Long ago in a faraway land, when someone said, “I’m so gay!” you knew they were having a good day. Or people exclaimed, “Oh golly gee!” instead of “WTF!” When food was hot, and not a way to describe an attractive woman. When being sick meant you were stuffy and achy.
Every generation and era has its own lingo, slang, and catchy phrases. Sometimes the words have a long life, and sometimes they are short lived and soon forgotten. Often new generations invent their own, and the previous are rarely ever used again.
I often utilize words that people give me strange looks for, or just plain have to ask what they mean. Some I use frequently, others I’m on a campaign to use more and resurrect in general. They either have a nice ring to them, or I just have an aversion to using the contemporary equivalent. Mostly they’re just fun to use and say, with a lusciously fulfilling impact.
Probably my favorite, is blotto. As in, “You were incredibly blotto last night after your ten drinks.” Along those lines, “How did you get so stinko!” Another great one to utilize when you’re out with a stumbling friend. While you’re blotto though, make sure you don’t go showing your scanties to everyone. Your underthings should be just that, not being flashed from under a skirt while getting in and out of cars, or peeking out of your pants when you bend over. Then again, I’ll just be thankful if people even have their scanties on in these situations. Zoinks! A floozy probably doesn’t wear her scanties. (Another deliciously illustrating word: harlot.) Those seem to have much more zing to them, than contemporary terms. You’ll probably find plenty of harlots in seedy clubs and areas of town. Probably the same areas of town where the hooligans hang out making a ruckus.
I suppose encouraging insults at people isn’t the greatest, but sometimes, certain words are the only ones that will work. I feel like pill is a good one that needs to be infused into usage. Such as, “Why does he have to be a pill all the time?” If you’ve ever watched Leave It to Beaver, they were notorious for well-placed name calling. I love when Beaver vehemently says to Wally, “You’re a dirty rat!” Rat is such a simple yet effective word. Another good one, creep. Beaver (I’m sure more than once) says to Eddie Haskell, “You’re a real creep, Eddie!” Other especially descriptive words: crummy, grubby, and clobber (“I’m going to clobber you!). And if you really need to dispense a verbal jolt , “You’re a creepy, crummy rat!” I find pills, rats, and creeps incredibly vexing .
I, personally, am not one to curse much. Sometimes, if I’m telling a story or if I’ve been really, really upset, an obscene utterance will find its way out of my mouth, but for the most part my vocabulary is very PG-13. A commanding “Curses!” works wonderfully for me. Also a well-placed applesauce or horsefeathers does the trick. When something doesn’t go your way, “Ah, horsefeathers!” I find both of these expletives from the 1920s charming.
You have to have some expressive words for the good things, as well. Swell is a favorite of mine. “Gee, wasn’t that burger and shake we shared swell?” If you get asked to do something, “That sounds swell to me!” Just as resounding, “That sure would be keen.” Or how about “Wow, that’s a snazzy shirt you’re wearing!” Or try something like, “I’d fancy a cup of tea.”How about the word becoming? This is one I really love. “That color is so becoming on you.” Or, “that dress really becomes you.” Equally delightful and colorful are bee’s knees and cat’s meow. As in, “You’re the bee’s knees!” Both meaning “the height of excellence.” The 1920s were wonderfully imaginative and outrageous with their sayings. Gotta love it.
What ever happened to being courted? A man courts a woman, they have a courtship, he takes the time to woo her. This treatment makes a woman swoon. (I swoon every chance I get. I even swoon for ice cream, or mustard.) But watch out, in case he gets fresh (unless, of course, you want him to!). Maybe he just can’t resist you because you have the best set of gams he’s laid eyes on. Like, “Betty Grable had quite a set of gams,” which is why they called her the “Girl With The Million Dollar Legs.”
Try interjecting some of these mostly forgotten words or phrases into your everyday conversations. See what kind of responses you get, if anyone knows what you’re talking about, and how many people around you start using them. Of course, you may just get perplexed looks or the occasional, “Are you feeling well?” Either way, it’s fun, give ’em a try!
