A light-hearted (perhaps foolish) post about the language we use and the choices we make

2014-03-07 19.44.08I’ve been thinking about our interpretations of different words, the influences and the lexical choices we make in our writing. There’s something to be said about how different genders use the language, but it doesn’t really apply here.

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow blogger (and when I say conversation I mean we exchanged comments), about the word giggle. Me, being me, I couldn’t get it out of my head, and so I wrote a short story about it – just a little humour.

So, this one’s for you Celestial Equation!


Melissa took up position at her restored, and freshly painted desk and surveyed her surroundings. She had her industrial sized mug of coffee, a sugary snack, her reference books and her beloved computer – she was good to go.

She resisted the urge to click her fingers, as she is prone to do, and instead positioned them over the key-board.

‘Okay,’ she murmured to herself. ‘Let’s rock and roll.’

Tate gave the signal, and the SWAT team descended on the small house like a swarm of highly-trained insects. It took them less than a minute to understand their Intel had been wrong and the rat-hole was deserted.

“Son of a bitch,” Riley muttered. “I thought we had them.” He kicked at the stones in the front yard.

“Jeez,” Tate said, rolling his eyes in his partner’s direction. “Why don’t you cry about it?”

The adrenalin had left his body and left Riley feeling a little hyper. He giggled and…

‘Whoa, whoa, wait just a minute.’

Melissa’s hands hovered over the keys as her inner editor reared her ugly head. If she were in front of her now, instead of locked in her mind, she would have glared at her for the interruption.

‘What now?’ She knew what the problem was, she just had to see it through.

‘Riley does not giggle.’

‘Why not. I just explained he’s full of nervous energy and…’

‘You’re not using it in the right context here.’

‘I beg to differ.’ Melissa rolled her eyes, though the action made no difference to the know-it-all raining on her parade.

‘Men do not giggle.’

‘Who says?’

‘Well I do obviously. Little boys giggle, teenage girls giggle – men do not giggle.’

‘Now you’re being sexist. Why should women have the monopoly on a laughter forms?

‘Are your trying to be clever? I’m the brains around here, and as I was saying. Men may chuckle, snort, snicker, snigger, chortle, but they only giggle if it’s to tease the woman they’re with – or maybe if they’re really nervous…’

Melissa leapt on this. ‘Exactly, expelling nervous energy. Riley has respect for Tate but also a healthy dose of fear…’ She broke off when the doubts started to crowd in and brought up the internet. Typing quickly she researched the term and scanned the results.

‘Giggle,’ she said aloud. ‘A light, silly laugh…’

‘Just change the word and move on.’

‘No,’ Melissa held her ground. ‘I don’t think this is as cut and dry and you make it seem. You act all tough, but sometimes you get it wrong and maybe this is one of those times.’ She stood up and began to pace. ‘You can’t pigeon-hole people…’

‘Please, get off your damn soap box. It’s just a word. If you want to use it, be my guest. Just don’t come complaining to me when you fall on your face.

Melissa started to giggle, she couldn’t help it. It felt so good, and really it was a lovely sound. She pictured the character in her head and Riley was laughing right with her. Was he giggling – maybe, maybe not. But it really didn’t matter.


Thanks for indulging me. In all seriousness, this is a topic that interests me. Not giggling, but the choices we make and the scripts we have in our head that dictate how we interpret something. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Until next time




Great post and a very interesting point! It’s odd to think that certain words have become associated with specific genders when in fact their definition lends itself to either. I suppose writers use them in certain ways because of reader perceptions but readers only perceive them in that way because of prior use – if that makes sense at all!

We give words their real meaning, so I suppose it is up to us to trust our instincts and overcome stereotypes if we believe a word is right for the situation 🙂

I also love the idea of the short you wrote; having an argument with your internal editor is something most of us will likely relate to!

It makes perfect sense, and I think you’re absolutely right. It’s difficult sometimes but if we take a step back it becomes easier.

I know it sounds trite, but as writers we have a responsibility to set an example, and as you said we give meaning to the words.

I’m glad you liked the short about my inner editor. I knew fellow writers would be able to associate, and of course those with a strong inner voice can see the humour in it.

Thanks for your contribution 🙂

What a great post, you make a great point 🙂 I guess I would never write that one of my male characters ‘giggled’, though I think I may have to now 😀

🙂 I had exactly the same thoughts! Thanks for the comment. Mel

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