Word Issues #7: Vain

Have you ever thought about the Polish word “próżny” (“vain, void”) very, very deeply, as if your life depended on it?

Because when you do, one of the things you may notice is that this word has two distinct meanings which are different yet the same.

“Próżny”, when applied to containers, rooms and such, means more or less the same thing as “empty”.

Another meaning generally applies to women who want to hear compliments and are unhappy when they don’t. When you think of it very, very deeply though, it means “empty” just as well.

You see those women around you? They’re empty. You must tell them they’re pretty, and they’ll be filled. Fulfilled. You must say that often to keep them in that state.

I have a friend who thinks all women are to some extent vain and need to hear compliments from time to time. Back when we were exchanging e-mails more often, he used to compliment me randomly because I didn’t know how to tell him it doesn’t do much for me.

Now I’m thinking perhaps I should write him an e-mail saying that he’s been wrong all his life.

Because it has never occurred to me with such clarity before that there’s millions of ways in which a woman, or anyone other than that, can be filled, fulfilled, happy or whatever you wish to call it, and not just from time to time but every day.

Music. Work. Friendship. Sex. Writing. Taking care of someone else. The scent of air when Spring is just around the corner. You know, the sort of things that make you hum “because the world is round it turns me on.”

So much of it out there, and inside of you, too. Why would anyone prefer to just hang around waiting to hear they’re pretty?


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I'm an unprofessional writer, reader and translator. I'm also a walking, breathing and listening addict. And I love being all that.

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