Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Glossary of Teenager Vernacular, Part 2

Nearly once per week words will fly out of my kids' mouths and I pause.
I am still learning how they communicate. Sometimes I keep up based on the context of the conversation and I figure it out. Other times? Not so much. So I ask for clarification. Here are some more words and phrases and their meanings. If you don't see something on this list that you're wondering about, check out my first version on the topic, A Glossary of Teenager Vernacular.

Smoosh - Verb. Doing...it.

Turn it up, Turn it down? Oops - I got that wrong. Jake quickly corrected me. "MA! It's just 'turn up' or 'turn down'."

Me: "Turnip? The root vegetable? That I boil and mix in with the mashed potatoes?"

Jake: "Ma. No. It's 'Turn up.' Two words."

I was dumfounded, and had no clue what it meant. "Turn up the radio? Your voice? You're all turned on by a girl?"

My idiocy was met with a bunch of smirking and head shakes from my sophisticated son. Clearly, I was clueless. So I went to the expert for the definition. My daughter. It means:

Turn up - to start partying.

Turn down - to end partying. You never want to turn down, apparently. But sometimes you turn down because you're so wild and the police are coming. So it's an intentional turn down.

"Turn Down for What?" is a song, snippets of which I've actually heard. Curiouser and curiouser, I pulled up the video on my laptop to get a better understanding of this phrase. Grandma wanted to see it too - she was here recovering from back surgery. Neither of my kids had ever viewed the video.

There are no words. We did watch it to the bitter end, and I then announced that we all needed to run to church and take communion. Wanna see the video? I don't recommend it. But if you're morbidly curious like me and get really pumped for songs with a mere eleven words to the lyrics, you'll find it here. Just know that you'll feel like you need a shower afterward.

Basic - Adjective. Word to describe a girl who wears yoga pants, UGG boots, a North Face jacket, uses a white iPhone and looooooooovvvvvves Starbucks. She is unoriginal. And this is a bad thing, according to my 9th grade boy. But not according to my 11th grade girl, who says:

"OK...I agree with the definition for the most part, but here's the thing: I'm basic. I'm a privileged white girl, I love my Starbucks and I love horses. Used in a social media post, it would read something along the lines of 'Let's convince my mom to go to Starbucks. #basic.'"

She winked at me. I just stared at her. And reminded her she doesn't own a North Face jacket. She offered clarification.

"Basically anytime a girl acts girly. It's a white girl thing. And I'm OK with it."

Mmmkay. Now I've got it. Moving on. And no, I did not take her out to get a Starbucks with her not so subtle, imaginary Twitter update.

ILY - I call this a textism, or a phrase shortened to a ridiculous level. I love you. I actually knew this one. Er, I mean, figured it out in an adequate amount of time to convince my son that I knew what it meant when he texted me those letters one day. He probably wanted Starbucks. #basic.

TBH - Another textism shortened to a ridiculous level. To Be Honest.

IDK - I don't know.

IKR? - I know, right?

rn - This one popped up a couple of weeks ago and I was dumbfounded. Then it happened again, about five minutes later. I knew my friend "Nurse Michele" with her RN degree wasn't anywhere near Jake. Sometimes I think my kid just sits behind his little apparatus of intelligence, playing Jedi mind tricks on me. So I texted back. "What is rn?"

"Right Now."


ATM - I know this one! Automated Teller Machine! They're all the rage, man!

Nope. I'm so 1990s. ATM is another blasted textism. "At the moment."

Disgusted with the direction of my beloved English Language, I tried to play along. One day my thoughtful son declined to tell me he had to stay after school to meet with a teacher. I was out running errands (shocker! Mom doesn't sit in silk robes eating bon bons all day getting foot massages from the pool guy. BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE A POOL, DUH!). Obviously, I was annoyed. So I told him he'd just have to wait until I could get there. He texted me, oh, I don't know, TWO minutes later, asking when exactly would I be there? Yes, because when I'm three towns over in Chicagoland hell, er, I mean afternoon traffic, I can PRECISELY calculate my arrival time. So I told him I'd be there after I made a VIS.

