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Saturday, August 27, 2011

She Laughs, She Laughs, She Laughs

Three women have laughs that grate on my nerves.

The first is my mother. On the occasions when I point out to her that I am well aware of her intention or motivation that she would rather conceal, she lets out a shrill sound that slits into the trailing dry chuckles. Her mouth opens bigger than it normally does for natural laughter, forming a twisted O of dismay.

The second is the boss lady. She has a special laughter in her bag of tricks that she reserves only for colleagues whose place is higher or on the same level as hers. It is a trilling, girlish, flirtatious laugh that she employs more often and more enthusiastically when there are male colleagues or superiors around or when someone is challenging her competency or veracity. I can smell the nervousness and insecurity intensify as her pitch gets higher and her demeanor becomes more girlish (she is 60). I wonder whether the tactic works.

The third is a colleague. Once a week or so she comes into my office or calls me to complain about being mistreated and abused by her superior. Sometimes, after a particularly frustrated rant, she finds something about her superior to ridicule, such as her hair, and laughs. When she laughs, her nose is scrunched and her mouth is forced wide, her teeth gleaming in the light. I wince.

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