Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bless His Heart...

Do you know something that I've noticed that has really been getting on my nerves lately?

It's people using the phrase above; "bless his heart?"

I've been talking to chaps lately and they've chucked the BHH thing into the conversation. At first thought it's as innocuous as one can imagine, a little inoffensive, probably even nice and complimentary, three words.

But something about the use of it, on all these recent occasions, nagged deeply inside me. So much so that I devoted some thinking time to it to try to figure out why.

I realised why this has come about. This little trio of words is a farce, a trojan horse of a phrase, a cunning way of disguising an insult as a compliment.

Why am I saying all of this?

Well it's used when people want to assert their superiority and patronise someone else. They use it as if they're talking about a dog or a small child, wrapped in a bundle of smelling like a compliment.

One person was telling me about a driver recently, of how helpful he had been and how good he was. All very nice I hear you think. But then the person came to narrate details of a specific incident and said:

"And L, bless his heart, was very protective"

The implication, in a very indirect way, was that L knew no better, that he was like a faithful dog following his master off the edge of a cliff.

Another friend was talking about his child and used BHH in that context. And that's when people use it; when they want to portray the person as childish or pet like.

That's why it's my current bone of contention.

Just saying like.

Bless my heart.


GG said...

I've heard that one a few times. Don't like it!!!

To my mind it brings up a picture of a blood soaked heart (a real biological one) with something like a halo on top of it. Not very nice.

Angel said...

I keep saying "bless his/her cotton socks"... force of habit I think :S

Anonymous said...

I like the word bless. But I have to admit I do use it to imply cuteness, which I know you boys loathe.

Scrumps said...

I say it a lot. And it's with no intention of being patronising. There are so many bad things and people in the world that when someone does something nice, it's a fair way of acknowledging it. But each to their own.