啥是Shopping telepathy?送情人禮物是門藝術,千萬別送錯了還沾沾自喜





















之前我整理過許多經濟學人雜誌The Economist的文章給大家參考。不曉得是不是因為經濟學人這四個字(或是英文the Economist本身)讓大家覺得可怕,經濟學人雜誌的相關文章點閱率總是不及其他的八卦或是...醜比頭這類的療癒系文章來得高。

不過好消息是,去年經濟學人推出了「軟性版」雜誌。裡面有很多藝術、美食與人文方面的文章。我在iPhone手機上下載專屬APP,現在坐捷運也可以閱讀。更令人開心的是,The Economist Intelligent Life裡面的文章一樣非常精彩。我以過來人的經驗告訴各位,政治經濟的英文不難寫,軟性的文章其實比較考驗功力,因為前者重要的是觀點,後者則需要更多人生智慧與個人特色才能打動人。大家考過托福的都曉得,托福寫作考兩個單元,通常比較容易的應該是學術(整合題),最難寫好的是獨立題,也就是抒發個人意見的題目。

如果你沒空看小說或是報章雜誌,請將The Economist Intelligent Life加到我的最愛,點幾篇有興趣的文章來看看。上回我閱讀到一系列非常精彩的文章(過年期間我會整理一下與大家分享)就是經濟學人請來了幾個重量級的主編,要他們來談談心目中最棒的美國總統是誰。那些文章讓我看到口水都流下來了...實在是非常精彩。


















大家有興趣上去網站看看(請google關鍵字即可),過年期間又多了一個可以造訪的網站。今天先跟各位分享我最喜歡的作家之一,Rebecca Willis的作品。Rebecca 是經濟學人週刊The Economist Intelligent Life的副總編,文筆詼諧有趣。她有一個專欄,叫做Applied fashion應用時尚,寫很多跟人以及流行有關的見解與觀察,戲而不謔,詼諧中帶有人文深度。我最喜歡的一篇其實是關於豹紋流行的觀察,不過那篇我下回再分享,先挑這篇有趣話題,男生女生都可以看。

對於非單身的女性而言,幫男友或是另一半裝扮似乎不是什麼新鮮事,不過可別指望男生會因此心存感謝。我年輕的時候,送過某位前男友一個幾萬塊錢的側背包,結果對方一次也沒用過。後來鼓起勇氣問對方為什麼不拿出來用,對方想了半天才支支吾吾的說,因為覺得很醜。啥?醜!?我心中不斷地OS,老娘就是因為你現在背的這個包包太醜了,才買這個好康的給你,結果你竟然要背你的Nike,而不要我送的Bally?

以上這種氣死人的送禮經驗放諸全全宇宙皆準。看到了Rebecca寫shopping telepathy之後,突然會心一笑,覺得還好我不孤單。送禮是一門藝術,按照作者的說法,要與伴侶擁有一樣的品味,可能得等上好幾輩子。telepathy這個字中文的意思是心電感應,兩人心有靈犀,唉,此生可能只存在於夢想裡。

情人節快到了,我在這邊建議各位,與其給你的戀人一個Surprise,不如直接問他喜歡什麼最好。不然你買個手表,他卻說我想要Xbox,那豈不是太不浪漫。同理可證,男性同胞啊,千萬不要再買3C用品給你的女友或老婆了。我的好友某日跟我說,她終於受不了,因為她的丈夫送給她的結婚紀念日禮物,讓她想要離婚。

「這傢伙送我三年的電腦防毒軟體,還沾沾自喜,我只想殺了他!」

所以各位,學英文之餘也可以長智慧。台灣好像不流行將發票一併拿給受禮者。其實這方面不如學學老外,把發票放在禮物裡面,至少對方還有機會拿回去換貨...



Dressing Your Other Half
Applied Fashion: shopping telepathy is a seductive idea, but Rebecca Willis warns that buying clothes for your significant other伴侶 can be fraught with充滿了 hidden messages...

From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, November/December 2012

Back in the days when I wrote about hotels for a living, the man I was eventually to marry sometimes joined me on my travels. And a curious thing would happen as we crossed the latest hip-hotel lobby最前衛最潮的旅館大廳: a thought would flash across my mind一個念頭會突然閃過腦海—"what a hideous醜陋 lamp", for instance—and a micro-second later不到一秒鐘的時間 he would say: "I love that lamp, I wonder where it's from?" It could be a sofa, a painting, a fabric, a paint colour: whatever, I soon learnt to wait for the inverse echo倒轉的回音(也就另外一個完全相反意見的聲音) of my reaction. It was the first inkling跡象 that we might not be totally compatible in the taste department我與他的品味可能南轅北轍. My eyes were fully opened when we moved in together and I found that the gorgeous John Smedley T-shirts設計師T I'd just bought for him had been put on a pile heading for Oxfam舊衣回收的慈善機構.

