To be clear, I’m brand spanking new to the whole concept of safewords, but I know there’s no wading in gently, and by gently, I mean very painfully, but in a good way (or so some people say). So here goes.
I heard the term somewhere not too long ago, probably at the family dinner table now that I think about it, and then I looked it up on Urban Dictionary. Since then, I’ve been intrigued with the idea that safewords aren’t just for consenting adult time.
If you’re in the dark, allow me to illuminate, especially since my family may be reading: It’s not my bag, but it is a lot of people’s bag, and those people use an agreed upon word, decided ahead of time (this is important), that alerts the pain giver that the pain receiver has reached the end of his or her rope (pun intended). Hence, the “safe” part of the word, “safeword.” Safewords are basically the verbal version of what extreme cage-fighters do when they “tap out,” that is, when they sense the nearness of that stage of the shenanigans at which they just want off the fun bus. Hey, there’s another metaphor: Remember when buses had long cords that ran from the front of the bus to the back, and one would pull it as a way of telling the driver to stop the bus? Exactly.
Semantics aside, let’s ease into how safewords work. A safeword must be completely unrelated to adult time of this sort. In other words, it should be random, given the context of the situation. And since it is designed to instantaneously halt unwanted activity, brevity is key! Examples of good safewords might be “log!” or “toe!” But make no mistake, what it means is, “Seriously. Not kidding. No, for real this time, knock it off!”
(Note: If by now you’ve stopped reading to Google “safeword” yourself, and yet you’ve come back for more, our safeword for this column is, “acorn.”
Surprising Fact: Everyday folk like you and me use safewords regularly without even realizing it. Take for example the following activities, and the safewords one might use to bring them to an immediate and abrupt halt:
Wednesdays – Friday: “Double Martini-two-olives-up!” (A little long, yet effective, nevertheless.)
At the precise moment those safewords (or hyphenated phrases) are uttered, it’s over! Desks, half-made lasagnas, conversations, and children not dependent on their parents for survival are left abandoned, and the pain ceases. BAM!
Circling back, it’s occurred to me recently that the world needs more safewords for everyday situations. So I’ve come up with some, when I can’t take even one more second of the nonsense going on around me, whether I’m scanning Facebook, watching politicians move their mouths while holding microphones, or hanging around my kitchen.
I tested my theory recently, during a particularly painful Skype instant messaging conversation with a co-worker, when I wanted the asinine banter about absolutely nothing to just stop. So I abruptly typed, “safeword!” into the message field, and I waited. I chuckled at my cleverness. I knew he’d understand my point, which was, “Duuuude, my brain is going to pop out of my left ear and plop onto the floor like a poached egg if I remain in this conversation for one more second.” So of course, the reply I expected to see was, “Ha ha. See ya.” But the message that popped up? “Cadiddlehopper.”
What the heck? I decided to investigate (I regretted it). So I typed:
“That was my and my first-wife’s safeword.”
“That seems like a lot of syllables when you’re like, you know…”
“We never used it.”
He did not reply. He got it. (See poached egg section above.)
Here’s another situation when safewords might come in handy: convos with husbands about sports.
Husband: “So, blah, blah, quarterback, blah, blah, fantasy football team, blah, blah, trade…”
Husband: “What the heck is that?”
Wife: “It’s a safeword.”
Husband: “What’s a safeword?”
Wife: “Well, in this context, it’s a word that means, ‘Shhhhh.’”
Husband: “But why did you say it?”
Wife: “I’m in pain. I want it to stop.”
Now that I’ve covered the office and sports, let’s move on to the recent election.
Photos courtesy of Lisa Lucke
First published at The Surreal Housewife