Tuesday, July 31, 2007

You Can't Take Me Anywhere

A colleague recently told me that he was "taking" his wife on a vacation. [He also mentioned that it was her idea and he'd rather work.] I couldn't help picturing him picking his wife up like a piece of luggage and carrying her to the airport. I tried to recall whether I have ever "taken" my husband anywhere, and I really don't think I have. I don't think he has taken me anywhere before either. We have, however, traveled together many times. Even if the trip is specifically the idea of one of us and/or one of us does the planning etc., neither of us would think of it as "taking" the other person. It's a curious phrase to use for a significant other.

15 comments:

AngryMan said...

All husbands have been taken by their wives. Taken to the horrible land of marriage :)

working said...

I hear people (mostly men) say that all the time and I think it's weird. Sometimes as a joke my husband or I will say that we're taking each other somewhere, but it's kind of dumb since we share money so we're really just going.....

sandy shoes said...

I agree it is odd. The other thing I hear a lot that really seems peculiar is the idea that I could "let" my husband do something (or he me). The whole idea of permission sort of bothers me. We're grownups and treat each other as equals.

People said last winter he "let" me go on vacation with a girlfriend. This summer I "let" him go to Europe with his family. Weird.

Jay said...

Years ago a waiter told me I was lucky to have my husband "taking me" out to dinner, since he was signing the credit card slip. I managed not to snap "I'm the one who will pay the VISA bill", and since then it's become a joke between us.

And I don't "let" him go places, either. We do check with other to make sure it's OK, but that's consideration, not permission.

I also love the assumption that when I go shopping - which is not all that often - I'm spending his money. Even if I didn't earn more than he did, it would still be *our* money

EcoGeoFemme said...

Sometimes I feel like I'm *taking* my boyfriend on trips because he's not from the U.S. I feel like I'm showing him around my country. But otherwise I object to both that phrase and 'letting' the other do something.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is seeing everything from a rabid feminist's eyes! I agree with most of your posts but sometimes you start searching for hidden connotations and male chauvinistic feelings in everything!

Anonymous said...

gives a different meaning to the phrase, "love handles" ;)

more seriously, though, I think I may have used the phrase when going to a conference and bringing my whole family with me. i.e. "what are you going to do for childcare while you're gone?" (because of course the world would end if the kids stayed with dad) "oh no, I'm taking the kids with me, hubby too"

bsci said...

Getting taken somewhere is no worse than a father "babysitting" his child... something I've heard way too many times.
I don't see the problem with "let." Whenever my wife or I wants to do something that breaks routine we ask permission to make sure we're not needed for something else at the that time. It's definitely more relevant if there are children in the family and letting one person take a vacation means the other person is a temporary single parent.

ordinarygirl said...

About the only time I remember using it is in "taking my husband to work" or "dropping him off at work" when his car was in the shop or we only had one car in use.

But usually it's the other way around since for his job he needs his car all day and I don't.

Anonymous said...

We don't 'take' each other places, but we certainly 'drag' each other places sometimes....

sandy shoes said...

"Rabid," that's lovely. Why are the nicest comments always anonymous, I wonder.

PhysioProf said...

I don't know about the particular situation you post about, but I think there is a completely innocent related context in which "taking" can be used.

My wife and I both turned 40 this year. As a birthday present, she "took" me on a trip to San Francisco to see the Yankees play the Giants. As a present to her, I am "taking" her to San Francisco to see USC play Cal in football (don't ask).

anon said...

That "letting" passive construction is actually pretty common in German and is used normally. Such as "I'm letting myself get the car fixed" when in reality you're doing it yourself.

I don't know if it's a throwback to Germanic roots of English or the fact that a lot of Americans are of German heritage. In any case, this is an alternative explanation, but even though, language construction can impart meaning. The verb for "take" is not used for people in German. In the languages that I know, I think only English uses that verb like that so it's English specific. However, sexist constructs can come from other verbs in other languages.

Colin said...

Yeah, it's weird. "Taking on holiday" is surely reserved for mistresses!

Peter said...

In a subsequent post, you write about being "imprisoned" on an island of uncles. What a curious phrase to use for a volitional act.

Maybe we're both reading too much into it.