Words Straight Guys Don't Use:

I was just reading a very interesting post by a woman lawprof, and I noticed her saying that she "adore[s]" a figure of speech in someone else's post. From her, it seemed perfectly proper, and not even fulsome, just a nice compliment.

But then I wondered: Would I ever use that term? Somehow it seemed like something that men don't say. I'm not saying this reaction is logical; it was just the instant reaction that I got from my internal idiom checker, the sort of thing that tells us what sounds normal and what sounds stilted, no matter how grammatically or semantically valid it might be. I'd be quite willing to say "love," though that's a bit too effusive for me. I'm certainly happy to praise in other ways. But somehow my guide draws the line at "adore."

We ignore at our peril the advice these internal idiom checkers give us -- but maybe I've gotten this wrong. So what do you folks think? Do you have this reaction? Is there a relation to sexual orientation (or, to be more precise, to the distinctive "gay culture" to which not all gays belong)?

Is this just my own idiosyncracy, perhaps because I've heard "adore" more often from women than from men (it's not a very common term of praise, but my mother uses it on occasion), and perhaps on a few occasion from gays I know? Or do others have the same reaction (whether they're straight men, or others who imagine whether they'd find it odd if they heard a straight man say it)?