Dating by cliché

Today’s Bizarro:

Dan Piraro has chosen to have all four clichés attributed to both parties in the event. Maybe we’re supposed to see the exchange as alternating between the man and the woman, or maybe we can mix and match.

[Bonus observation: the synthetic compound speed-dating (however punctuated) has of course given rise to a two-part back-formed verb speed-date. Lots of hits for to speed-date and speed-dated, both intransitive and transitive.]

4 Responses to “Dating by cliché”

  1. mollymooly Says:

    Disappointingly few hits for “sped dated”; and “sped date” is all noise.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      To mollymooly: yes, I too had hoped for distribution of the PST/PSP category from DATE to SPEED. (I’m slowly collecting examples of this sort of spread.) Maybe the spreading is inhibited by the fact that SPEED has so extensively been regularized (with PST/PSP speeded rather than sped very common); my guess is that “assimilation” of inflectional category is more likely when it produces an irregular form than when it produces a regular one.

      But this is all speculation at the moment.

  2. John Baker Says:

    I believe the idea is that each dater is saying the same thing at the same time, and each is annoyed that the other is doing so. This is apparently a conventional date, not speed dating, since “always do that” implies prior contact. The joke, then, is that this is a conventional date that ends speedily, not speed dating in its standard sense.

    Are these really all cliches? “I love your eyes” may not be a novel remark, but it does not sound at all trite or hackneyed to me.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      To John Baker: I wrestled for some time about what to call things like “I love your eyes” (or, in a very different context, “We need to talk”, about which I’ve written here), and settled faute de mieux on cliché. “Standard lines in specific contexts or for specific purposes” is more like it, but that scarcely rolls off the tongue.

      The existing conceptual apparatus for formulaic expressions is seriously screwed up, probably because for centuries people have been noting specific examples of formulaicity (loosely construed) and assigning names to them, and then taking the names to characterize the objects of study. (There’s a similar problem in the world of rhetorical figures, which is pretty much a morass.)

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