Thursday, April 5, 2018

Learn the lingo

I ran across a list of slang terms from the 1960’s that no one uses anymore. You remember the ‘60’s, don’t you? It was in all the papers. See how many of these you were guilty of saying, and how many still apply today.

Far out – This doesn’t mean you missed your exit ramp on the highway and wound up in Teaneck, New Jersey by mistake. It means you approve, as in “Far out, man!”

Bummer – Although this could apply to a homeless guy on the street corner holding a sign, it really refers to being a little sad, like “I’m really bummed out today.”

Foxy – An undeniable sex appeal. Also heard as Foxy Lady and Stone Fox. Why are foxes considered sexy, instead of coyotes or wolves? I guess “Wolfie lady” doesn’t have the same ring. A word of caution: if you call a woman by either of those names today, you may find yourself on Twitter alongside Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby.

Gimme some skin – This refers to a handshake, not a Plastic Surgeon’s order to his Nurse.

What’s your bag? – This one confused me, because I’ve heard it used in reference to one’s occupation or skill, as in “That’s my bag.” It actually means “What’s your problem?”

Bippy – All the times I watched “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in,” where the word originated, I had no idea that bippy meant posterior. Now the phrase “You bet your sweet bippy” takes on a whole new meaning.

Can you dig it? – Yeah, man, I understand you perfectly. Now let me get back to this ditch I dug before you ask me if I’m through diggin’ it.

Old lady – A term of endearment for one’s wife or girlfriend, and not to be confused with “My old man.” For the current consequences of using this term, reference “Foxy” above.

Freak flag – I had never heard of this one, but Jimi Hendrix coined it to mean “the weirdest person in the room.” I.e., “I’m flyin’ my freak flag tonight!”

Hang loose – Relax and chill, dude!

Fuzz – The police. No one seems sure why hippies chose to refer to law enforcement officers as Fuzz, but it still gets used.

Lay it on me – No, this isn’t an invitation to be a human mattress. It means “Tell me what’s on your mind.”

Bogart – To hoard all of the goodies and not share your reefer with the rest of the party. Inspired by Humphrey Bogart’s habit of letting a cigarette dangle from his lips longer than necessary.

It’s a gas – Anything guaranteed to make you laugh. Also used to describe the menu at Taco Bell.

Foam domes – The act of stuffing one’s bra with Kleenexes. Refer to the movie “Animal House” for an example.

Grass – Still used as an acronym for marijuana.

Heavy – Today this could be an ad for Jenny Craig, but it really meant emotional weight.

Submarine races – Describing two people being intimate in a parked car in the dark, as in “Let’s go to the shore and watch the submarine races.”

Bread – Money. Cash. Greenbacks. Fundage.

Split – As in “I’m outta here, man!”

Surprisingly absent from the list were groovy, cool, Doobie, and get it on. I wonder how people 50 years from now will regard our current slang usage? I can just see it now—a couple of philosophers reading an old copy of a magazine and pontificating on the meaning of things like bling, Po-po, PNP, and “Where all da freaks at?”

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Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Tim. When I need current slang for let's say an 18 year old, I go to the urban dictionary and scrounge up terms that are least somewhat recognizable to anyone in their 30s and upwards.

I still hear 'bummer' and 'split'. Didn't know they were from the 60s.

Kathy Heare-Watts said...

Memories, lots of memories here. I was a child of the 60s and 70s and this brought back many memories and laughs. I think many of these terms were also very common in the 70s.

What a great article and trip down memory lane. I'll be 60 this year and graduated and married in 1976.

Tim Smith said...

Thank you for the comments. Kathy, I turned 63 recently so these were familiar terms. I still find myself using some of them once in awhile. And yes, I get confused looks from younger people.

Fiona McGier said...

I'm in high schools and with younger kids almost every day. I still use "bummer," and "dude," as in, "Dude, what's your thing?" I also use "Girlie" for girls, whereas "Dude" is for boys. In high school (in the 70's) we used "Dudette" for girls.

I've also proctored a spelling bee run by my boss, who is from India, using an English program designed in South Korea, where we get our materials from. (Weird, I know.) And one of the words on the list for 5th graders was "bogart," only without a capital B. I advised her to leave that one off the list, since so few kids would know it. And the only use I can remember involved joints, so not exactly school-appropriate.

Of course I still make the kids, especially the younger ones, giggle when I tell them it's time to leave, by saying, "Time for you to blow this Popsicle stand." I think that's 40's or 50's slang. And they all roll on the floor laughing when I pull out my flip-phone, and tell them I just paid lots of money to buy a new one, when my old one broke. I don't want a smart phone...not now, not ever. They're honestly confused as to why not. I tell them I don't want a computer in my pocket. It's beyond their imagination to not want so ubiquitous an item. But I only want a phone/text machine. I don't want GPS, emsil, Siri, or any other BS apps. I guess I'm still a Luddite at heart!