I was coming back into the garage after taking the garbage out.  As I walked in, my wife was leaning against the door frame, waiting for me.  She rubbed one foot against her calf and smiled.  She had heard me stirring and was concerned everything was ok (it was, but I decided that as long as the cat had me awake, I’d put the trash out before I went back to bed).
When I looked up and saw her framed in the doorway she was sexy, engaging, and charming, in a very pretty way.  If you are a guy you know exactly what I almost said.  “You are really cute.”  If you’ve learned from living you know I didn’t say that.
For a guy, the word “cute” applied to a girl means “pretty, but better” a sort of “pretty, but more.”  At some time, most guys also learn not to ever use the word within earshot of the girl it applies to.  This essay explains why.
When a guy hears a girl described as “cute” he hears both “pretty” and “cheerful, engaging and lacking [long set of negatives.”  (e.g. cute excludes “stuck-up” for example).  Ah, but when a girl hears “cute’ — what does she hear.
Well, all guys know that “cute” has three meanings.  There is that pretty girl I’d like to ask out “cute.”  There is charming child “cute.”  There is puppy dog “cute.”  A girl has only one meaning when she says or hears the word.  It isn’t the first two.  If she hears you call her “cute” she hears “that girl is like a puppy dog.” Which I learned for the first time as a girl vented all over me about my calling her “cute.”
To me that meant she was pretty and someone I would like to ask out (and was working up to suggest a date).  To her it meant I put her in the same class as a puppy dog.  Which kind of crushed her feelings, so she told me.  I did not get the date I was working up to, but I learned something important.
So, when I saw my wife looking attractive, beautiful and perfect, I caught myself before I said “you are so cute.”  If you are a guy, you should catch yourself too.
That is my light hearted relationship advice for this week.  With any luck it will go over better than my light hearted “cheeseburger” post I did for FMH.  If not, I’ll explain the fourth meaning of “cute.”