Friday, June 18, 2010

Naughty words

I was rather daring in making use of the word ‘pussy’ in my previous post, and it led me to thinking about the uses of words and how they change, and about colloquial uses of words in general.

When I was a kiddie, ‘pussy’ meant ‘cat’. It didn’t mean anything else, or at least, my mum didn’t tell me it meant anything else and didn’t discourage me from using it, which she would have, had she known it had an alternative usage. I used to sing ‘I love little pussy’ at the top of my voice, after all. Any parents out there? Did you teach your kids that rhyme? Hur hur hur. I thought not…

Then, of course, there’s the word ‘gay’. One still comes across its original usage in old books… go on... admit it: it makes you giggle, doesn’t it? ‘The Gay Adventures of Peter and Paul’ would go in the adult section of the library before you could say ‘Pansy’ (which, thank goodness is still a flower in some people’s estimation, even if they smirk when they say it) these days.

‘Nonce’ used to be ‘in the mean time’, but nowadays, it means ‘pedophile’. I was actually quite shocked to discover that. So now ‘nonce’ has to be left out of the lexicon of words I use. Sigh. Whatever next!

Ah, but then there’s ‘grooming’. It used to mean ‘looking after oneself’ or ‘looking after a horse’ (as close as I can get), but nowadays it’s the way a pedophile prepares his prey. Oh hell! There goes ‘grooming’ along with the rest, unless I say ‘horse’ very loudly straight afterwards. I assure you: I’m not in the least bit well-groomed!

There are words that irritate me, and I’m not even sure why they do. ‘Awesome’ is one. I know all about ‘awful’ and ‘awe-inspiring’, but ‘awesome’ gets my goat.

I think its because my cell phone provider sends me texts when I recharge my account that read ‘Win with guaranteed awesomeness: SMS (whatever the number is)’ and then you get three free text messages. Wow! How awesome is that? Perhaps its because its considered ‘cool’ to use American slang when we have perfectly awesome slang all of our own. Sorry, Americans, you’re entitled to your language use, and I'm sure you are cool, but ‘local is lekker’ (nice, awesome, delicious, fantastic, fun) to me.

Hey! Who can remember the days when having a cell number meant you’d been institutionalized? Don’t laugh, I might get one soon!

Todays pic: an old bitch.


  1. Beautiful Pooch! An awesome, cool, fantastic post.... I hadn't heard a few of those words- I'll have to look them up. And my first name is Gay- really.

  2. Fortunately "shart" has retained its original meaning.

  3. In its original context, a gorgeous name full of verve and joy and vibrance... a bit like you if I may say so. Isn't it beastly that they went and changed the meaning? Thanks for your continued encouragement.

  4. Ah- you are TOO KIND. Your blog has been a good change of pace for me. What's so funny is that I'm one of those cliche kind of people- it's just ingrained- I don't apologize for it. My dear hubby makes fun of me all the time- I'm use to the eye rolling- and I think he enjoys the joke.
    I'm enjoying your point of view immensely- it's refreshing (cliche- but what else would do?) and I think it's a good thing (cliche- thank you Martha Stewart). Bring it on!! :-))
    To be honest- I'd love to write about the things on my mind beyond art and photography- but there are a few people in my community who follow my blog. I self censor.

  5. I have a neighbour who grew weary of her teenaged son borrowing her car... so she got herself a vanity plate that read IM GAY. (Yes, her name is Gay).
    Her son never took her again again...