battle a collection of the earth’s nastiest bad guys. While snooping out some high-tech lab, he found an alien costume that shifted its appearance just based on his thoughts. But it turned out to be an evil alien parasite, slowly filling Spider-Man’s mind with hate and violence. The next time Spider-Man gets his spandex in a twist, maybe suggest changing into something more comfortable? If he gets really defensive, it’s probably the alien costume.

  5. Or it could be the clones

    This is kind of like the alien costume problem, but without as much overt Spider-Man being a dick. It’s like, you make plans with Spider-Man early in the day, and then when you see him later in the afternoon, he’s like, “Plans? What plans?” Don’t jump to conclusions. There’s a pretty good chance that there might be a bunch of Spider-clones running around, and the Spider-Man who you talked with in the morning might be a different Spider-Man from later in the day.

  6. Try not to get upset if he doesn’t return your calls right away

    Spider-Man disappears all the time. The X-Men need help in Antarctica and there’s no time to explain. The Green Goblin blasts him with a shrink-pumpkin and he has to figure out a way to return to normal size. Remember what I was talking about with alien costume? He was on that other planet for weeks. His girlfriend at the time simply couldn’t understand, and she dumped him. If you’re dating Spider-Man, you’ve got to get used to long stretches of time where he doesn’t return any of your calls or texts. But try not to get too worried. He usually makes it back home in good shape.

  7. Stay away from the Brooklyn Bridge

    He does his best to protect the ones he loves the most, but every once in a while, even Spider-Man falls short. Years ago he was dating this girl Gwen and, well, she fell off the Brooklyn Bridge. It was kind of the Green Goblin’s fault. Still. Just stay away from bridges.

  8. Avoid keywords that might trigger a long boring speech

    Power. Great. Responsibility. Uncle Ben. Nobody likes tiptoeing around their words, but unless you really like listening to that, “Great power, great responsibility” speech, do yourself a favor and don’t mention any of these triggers. In fact, if you feel like a conversation might be steering in this direction, try changing the subjects. Worst case, mention that you thought you heard someone screaming down the block. Because it’s a really boring speech, and he won’t shut up about it.

  9. Don’t offer to do his laundry

    You might think you’re being helpful, getting that gross smell out of his Spider-Man costume. But it’s impossible. Do you know where he goes in that thing? Sometimes in the sewer. Other times he’s fighting bad guys at the dump. It’s a nasty job, and if you mix any of your clothes in the same load as that costume, all you’re going to do is make your stuff smell like garbage too. And do you think Spider-Man wants to date somebody that smells like that? Come on, he gets enough of that at work. Just do your own laundry, and Spider-Man will do his.

  10. Don’t expect a happy ending

    Just try to enjoy the ride, because it’s not going to end well. Even if you somehow manage to not get thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge, even if things wind up going incredibly well, like you get married, maybe you’ll be expecting a child, it’s only a matter of time before it all blows up in your face. Doctor Octopus is going to steal the baby, and then it’s going to turn out that you weren’t really pregnant in the first place. At least you’ve got that marriage to fall back on, right? Wrong. Something might happen to Aunt May and Spider-Man might be forced to wish away your years of marital bliss in a deal with the devil in return for the safety of his elderly aunt. I’m just saying, the universe doesn’t want Spider-Man to be happy, and the closer you are to Spider-Man, the higher the chances that you’re going to be a part of that misery. Get out while you can. Why not try talking to the Hulk? Or Batman? Batman’s rich. Really rich. You should call up Batman.

Originally published on Thought Catalog