Re: utter exasperation

Jay Reynolds Freeman (
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 12:14:41 -0700

A male perjorative that I have heard in several contexts is "cowboy",
usually used to describe someone who is being ham-fisted and mindless
when finesse and thought are required. I first hit this one in the
general aviation industry, as a term for incompetent pilots. (I
recall there were convincing statistics that up through about 300
hours of flight time, women were far better pilots than men; after
that, men's abilities rose to equal those of women.) I have also
heard it used by automobile racing drivers, with similar meaning.
I'm not sure it would be as popular in cattle country...

One also hears the slang "testosterone poisoning" used in perjoratives
for men who, e.g., have too much ego and too little sense.

My favorite example of a pair of words whose denotative meanings are
(approximately) mere gender-specific terms for the same thing (like
"he" and "she"), but whose connotative meanings are very different, is
"master" and "mistress".

-- Jay Freeman