A woman’s ways are mysterious, especially our mothers’ insistence on outdated terms.
It hits you one day while listening to your mom talk. It’s not that you don’t understand it, it’s that it sounds, well…weird, strange, more foreign as the years pass. It dates her but quite possibly worse, it dates you. In an instant, a mere word makes you an unwilling accessory to yesterday’s milieu.
“Get some seltzer from the ice box, will you?”
You won’t say anything to correct her because she’s your mom and it’s part of why you love her so much.
In honor of Mother’s Days past, pending and future (but mostly past), I salute all our moms out there carrying the torch for words and phrases that are so passe, they’re bound to be picked up by hipsters any minute now.
Sorry, Mom. (We love you.)
Tampax or tampons as many a modern day woman calls them. You know, the ones without belts or bulk? While “This new day for womanhood,” debuted in 1936 and might still seem Tampaxy to you mom, it just seems uncomfortable to hear it.
Hussy, floozy, bimbo: a woman who has too many male friends, likes plunging necklines, wears short skirts, thongs up the back and swears like a truck driver. Nowadays mom, most just call them total sluts. Only we don’t, because at EcoSalon, we don’t even believe in such a thing.
Gasoline or gas. Gasoline was actually a brand in the same way that Vaseline is a brand name for petroleum jelly. Both sound too pretty for such a nasty substance we keep starting wars over.
Panty Hose or tights. Who wears these petro-casings? No woman I know. These days no girl wears L’Egg’s Sandal Toe, Nude panty hose from a plastic egg. They do wear Spanx and tights that are opaque but few and far between are covering their legs in hose the same color as their legs. Just saying. It’s kind of gross.
Sears & Roebuck or Sears. We are willing to run the risk of offending Alvah C. Roebuck where he lies six feet under, but we stopped adding the Roebuck decades ago, like around the time those hand-me-down Toughskins you always made me wear went out of style.
Ground Chuck or hamburger. Sure, housewives once had the luxury of going to the corner butcher store to pick out a nice piece of meat, but please stop pulling a “good looking roast,” from the fields of supermarket plastic-wrapped meat and asking the butcher to unwrap and “Grind your chuck.” I’m just as stunned as he is every time you ask.
Slacks or pants. Mother. I won’t ever try them on again if you call them that. Say slacks, my beloved one, and I see flat-front polyester and unshakable memories of camel toe. I’m refraining here from blouses and tops, known to most as shirts, on the grounds of further trauma risk.
Adult beverage, also known to the rest of us as a drink. You’re a doll, Mom, but I think it’s safe to say you’re safe from getting carded.
Fine dining, fancy restaurant or as most gals these days call it, a great place to eat. Maybe it has linen napkins, maybe we sit on the floor and eat decadently ginger-smeared vegan main dishes from artisanal earthenware bowls but what it is not, is a gilded room with waitstaff clad in black and white and a gent on the piano.
Powder room. We’ve come a long way, baby. We’ve got bathrooms, loos, restrooms and even toilets. Powder these days means something else entirely.
Pizazz. I am very sure there’s no new term replacing this. Just trust me, I’ve done the research. People just don’t use it unless they’re playing shuffle board on a cruise ship, eyeballing gaudy earrings on QVC or doing Jazzercise. I don’t have it and neither do you.
Soda pop. Soda if you’re on the East Coast, Pop if you’re on the West and never the twain shall meet, except for a brief time during the 50’s when they echoed forth at sock hops and drive-in theaters.
Frigidaire or, a refrigerator. This is a place where one generally retrieves items that need to be cold. Oh, I get it, “frigid air,” but even refrigerator has evolved and many call it “The Fridge.” Admittedly, I have no explanation for the addition of the letter “d”.
Snazzy or “put together.” I know you want to tell me my outfit is doing what it’s supposed to do, but why make it sound like my look is pregnant with a sneeze?
And finally, The Wal-Marts, The Googles or The Internets. Forget spoons; there is no The. The Moms, I need to tell you that The Womans you call your daughter and all The EcoSalons in the world might not be able to cure you of the The, but know that I still love you.
Readers: I know that ain’t all. Tell me the words your mother still uses that drive you crazy.
Image: La Libertad Clothing