*Couple with shake courtesy: http://jsmagic.net
10 thoughts on “Oh Golly Gee, What A Pair Of Gams!”
Zoinks! I am all too familiar with these words “of the past.” That being said I do enjoy bringing these up from time to time just to keep those younger than I “on their toes.” It is fun seeing the expressions of recognition…or not!
Way to keep ’em on their toes! It’s fun stumping people with “retired” words. 🙂
It is sometimes difficult to even watch a baseball game without some cursing. One player was being interviewed after a playoff game recently and made a vulgar remark that actually went out over the television, since the delay mechanism didn’t act fast enough to bleep out the word.
I accidentally said a curseword right after someone else said it back in 1965 and felt terrible about it and have avoided cursing the last 46 years. It would sound phony if I used a curseword. I sing special music at our local church and can’t curse during the week, then sing in front of the church on Sunday.
I can honestly say, that I have never heard my mom or dad say a curseword in the 54 years my mom and me were both living and in the 67 years my dad (who is 96) my dad were both living. It is not that I am better than anyone else, just the way I was taught growing up.
I hear ya, I feel like I would be a phony too, trying to curse. It’s just not natural coming out of my mouth. I’m sure a lot of people would think people like you and I are goody two-shoes. Considering how prevalent and open cursing is now. Curse words fly about all the time!
Love your post! (Not) Surprisingly I know the meaning of most of the words you’ve used in your post. I ‘swoon’ quite often too! And yes I do use some of the words you’ve mentioned. ‘Snazzy’, ‘seedy’, ‘hooligans’ and ‘Curses!’, are just a few of them.
Great minds think alike! 😉 At least there are a few of us who speak the same language!
I may curse like a salty ol’ sea-dog who’s survived 12 mutinies and as many bouts of syphilis, but now that curses account for every 3rd word out of every young person’s, mouth no matter what context they’re in, the appeal has faded. (Another thing those damned young people have ruined for me!)
But I have to admit, I’ve always loved the slang of yesteryear. The slang of the hippie & blaxploitation era was really groovy, man. The 50’s era was really swell, too. But probably my favourite lingo was from the film noir and depression eras. That stuff was so inventive and loaded with puns and metaphor. There was also a wide variety of slang to communicate the very same thing. Topics like death, prison, gun play and women each had dozens of very commonly used terms (& sometime hundreds of lesser-used terms) to communicate the very same thing.
While there have been a few good words, the slang of the last 2-3 decades is sorrily lacking. Like so much of modern life, the overall theme is blunt, monosyllabic and usually violent or vulgar in nature. Increasingly, they aren’t even words and have little creativity or humour. But what’s also really lacking is the depth. Today’s slang lexicon is much smaller and so are the options to choose from. A word that used to have 20 common slang terms would have, at most, 2-3 today. And I expect that, if not for the talented rappers (both of them) there probably would be even less decent slang than there is.
This narrowing (& degradation) of the vocabulary is disturbingly reminiscent of Orwell’s Newspeak from 1984. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Newspeak Behind Newspeak was the notion that the fewer speech options and more simple you made the language, the simpler, less creative and easier to control the population became. I think Orwell was right.
Applesauce, it’s all fallen into the crapper!
Thank you for the insightful comment. You are so right on all your points. Fewer and fewer words are used to express certain things and they get completely overused. Then it’s as if younger people can’t even think for themselves, they just repeat the latest “trendy” word. The correlation between that and1984 is really interesting, I wouldn’t have thought about that! And the day they added “LOL,” “OMG,” and “<3" to the dictionary was a bleak day indeed.
Orwell predicted a lot (omnipresent security cameras, flying drones, enemies-to-allies & allies to enemies, the use of intentionally deceptive terminology and much more), but even he couldn’t predict the actual devolution of the language to the point where the LOLs and -uh- pictographs could even be considered “words”.
And thanks for the compliment, of a sort. I’m a “think outside the box” kind of guy, which is exactly what will someday guarantee me a reservation in Room 101.
Swell post dollface.