I’ve begun to realize that I just might be on the precipice of “a certain age.” What I mean is that I realize that I’m not exactly… well.. youthful anymore. I’m not saying that I’m suddenly going to start forwarding chain emails and shop at Talbots (how do I know these things??), but I do know that I’m certainly not a part of the age 18-24 demographic (honestly, I haven’t been for a while) and with each passing year, I’m getting further and further and further away from it.
Not that this really scares me (not yet, anyways). But, turning into this does:
I don’t even have kids and the thought of this gives me the heebie-jeebies and breaks me out in cold sweats. I feel as though all that separates me from youth and the path of inevitable “uncoolness” are a couple of steps. If that’s even what the damn kids are calling it these days.
To make sure I’m not completely out of the loop, and that I can at least maybe hold a conversation with the youth of today (since I have nieces and nephews that will soon be hitting young adult-dom and collegedom), I thought I’d do a little research to make sure I was on the up and up regarding current slang.
Clearly I’m not looking to learn every slang term out there. Especially considering that there are different genres of slang (tween slang, stoner slang, college slang, some other shit I probably don’t care about slang, etc..). And frankly, that’s what Urban Dictionary is for (especially the dirty stuff). However, I am going to look for phrases I think might be helpful to know.
To start this very scientific bit of research, I tried to recall all of the tween/young adult shows I had heard of and then I watched a couple of episodes of each. Keep in mind, I hadn’t watched any of these shows before. EVER.
I watched Jersey Shore, Gossip Girl, Keeping up With the Kardashians, and for a couple extra shits and giggles I watched Hanna Montana. By the time that was all over with, I was too tired to watch 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom.
Then I had to go scrub my brain out with a toothbrush.
I don’t recommend doing any of that, btw.
I took some notes. They got pretty incoherent so I’ll try to keep it short (haha, fat chance).
Jersey Shore: No one on that show can clearly define what the hell a Guido is. I also learned that a Snooki was a person and not a thing or action. Lastly, the most entertaining thing about the show: how often Snooki got punched. Freakiest thing about the show:
Gossip Girl: What the what? Some rich spoiled high school kids drink martinis and champagne. MARTINIS! What? Beer I can understand. Champagne, well, fine they’re rich. I get it. Champagne sets the privileged apart from the hoi polloi. But MARTINIS?? High schoolers shouldn’t be seasoned enough drinkers that they know how to drink martinis. I didn’t make notes of anything else except that I felt bad for the dad. God, I must be getting old.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Saturday Night Live spoofs are a more accurate version of this show. Watch that instead. That wedding was pretty insane-o though. Again, Saturday Night Live’s spoof was better.
Hannah Montana: Directly from my notes: OH GOD. Painful. Both Jersey Shore and Hannah Montana have spinning ferris wheel interludes between scenes. Not a good sign. But there’s also Miley singing “oohs” and “aahhs” and “yeahh yeahhs” during the interludes. Also, they try to use big words and learn lessons about family and friendship, so I guess props for that.
Note taking is nice and all and it kept me from going totally insane, but the important thing is the slang (or lack thereof). Here’s the piddly bit of information I gleaned from all that TV consumption:
- Guido – something to do with very tan pseudo Jersey Italians.
- Guidette – big boobed version of that thing a Guido is. Still don’t know if either is desirable.
- G.T.L. – Gym, tan, laundry. Guido/guidette motto. I get the gymming and tanning, but not necessarily the laundering.
- Bro – still a usable term.
- OMG – still a usable term.
- pre-game – Most everyone should know this. If not, here’s Urban Dictionary’s definition.
That was pretty much all I learned from watching those shows. LAME. (I did not learn if using “lame” was still acceptable.)
Next I went to Texts From Last Night to see if I could find some slang I hadn’t heard before. I mean, surely a site that boasts ads from American Apparel (Nipple Baring Body suits! Chiffon Shirts! Assless Mom Pants! Dance! Bows! Sweater Vests!) and Schick’s new “What’s your dating trimstyle?” line of razors (I don’t even have a joke for that, it’s so weird to begin with) would have something to teach me, right? Surprisingly, through the 26 pages I read, I could not find anything that wasn’t a part of the common vernacular (the litmus test I used for that was: have I seen someone use this word or phrase on Facebook?).
Then I went hunting around the internet. I found a pretty decent amount of “so now that you’re a parent, here’s how to unwittingly and painfully embarrass and scar your child for life by teaching you how to incorrectly use their jargon.” These articles did not apply to me as I am neither a parent, nor stupid. I did find some helpful articles on slang, though. Here are some of the words I got from those:
- requestion – stupidest slang word ever. It’s the bastard child of “request” and “question.” This means that a requestion is a question that’s actually a request. Ex:I have a requestion: Can I borrow your black Loubs tonight? (no guys, it’s not what you think)
- swagger jacker – someone who steals another’s ideas, style, jokes, etc… and tries to pass it off as their own.
- on the regs – short for ‘on the regular.’ ‘On the regular’ means regularly. Why don’t the children just friggin say that?
- the ews – instead of saying “ew, that’s gross,” now we’re supposed to say something like, “that gave me the ews.” I can honestly say this whole thing is starting to give me the ews.
The other thing I learned whilst perusing the web was that a lot of current slang is what most people already know and use. Generally, these things that relate to ubiquitous technologies, references to specific tv shows and movies, and slang that just has a higher longevity. Some examples:
- Facebooking, Facebooked
- Tweeting, Tweeted
- Eff, What the Eff?, WTF?
- The hell?
So there you have it. Some real life slang used by real life tweeners. I think, though, that I’m just going to start using this guy’s wordivations (take that you dumb tweens! I can make shit up, too!): tomhaverfoods.com
If you’d like to learn more, here are some links (in addition to Urban Dictionary, which was linked above):