There are so many times when I am scouring eBay for supplies and I can’t find what I need. A quick trip through my misheard word list will sometimes pay off. I might find a thing no one else is bidding on, because it’s listed under the wrong word. The top misheard word on this list is “sequence” or “sequenced”. The first time I ran into this word used in relation to the thing I was looking for, I was really confused. I saw no sequence of beads, or anything else put in any particular order in the listing. I had to say it out loud before it finally dawned on me that the seller meant sequins or sequined. Seriously, go look for “sequenced sweater” on eBay. You can find some real steals. Sequins may indeed be put in sequence, but they are not sequence, unless they are A sequence (of sequins).
Sequins: those small plastic, (or similar) disks, either flat or cupped, usually sewn on en masse to provide sparkle, most notably on 1920’s dresses. Sequence: anything put in a particular order, as in the sequence of the days of the week. Clearly these are not the same things at all, but they are not alone in the misheard universe.
When working at a famous D.C. area fabric store back in the day, I had more than one woman come to me looking for Muslim. Figuring out what she meant took a lot less time than it did for me to figure out what another woman meant when she asked for “fucksha fabric”. Even so, it still took me a few beats to realize that it was a fabric, not a religion being requested. She wanted musliN. It’s only one downward stroke separating them, but they are worlds apart. I sweetly sent her over to the Calico Department to find her muslin. As in “You will find your musliN over in calico”.
Funny thing, in times like this, I never pointed out the mistake directly. I always repeated the corrected word in my directions to the customer. I thought it was a far kinder way to help them, rather than make a direct point of it. Surprisingly, they most of them did not hear the correction. Most pointedly, the fuckshia lady, for whom I repeated the word several times. As for our word in question, Muslims may wear muslin, but muslin cannot be expected to recite the Koran.
Muslim: One of the three Abrahamic religions.
Muslin: A plain, usually cotton, fabric most notably used for draping and testing garment patterns. Depending on where you live, “a muslin” is also the name given to burp cloths and blankets for babies. These are not made from the same fabric as muslin-the-fabric. However, they are all alike in the fact that none of them have anything to do with religion. Pro tip: Muslin is fantastic for preserving vintage garments. Wash the muslin and wrap and pad the glorious vintage wedding dress with it.
Which brings us to a more subtle homophone: Bridle. Brides do not wear bridles. Nor are the they guest of honor at “Bridle Showers”. They are lavished with gifts as BridAL Showers. Its true that no one can hear you say “bridle”, much like they can’t hear you use the wrong their/they’re/there. They can, however, see you use the wrong word, and that lingers a much longer time than the spoken word. Make sure you use the correct “bridal” when speaking about your best friend’s wedding. Unless it’s in regards to a horse, “bridle” is completely inappropriate. A bridle is that strappy thing horses (and similar) wear on their heads.You can lead them around by it. It’s also true that a Bride should never be bridled. Weddings are a time for celebration, not reining in. Of course, there are TONS of “bridle gowns” for sale on eBay, and you know what that means: Bargains!
Now go out there and sound like a professional! Eschew “Muslim”, “sequence” and mind your “le” vs “al” when you are writing those shower invitations. Help push back at the misheard word creep! Keep communication clear and understandable, not a confusing brain teaser. Go find those misheard word bargains, too. Carry on!