I tried to beat him at his own shortened, textism game.

And can you believe that he never even asked me what VIS means? Made me a little sad. Instead, he just sucked down the spoils of my VIS and enjoyed the white chocolate mocha that I brought him.

*****Do you hear that? It's the crickets. Telling me I bombed at this game.*****

Sigh again. BTW - that's "by the way" for those keeping track - VIS stands for Very Important Stop. Like when the mother picks up Starbucks for no apparent reason for the child who neglects to give her any advance warning that he has to stay after school.

*****More crickets. Don't use this one around your kids, unless you like the sound of silence.*****

Thot - Pronounced "Thaught." Noun. Girl who doesn't care about her reputation and will do what it takes to get around. "That girl's been with five guys in a week. She's a thot."

Grandma's input: "In my day, we called those a Ho. Or a Nimp (snappy pop of the lips to emphasize the 'p' sound.) It means they're oversexed. They're nimpophiliacs."

Sometimes Grandma has significant language recall issues.

Gettin' some digits - Outdated phrase. This one worried me for a minute, my head in the gutter thanks to smoosh. But it means to ask another for his / her phone number. To text, of course. Never to actually speak to one another. I'm told nobody ever says this, yet I obviously heard it once because it made the list. Kahley: "If I ever asked Jake if he was going to be 'gettin some digits,' it was a total joke."

Gettin' it - Phrase to describe someone who is having a good time, looks cool, etc. Example: when walking out of Oberweis one day, a hotrod with a cool looking dude driving sped past, some funky hip-hop music blaring out of his downed window. An unnamed passenger in my car noticed. "He's gettin' it." Not to be confused with "Gettin it in." See A Glossary of Teenager Vernacular, Volume 1

I was instructed to delete the whole "gettin' it" phrase and definition. I don't always do what I'm told.

Grandma loves this banter. "This is entertaining and educational. What more could I want? I love being here when you kids get home from school."
I just smiled, and tucked it all away into my memory bank. And kept blogging along. What better way for my mother learn the modern day label for a whore?

Brah - noun. Which since I started this post, changed to Bruh. It means brother, or bro, but not in the literal sense. It's a term of endearment, but I have to draw the line somewhere. "Jake, do not call me Brah. Or Bruh. Or any other word that starts with B. I'm your mother."

Cray Cray - adjective. Crazy. "Kahley, do not call me Cray Cray. I am perfectly sane at all times."

Or Nah, Or Naw - Phrase meaning, "Or Not." This one really annoys me. I loathe the bastardization of our language, and this one not only has a missing father, but also a red-headed stepchild. It's like Freddy Krueger's bladed fingers screeching on a steel beam to my ears.

What's Gucci, Main? - Disclaimer: nobody really says this anymore, so it's outdated. But Jake said it to me one day, probably thinking I wouldn't know he's so 2012. I stopped him dead in his tracks.

"Explain that to me. I have no idea what you just said."

"Well, the white guy's definition is "What's up?"

"And the Main?"


"So, it means 'What's up, Man?'"


"And the non-white version?" I just sought clarification, that's all.

"What's Gucci, Main."

"So black guys say this?"


"Then why did you say it to me?"

"To mess with you. But remember - it's outdated."

"Right. I'll be sure to come up with something else when I go out with my homies girlfriends for dinner this week."

Sigh a third time.

I'm entering that phase in life where I could care less if I keep up. I want to start morphing into my future self - the Grandma that can't say words correctly and makes them all laugh (we love you, Mom!). The eccentric Aunt who wears purple and gives them Brach's butterscotch candies. The cranky Great Grandma who tells them to shut up and fix her a Manhattan.

Yes. I will own the Great Grandma role some day. But until then, I'll just keep on learning from them and mixing my own damned drinks. IDK, TBH I could turn up my cray cray afternoon and drink a Manhattan rn.



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