Lost in Translation

It would appear that, in this day and age of many different ways to communicate, much must get misconstrued or lost in translation.

Over the years I have learnt a lot about someone by asking simple questions. They would range from something like ‘what is your favourite city?’  or ‘who do you vote for at election time?’ I must confess that I try to make it just a bit more personal so I can get just that bit closer to the subject. However, if you are a direct person and if by any chance you are considered to have a dry sense of humour, you can find yourself in all sorts of trouble.

The other day I was flying between Doha and London and in my conversation with three young women, who were working my section on a 380, I used the term ‘young ladies’.  One of them was quick to remind me that they were women and should be referred to that way. I must confess that I still do not quite get it, but apparently, it has something to do with implying age.


Not so long ago I was told that is was completely inappropriate to suggest that a woman, who had lost her husband to cancer some fourteen months earlier, should go on a date. This conversation was done via text and resulted in fracturing a  close relationship. I can’t help but feel that, had I been talking with this person face to face, my comment would have been more readily accepted as a statement made out of genuine concern.

I have also learnt much about a person by asking them to name six people they’d invite to their dinner party. Another favourite is the ‘would you rather’ conversations,  I remember Bill Clinton being asked if he wore boxers or brief’s and his answer I thought was so totally Bill.

I can learn about a woman by asking her a question about shoes and her choice based on make and price. I remember once asking a very wealthy woman who dressed in a very expensive way about her choice of underwear and she said she could not care less as it would not be seen and yet she would not step out in anything other than the latest designer label. Interesting, I thought. I took that to mean she was more interested in impressing other people rather than having herself feel good. Perhaps I was wrong.

Of course, it doesn’t always work, and there are some who think you are getting too personal. Yet in this day of selfies, where so many are prepared to post photos of themselves on social media wearing next to nothing, one can still get taken to task for asking the wrong question.

Why is it, that in this era of equality, it’s OK to talk about men’s boxers or briefs but not so OK to talk about women’s boxers or briefs?

The other day the French President was taken to task for using the term delicious when describing the Australian PM’s wife. The media covered it for a couple of days. I just shook my head. Who gives a flying f#^k? It was a compliment and should be taken that way. Move on.

Finally, to all the women who read my rants and write to me, I want to ask you – if I sent you a text saying,  Bonds or La Perla?  would you be offended? I will be interested to hear what your reaction would be. Oh, and BTW with me, it is always boxers and they have to be ironed before wearing. Now you know.

PS. That is one of the many things Bill and I do not have in common.




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  1. Heidi-Lee

    Enjoyed that … going to be an interesting journey getting to know you. Look forward to reading more of your articles

  2. Just Goes to show

    Just goes to show what get said via txt or more so on the internet. gets taken out of hand very easily, of which, reading your blog, you know of very well.

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