Monday, November 9, 2009


Today's word: mediatrix.  Definition: A woman who is a mediator.

I've never thought about this before, but I'm guessing that the suffix "trix" can only be added to words that end in "tor."  As in "dominatrix" is a female "dominator," and "terminatrix" is a female "terminator."  This is a shame, really, since adding "trix" makes everything sound so much more badass.

For example, if I told you we were going to resolve our differences with the aid of a mediator, you would think, "Okay, fine. A calm, unbiased third party will help us gain perspective."  But if I told you our session was being conducted by a mediatrix, you might assume there would be whips and chains involved.

Because of course "trix" has gained the scandalous reputation as being associated with sado-masochistic sexual appetites and conjures images of a leather-clad seductress in stilettos spanking a submissive.  At least it does for those of us who had cable growing up.

I think it would be interesting to combine mediatrix and dominatrix as a profession, and to send this woman in to broker the vote on healthcare.  I'm willing to bet we get an acceptable resolution much faster if the threat of being hog-tied and doused with hot wax looms large over the senate chambers. Would "death panel" be a good safeword? Then again, we are talking about Washington, which seems to be a veritable breeding ground for disturbing nocturnal extracurriculars, so maybe this effort would backfire.

I once heard the phrase "With great power comes great libido," and I wonder if that's true.  It seems to be.  It does appear that the "L" in "election" immediately transforms into an "R" the minute the polls close.  But I also wonder if we would be equally shocked, if not more so, to learn what our neighbors do behind closed doors. 

Not that I intend to pry.  I really do think I'm better off not knowing -- ignorance is bliss when it comes to learning embarrassing secrets about people you need to talk to every day.  I will probably have a difficult time interacting with you if I automatically picture you in lacy underwear. Especially if you're a dude.  That's a keep-it-to-yourselfer.

Here's another example.  When I was in college, my friends and I lived on the top floor of our dorm, and the antennas on the roof often interfered with any electronic equipment.  Stereos, computers, you name it. They sometimes went on the fritz.  For a few days, this phenomenon affected my friend's cordless phone, and she could pick up other people's conversations.

One night, she happened upon two people who were ... how shall I put it ... enjoying each other verbally.  Toward the "end" of the conversation, (let's call it the climax, for lack of a better word) the man took it upon himself to call out the woman's name.  Her FULL name.

a.  Who does that?
b.  Why did it have to be someone I knew?
c.  Why did I have to sit next to her in Biology 110?

These are all valid questions, I think.  Suffice it to say that I found it hard to share notes without inquiring if it was good for her.  Maybe we could have been lab partners with the help of a mediatrix.

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