My feed

to access all these features

Join the discussion and meet other Mumsnetters on our free online chat forum.


Does your husband/partner have a ‘talking to workmen’ voice?

84 replies

GiraffeNecked · 22/10/2020 08:25

We are getting a lot of work done. I’ve jus5 noticed the ‘talking to workmen’ voice. There’s a lot of use of the word mate...

My husband knows a lot about spreadsheets and is the least practical person on god’s earth. And rarely says mate. There’s a lot of nodding as things are explained...

I’m unsure whether to be amused or worried as I head out the door to work.

OP posts:
Thesunrising · 22/10/2020 08:26

My husband does this. It’s absolutely cringe 😬

Lurchermom · 22/10/2020 08:28

Mine does, but he's an ex sparky (now in an office professional role) so I think he's delighted to crack out the old lingo.

FinTutuola · 22/10/2020 08:32

This comes up quite regularly in my house. My husband’s ‘talking fo workman‘ voice is very strong rural Lancashire Hmm which is particularly confusing as he has never lived there (normally has a generic Greater Manchester accent).

He knows it makes him sound like a twat (because I regularly point it out) but I honestly think he can’t help himself.

RemyHadley · 22/10/2020 08:36

Hah yes, DH’s accent gets noticeably more “mockney”, and his words are much more blokey.

I go the other way, I adopt this kind of strange “oh I’m a silly posh girl, I don’t understand this stuff!” I actually do understand a lot of it (I’ve done courses! I’d like to build my own house one day) but I like getting them to explain it all fully.

TheSeedsOfADream · 22/10/2020 08:38

Yes. He slips into slang and sounds like a twat. Does my head in.

buggeroffvirus · 22/10/2020 08:42

Mine sounds his H on the phone to business type people although usually he sound like Shadrack Dingle

wonkylegs · 22/10/2020 08:42

Nah mine who is never usually flustered by anything gets a slightly panicked you should speak to my wife voice. I do work in construction though. The only time he has any confidence is with electrics (his hobby) and with a fab plumber we used to have who had the broadest Geordie accent ever and I could never understand hims so DH acted as a translator (not a Geordie but had to speak to lots of people with a strong accent in work)

AmandaHoldensLips · 22/10/2020 08:42

The language depends upon the type of workman/men in the house.

For example, anything to do with bathrooms is "plumbmese" and is accompanied by lots of teeth-sucking and knowledgeable nodding at valves.

shinynewapple2020 · 22/10/2020 08:46

Very much so. He goes overboard on local accent / dialect . It sounds so unnatural !

TenCornMaidens · 22/10/2020 08:50

My DH never really deals with workmen so I think I'm the one with a special voice. No accent that I know of but a bit overloud from nerves, and almost certainly a special 'I'm so ignorant! ' laugh.

GiraffeNecked · 22/10/2020 08:51

I like the strong rural Lancashire. We have the poshest electrician in the world in the house at the moment. He’s raising an eyebrow.

OP posts:
piglet81 · 22/10/2020 08:51

Haha, no, mine leaves all that to me. He’s actually quite blokey in many ways (beer and football etc) but not very practical.

My dad definitely had a ‘talking to the mechanics’ voice which we liked to tease him about Grin

JoJoSM2 · 22/10/2020 08:59

Only applies to English workmen, though. When DH is speaking to foreign ones, he uses his usual pronunciation and vocabulary. I’ve also noticed that he’ll say toilet/loo/lounge/sitting room/serviette/napkin depending on who he’s speaking too. The tone is normally similar but on occasion he’ll pull out what I call his ‘entitled’ tone.

TwentyViginti · 22/10/2020 09:19

For example, anything to do with bathrooms is "plumbmese" and is accompanied by lots of teeth-sucking and knowledgeable nodding at valves.

Fucking love this! I can just picture it! Grin

MinnieJackson · 22/10/2020 09:56

Urgh yes! Loads of 'mate' and once I witnessed a 'chief' Blush
Loads of reminiscing of his days as a builder etc (short lived, he has an office job), asking if they know the same people, it's so cringe I can't stand it

spiderlight · 22/10/2020 10:15

Oh God yes! He's from Dorset but has lived in South Wales for 25 years, and yet the minute he has to talk to a workman of any description he turns into an extra from Eastenders and I die a little bit inside.

dopenguinsdance · 22/10/2020 10:19

Don't know whether or not I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one cringing at DH/tradesmen interactions. He also has form for getting too matey, resulting in below par/to expensive work and/or him giving them free accounts/tax advice. He's finally stepped back after a particularly trying encounter with a decorator. Think chipped kitchen sink (newly installed), paint on carpets, poor timekeeping (on a day rate) and worse. Now he butts out and I deal with it in exactly the same way as I would at work. At least 3 quotes (not estimates), written terms & insurance checked, morning brew (aka briefing meeting) then they get on with it. And unlike DH if someone tells me they can't do whatever it is I'm asking, I find someone who can instead of being fobbed off. Hard as nails me Grin

mindutopia · 22/10/2020 10:29

Ha, yes, he probably does. He certainly has a 'talking to his brother' voice. We were in the car driving somewhere with his phone on bluetooth for the sat nav and his brother called to ask directions to where we were meeting. Every other word was 'mate' or 'bro'. He definitely does not talk like that to anyone else in normal life. I laughed a lot and he actually never realised he does that, and now he's a bit self conscious about it because I took the piss out of him so much.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel · 22/10/2020 10:32

Mine always manages to work into the conversation within the first two minutes the fact that his grandad was a builder.

Poppins2016 · 22/10/2020 10:37

Not my DH... me! But I don't just do it with workmen, I tend to unconsciously 'match' whoever I'm talking to. I think most people do this in one form or another.

Interesting article here:

PolarBearStrength · 22/10/2020 10:40

Yes! 😂 he works in fitness so I think he cracks it out a lot at work too. It’s good though because he’s learned so much from talking to neighbours’ workmen that we’ve not actually had to hire anyone to do any of the work on our house! (We live in a very old row of cottages, there is always something needs doing to one of the houses!)

Knittedfairies · 22/10/2020 10:40

Sadly, yes.


Don’t want to miss threads like this?


Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

BoulangerieBabs · 22/10/2020 10:43

My dh does this "mate, mate, mate" nonsense hence me trying to deal with any work that needs doing as much as possible.

Ffs dh, they might have a 1st class degree in law you don't dh but just liked being a plumber more. They don't want to listen to your attempts at being 'down with the trades'

Bluntness100 · 22/10/2020 10:47

Yes he does the mate thing, but he tends to leave workmen to me and his interaction is minimal.;usually it’s yeah that sounds good mate, she’s in charge”

I will also use the word mate, but it’s very rare and I only crack it out when I’m being sarcastic. He does it to forge a bond, I do it in place of “wanker ”.

MilkandWater · 22/10/2020 10:47

No, but in general it's called code-switching, and the psychology in this specific instance appears to involve the fact that men hiring workmen perceive said workmen to be more traditionally 'masculine' than they are (and they feel slightly emasculated by having another man come in to do traditionally 'masculine' jobs in their house), and that masculinity codes as working-class, hence they code-switch down a social register, and beef up the 'mate' stuff to try to eradicate the difference.

It would be interested to look at it alongside women's relationships with their cleaners.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.