Patas, Mouths, Mistakes
El que tiene boca, se equivoca.
¿Cuantas veces no hemos metido la pata? Most times, from literally opening our bocas one too many times – perhaps at the wrong time, in front of the wrong people, or even worse, without even realizing every single word we are saying is being heard…almost always by the one person we don’t want to know exactly what we really think.
And once it’s done, it’s not like we can just take our words back or pretend they were never said. They’re out there! Up for interpretation, miscommunication, confrontation, etc. All we can do? Damage control.
¡Ay, es que no me entendiste! You did not understand what I was saying, or how I was saying it. You missed the context of my words. How much did you actually hear? Had you heard the rest of my conversation, you would understand why I said what you heard – an honest attempt at completely annihilating the other person’s interpretation of our words.
However, be forewarned this excuse only will work a limited number of times. Soon enough you’ll be hearing: no estes chingando, como que no entendi si no estoy sordo…or any other similar reclamaciones.
Then you may you want to move on to option # 2.
¡Yo no dije eso! With fury in the voice. What are you taking about? I never said that! You must be imagining things! Whatever! – the thought of you thinking about me in such a way that I would say such a thing is so enraging that it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs.
Combined with a furled brow and somber face this single action may very well avoid many a heated yelling matches…at least the ones where you are the one getting yelled at.
If even this attempt does not deliver the expected outcome, one final suggestion. Mujeres, you are particularly good at this one…don’t deny it, just accept it. Suelta el llanto. Open the floodgates and let the lagrimas de cocodrilo flow.
Your poor fellow will be so confused and ridden with guilt that he won’t know what to do to calm you down (he knows if you’re not at peace, he surely won’t be). The last thing he’ll want to do is continue any argument where you’ll be shedding tears and spewing feelings all over the place.
With other women, though, this method likely will not work. Like a sixth sense, most women can also seemingly detect when another member of their same sex is spinning lies to get what they want. Sort of like The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf…only the adult female version.
Maybe it’s all the telenovela watching, or just the many years of practice, but after putting my foot in my mouth one too many times, and in preparation for the many more times that surely are to come, I can honestly say I consider myself somewhat of an expert on all of these defense mechanisms.
On a sort of related side note, more of a public service announcement: if you’re going to talk smack…make sure you’re not leaving the person you are talking smack about a voicemail recording with every single word you utter on it.
Not a very smart move.
No metas la pata.
Juan Alanis writes Juan of Words, where he reflects on Latino culture and examines popular dichos.
A version of this essay originally was published on Juan of Words.