It's a beguiling notion欺騙的想法 that you should be able to divine the sartorial taste男性品味 of your loved one(這整句的意思是,如果你覺得可以影響另一半的穿著品味,那你就大錯特錯了), and that over the years you'll absorb an accurate sense of what they like and don't like. The subtext of buying clothes for them is, "We are so close, I can choose for you." Those are high stakes風險非常高.

In theory, the gift receipt禮物收據(在國外,送禮給他人時通常會附上購買的收據,很像我們的發票,目的是為了告訴對方兩件事:1.這禮物真的是我買的。2.如果你不喜歡我幫你挑的東西,你可以換貨。這麼做當然是為了確保你花的錢沒白浪費,讓受禮者還有機會再次感受到你的好意) is one of the great discoveries of modern life, the Higgs-Boson of the retail sector. But they're for friends that you don't know so well. Of course you say to your partner "the receipt is in the bag這句話要客套地跟收禮者說,收據在裡面喔,也就是暗示,如果不喜歡可以拿回去換貨". But you don't really mean that they should use it—that would feel like rejection. Look at it the other way, though, and your gift can seem like a rejection of them, suggesting that they could be improved upon.

This isn't a problem for everyone. Two of my female colleagues say they do all their husbands' clothes shopping. A male friend muses若有所思地說 that he used to be quite well dressed before he met his wife, but let himself go after they got married; it transpired on之後透露 further enquiry that he'd only been well dressed because of a previous girlfriend. Perhaps these men are not at all image-conscious或許這些男人並不是真的那麼在乎自己的外型, and see shopping as a household chore購物被視為是家事的一部分 that just needs to be done by someone, then ticked off the list有人做就算交差,誰管那麼多. But to anyone who likes clothes and sees the way we choose to dress as an expression of our individuality 穿著是反映一個人特色的方式(and not caring counts as a choice too不在乎穿著也可以算是一種態度), this arrangement would be anathema令人厭惡的(事情). I might ask a friend to pick up a pint of milk for me, but not a dress. And I wouldn't want my lover to be my stylist. I wonder whether it is ever really possible to know the taste of another? Friends of mine who are architects, a couple, live in an immaculate home無懈可擊的家(指裝潢與擺設都非常到位) that speaks of shared likes and instinctive agreement on everything in it (whereas we have bare walls because we can't agree which paintings to hang). They seem the most likely candidates for shopping telepathy購物時的心電感應,也就是指兩個人喜歡的東西都一樣. But the woman tells me that, after many years of receiving "architectural" jewellery for Christmas and birthdays, she had to explain to her husband in words of slightly more than one syllable: "Just because I'm an architect doesn't mean I like this stuff—I like dainty秀氣精緻, feminine jewellery." 這段話很有意思,女方是個建築師,所以老公自然而然以為老婆喜歡的是陽剛味濃厚(充滿建築風格的珠寶首飾)一開始老婆不好意思說真話,都客氣的收下了,不過之後接連收到許多所謂的建築風格珠寶之後,真的再也受不了,只有坦白:雖然我是建築師,但是珠寶飾品還是喜歡比較秀氣或女性化風格一點的設計。

In case it's a generational thing不同世代會有的不同看法, I ask a colleague who's almost a quarter-century younger小自己二十五歲 than I am whether she and her contemporaries shop for each other with ease. But she is equally cautious: "It would be embarrassing to restyle your partner重新為伴侶做外型的改造," she says. "What you want them to wear isn't necessarily what they want to wear." She and her best girlfriend have a game when travelling together—they flick through快速翻閱 a fashion magazine and have to choose the item on each page that the other one would wear. "Even after years of friendship, we only have about a 60% success rate. If she can't get it right, what chance has my boyfriend got?"如果連姊妹淘都不一定了解我們喜歡什麼,男朋友就更甭提了。

Exactly. When my husband and I go out to dinner, we often look as if we're off to different functions—a barbecue in the country for him, a cocktail party in the city for me作者跟老公外出用餐的裝扮,完全大異其趣,根本不像是要去相同場合的。男生穿的好像要去鄉下參加烤肉派對,女生則是要參加雞尾酒會. He has given up buying me jewellery because he says I always take it back (true; but the things I swap換貨 it for, I wear every day). There is a great art, when a present-receiving situation is in the offing較遠可見的海洋, in Letting It Be Known what you might like. With a product code, if possible.這整句話的意思是,送禮是個藝術,所以將來要人有人要送你東西的時候,記得告訴對方自己喜歡什麼,最好明確一點,連產品名稱都說清楚(省得對方選購個半天,最後白費心機)
Rebecca Willis is Associate Editor at Intelligent Life
Illustration Bill Brown

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