Vocabulary Lesson

I live in a house full of men (when they’re all home).  Most of them are young men.  Several years ago, when they were pre-teen/adolescents, the word “gay” became frequently used, especially by that age group.  Like many words in the English language, that word has several meanings.  The most archaic definition of that word means “happy and carefree.”  It has also, more recently, come to mean “homosexual.”  But the most common usage of the word, at least in this household, has nothing to do with either mood or sexual preference.  It denotes something “not cool.”  As in:  My middle son J insists on being gay by covering himself with many gay tattoos.  Now, this does not mean that J himself is either happy or homosexual.  He’s more the brooding type.  And he’s just brimming with female-loving testosterone.  Even his stupid tattoos are not necessarily gay.  I guess as far as tattoos go, they’re somewhat tasteful.  Some are inspirational words; at least one is a well-designed cross.  But as a mother of perfect sons, I just think it’s kind of gay that one of them has the need to permanently etch designs into his flawless skin.

By the way, we sometimes use the f-word around here.  When I use it, I do not mean its other f-word definition, “fornication.”  I usually use it when I’ve hurt myself, forgotten something important, or am really ticked off at someone.  Which means, I use it when fornication is the farthest thing from my mind.

So, yeah.  Words can have more than one definition.  So get your minds out of the gutter.

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11 Responses to “Vocabulary Lesson”


  1. 1 Sheri November 13, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Thank you… it’s difficult for me simply because my roommate is black… and her vocabulary intertwined with black culture is…well… interesting. Like the term “ghetto”.

    LOL.. Ghetto can mean a few things…

    Ghetto- place; run-down part of town where minorities live… and have received a bad name. (aka, drug dealers, homeless people, etc.)

    Ghetto- like “ghetto ass” can mean.. a large, ignant buttocks, that people can either smile of frown upon depending on your taste of the famale body

    Ghetto- like “that’s ghetto” can mean something along the lines of…”that’s just wrong” or “inappropriate” simply put.. not socially accepeted.

    For Example… one of my black friends, whose name I will not mention… went to the Dollar Tree in the mall and took vaseline… put it on her lips…. and then the closed the jar, and put it back on the shelf…. now THAT is ghetto….

    *All this information courtesy of my roommate.. thanks DEE

  2. 2 Emily November 13, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    except that that usage of “gay” has an etymology in homophobia. people were being derogatory by saying something was like being gay and therefore bad.

    and that use of ghetto is rooted in racism… unless used by a black person

  3. 3 mamaneeds2rant November 13, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I suspected that was where it originally came from, Emily. But I don’t think the common usage today conjures up that image. Many kids today use the word before they’re even aware of homosexuality. Kind of like some people insisting that trick-or-treaters are engaging in pagan worship because its roots were Druid festivals. The kids are so far removed from that and they’re celebrating their own Halloween–which is getting dressed up and getting tons of candy.

  4. 4 Sheri November 13, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    My roommate and I had to laugh…. simply because as members of the younger generation, we definately think that some of these thoughts are rediculously hilarious.

    We do not think about racism or homosexuality when we say these words, just like the term “hot”. If you told my mom that “that guy is HOT!” she would smack you across the mouth for being so naughty.

    You see, when my mom grew up, the term “hot” was a dergoatory way of saying that a girl was “easy” or for the younger generation she “put out”. Now, the term hot has taken on so many forms that it is no longer considered naughty, or derogatory in any way.

    Coming from my roommate, an African American, black people do not get offended when terms like “ghetto” are used. It’s a term. It’s not like we’re still calling them the “N” word, even though the term is still used today. The only reason why black people still use the term around their friends is because we white people have used it so much in the past, that it’s a way of making fun of us. The same goes for homosexuals. They will flat out tell you, “I’m gay, and how you’re treating me is gay.” (Two forms of the same word in the same sentence, check that out!)

    We mean no disrespect in this post by any means, but there is definately a miscommunication.

    These words may have started as such, but they are in no way the same as they started. From the younger generation, an update on old terms. Back to you. =P

  5. 5 mamaneeds2rant November 14, 2008 at 12:07 am

    My point exactly Sheri. And Sheri’s roommate. Thanks for the input!

  6. 6 somuchmorethanamom November 14, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Hilarious! Yes, “gay” even meant “uncool” when I was a kid.

  7. 7 John and Perla November 22, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Your dog is a real bitch.

    Figure that one out.

  8. 9 John and Perla December 2, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    OK I should probably specify that that was just me NOT Perla. Imagine that?!?!

  9. 10 mamaneeds2rant December 2, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    I thought it was a rhetorical question. Anyways, that particular bitch is NOT a bitch.

  10. 11 John and Perla December 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    But see, now ‘dog’ could be something else too, right? Confusing thing, this English.


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