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The problem with dancing girls

I’m the communication guy for our local writing group. That is, I send out a reminder email the day before our weekly meeting to let everyone know what’s coming up. I try to spice it up with a little humor. I figure you might as well have fun with anything you do, when appropriate. Sometimes it’s not appropriate, but that’s another story.

Well, last December I announced our annual Christmas party. You know the kind—everyone brings a “white elephant gift” and we have a large, but civilized time. Here’s where the humor comes in. I requested a vote on whether to meet at our regular meeting spot, a community center, or at a Denny’s restaurant, where we hang out once in a while. And I included the quote:

“Please vote quickly so we’ll have time to contract the dancing girls and Chippendales.”

A fellow we’ll call “Owen” responded with a request for the location. I told him “Denny’s on So-and-so Street.” Then he wrote back for the address and I looked it up for him.

So far, so good. We met, ate, exchanged gifts, had a good time, and went on our way. Then I got to thinking. Owen is from Nigeria, new to town, and had been with our group for only a couple of weeks. Uh, oh.

I put all this together in my head from Owen’s perspective. Dancing girls, Chippendales at a residence belonging to some guy named Denny. What he must have thought. Well, he came anyhow. I apologized later and he smiled and said, “I wondered…”

When we’re writing we can assume a lot of things about our readers. What have you assumed?

Categories: writing Tags: ,
  1. suspektme
    January 24, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Good question. I worked in a corporate environment for fifteen years. Alot of communication from the bottom of the ladder to the top through emails was interesting. Misunderstandings can ensue. Emotions can be implied or hidden, I always read my emails through a couple of times before hitting send, just to make sure it couldn’t be intepreted.

    I would say its a different type of languange.


  2. Shayla
    January 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA!! Poor Owen! I’m sorry I missed it!

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