Acceptable, America, Boundaries, Casual Sex, Civility, Dinner, Freedom, Gen Y, Generation Y, Hookup, Inner Circle, Melissakoterschwartz, Morality, Mother's Job, Offensive, Old-Fashioned, Powerful, Shut Up, Slang, Stranger, strangersihaveknown, Words
As I get older, some words become stranger and stranger. Words that mean one thing to me, mean something else to Generation Y, or Gen Y for short.
Call me old-fashioned. I know words can change meaning over time, but for goodness sakes, “shut up,” just means “shut up.” It means “shut your mouth and don’t utter another word or I’ll be even more pissed off than I already am.” It does not mean “ha ha, what a crazy story you’re telling me.”
I’ve been told “shut up,” at least three times lately by different Gen Y women. What they mean to say is “Like wow, what you’re saying is really wild, cool or unreal!” All I hear is something ugly.
Saying “shut up,” is like me swearing at my Mom. When I was growing up these words were never acceptable by my Mom’s standards, so why are Gen Y women that I barely know – women nearly young enough to be my daughters – saying bad words to me?
The first time a young woman said, “shut up” to me, I was buying cosmetics at a department store. I wanted to slap her, but instead I just stared at her. She thought a story that I had told her was funny, but it was inappropriate.
I almost straightened her out, but decided that was her mother’s job, not mine. What’s even worse is that she probably thought that I liked hearing those words. “No, no my dear, you’re mistaken. It’s worse than nails on a chalk board,” I wanted to say.
What worries me is, what’s happened to boundaries? Doesn’t she know that I’m not in her inner circle where her slang belongs?
Words are powerful. That brings me to another phrase that I find offensive: “hookup culture.” “Casual sex” sounds much better to me than “hooking up.” “Hookup” sounds like “hooker.” “Casual” means “without definite and serious intention.” Morality aside, “casual sex” just sounds less harsh to my ears.
I don’t want to hear day in and day out about America’s “hookup culture.” I don’t want my friends to say, “Let’s hook up around 7:00p.m for dinner,” and, yes, that’s happened.
“Let’s not hook up,” I wanted to answer. “Let’s just get together and have dinner. “
“You are your words” is what I want to say to people who don’t use their words responsibility. People should take pride in their words and use them thoughtfully.
We should be grateful that we have the freedom to use words as we wish in America. Without thinking about what our words really mean, we can lose our civility.