Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Can you help me understand this example of guy talk?

Asked by wundayatta (58571points) January 8th, 2013

Here’s a bit of socio-linguistic detective work for you jellies.

As I was riding to work, I passed a guy on the sidewalk who was saying to another passing bicyclist, ”‘Bama sure did a number on them last night, didn’t they?”

On the face of it, this is a simple, “yes” question. There is no other possible answer. But if that is the case, then what is the point of the question? Is it just to fill space? Make noise? What?

What is (are) the (possible) meaning(s) of this phrase?

What would be an appropriate answer?

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29 Answers

Seek's avatar

So, how ‘bout them Dodgers?

That’s my go-to “change the subject” phrase. I got it from my dad, who started saying it way back when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. It became a running joke between us. Y’know, because the Dodgers aren’t in Brooklyn anymore. anyway…

I would assume it was either filler, or an attempt to spark a conversation to discuss the finer points of the previous nights sporting event. Though, I fail to find any fine points in American Football whatsoever. As far as I can tell, such interests are linked on a genetic level to those who express the gene for male pattern baldness, alcoholism, and/or erectile dysfunction.

picante's avatar

Sounds like a rally for support of the team. “Those Horns were slobber-knockin’, man!”

I think it assumes the person to whom the comment is addressed is a known team supporter. Folks don’t look for opinions to the contrary.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I wasn’t aware that it was only men that do this.

Does every comment one makes have to have some deeper meaning or purpose? That’s why it’s called a rhetorical question. It’s just a comment intended to either start a conversation or express feelings, just like everything else we say.

How ‘bout them Gamecocks?!
(I guess women can do it too.)

Aethelwine's avatar

“Peyton’s (Manning) looking good, isn’t he?”. I said this to my father back in November. I like to talk football with my dad because we both like the sport. I was starting a conversation about football.

rojo's avatar

“Do a number on…” To hurt, damage, mistreat, ruin, treat unfairly, embarrass… that kind of thing.

Could it be related to “I’ve got your number” or “he’s got your number” meaning to know what you are about and to be willing to do something about it if you do?

rojo's avatar

Oh, and a possible answer is:


or more crudely “F*ck yeah!!”

bookish1's avatar

Did Barry beat someone up last night?

CWOTUS's avatar

The only reasonable response to that conversational gambit is, “Roll, Tide.”

Or, if you’re an ND fan, “Just wait ‘til next year!”

LuckyGuy's avatar

“Some weather we’re having today.”

The appropriate response is to confirm and add a point of interest if possible. Like playing pitch and catch.

bossob's avatar

Was it the day after the election?

wildpotato's avatar

I am confused. Are we attempting to discuss a remark about Obama, something to do with Alabama, or a football player I have never heard of?

ucme's avatar

89.67% of “guy talk” is mutually accepted as being horse shit, broadly speaking.

Seek's avatar

You have to read it with a southern accent. ” ‘BAM-uh”. as in “ala-BAM-uh”

College football.

Don’t ask me how I know this. It’s all conjecture.

bossob's avatar

@wildpotato 99% sure we’re talking about football. But it could be the political arena!

wundayatta's avatar

@wildpotato Alabama totally creamed Notre Dame in the college championship last night. It was pathetic. The Irish just rolled over and played dead from the beginning.

So the guy was referring to that game.

Personally, I think @LuckyGuy has the best answer. It’s a conversational gambit. You are expected to return with some other piece of information. @jonsblond and @Seek_Kolinahr suggested something similar.

My problem is that I have a hard time imagining how the conversation goes. I mean, what is there to say? ‘Bama absolutely killed The Irish. There is no conversation there. It’s over before it starts. So I’m wondering what else is there to say? How does this particular gambit get things going? Where is there to go? What could you say that would get you more than ten more seconds of talk out of it?

And beneath that, is there something else going on? I know @livelaughlove21 doesn’t believe in subtext or hidden meaning, but I do, and I think there is some kind of bonding thing going on. Somehow this conversation builds relationships. But what does it build? How does it build it? Why do men tend to talk about sports and build relationships through seemingly innocuous and mundane things? How does this work?

Women, for example, will gossip. They’ll talk about relationships. They’ll share information about who is doing what and what their personalities are like. Like we do here, on fluther. But men, while they may be doing bonding, are not sharing information that seems very useful or relevant to life. So what am I missing here? I think I am missing something because men spend hours talking about sports. There are radio networks and TV networks devoted to sports information and talk. Hell. I listen to that shit sometimes. But I don’t get why it seems so important. I figure there is something going on here I don’t understand.

So, yes, we are talking about football, but that’s not what I want to know. I want to know what the football talk is really about, beneath the stupid facts we see on the surface. That’s not enough to keep the conversation going. There has to be something deeper. But what?

bossob's avatar

@wundayatta Maybe it’s subconscious verbal jousting where we’re feeling each other out (figuratively, of course), and adding up the strengths and weaknesses of other men, in order to categorize them as friend or foe, for future use.

I hear ya about women though. I get embarrassed just thinking about some of the personal information my wife has shared with perfect strangers while standing in line at the grocery store.

Aethelwine's avatar

@wundayatta Many people enjoy football. People enjoy talking about the things they like. I would rather talk about football than gossip about my neighbor. What good comes from gossip?

Somehow this conversation builds relationships. But what does it build? How does it build it? I think most people build relationships with people they have something in common with. Am I wrong? Sports may be a mundane topic to you, but it isn’t for others. Just as dance may be something you like to talk about, but many others may find that boring.

(and if anyone doesn’t already know, I am female. some confuse me with my husband.)

wundayatta's avatar

@jonsblond I agree there’s a lot to talk about in football. It’s just this particular game. It was over as soon as it started. That’s what clued me in that this is not the topic of conversation. There is literally nothing to say about it. So why ever talk about it?

Ask the gossip question and I’ll tell you.

Aethelwine's avatar

@wundayatta I can tell you as a Denver Broncos fan that I have much to say about how happy I am with how well they are doing this season. It sure is nice to gloat and celebrate. ;)

zenvelo's avatar

@wundayatta One responds to a passing remark question like that with something light- hearted. Like:

“The collection plate will be light on Sunday from all the losing bets”.
“Jesus must have been busy.”
“Begorrah, it was supposed to be the College Championship, not the NFL.”

CWOTUS's avatar

The subtext, if you want to find it, @wundayatta, is in whether you decide to talk about football in general, college football in particular, Alabama in more particularity, specific players, Nick Saban vs. Bear Bryant, etc., or if you just sidetrack the conversation to, “I wonder which players Saban will particularly recommend to Bill Belichick for the New England Patriots?”

Or you could talk about how pitchers and catchers report in six weeks, and get onto baseball.

Please don’t say a word about March Madness, especially when it’s April Asininity.

zensky's avatar

@ucme Was accurate in his statement: 89.67% of “guy talk” is mutually accepted as being horse shit, broadly speaking.

S’up Wunday?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

“Bama” is the University of Alabama. Someone was saying that the Crimson Tide had played a really good football game.

zensky's avatar

Clippers looking good, eh?

burntbonez's avatar

Primary example of what passes for enlightened conversation among men.

wundayatta's avatar

Damn Sixers started out good, but have crumpled into mediocrity, as per usual.

Who you think the Eagles should hire?

zensky's avatar

I wish I followed Football more. It’s really a fantastic sport.

android777's avatar

Its a way to ask , did you see the game.

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