All posts tagged: Language

Does This Slang Make Me Look Old?

Recently, I’ve had a lot of talks with friends my age (we’re all generally around 21) about getting older — something we know a fair amount about. Okay, I lied about the parenthetical part of that intro. We’re all pushing 40. And we’ve found ourselves in that awkward “not-old, definitely-not-all-that-young-anymore” phase. Well, not all that young unless we’re hanging out with, say, a random gang of 80-year-olds. Which I really should do more often because my skin would probably look amazing in comparison. Just kidding. That’s rude thing to say. Okay, not kidding. I thought it and meant it. I’m rude. Anyway, we’re deeply in that “woah, did you see so-and-so from high school on Facebook? How do they look so OLD” part of our show. Followed by the requisite pause… Then… “Do I look that old?” Then the rush of mutual assurances and “Oh my God, please, you look amazing,” various accolades doled out to our favorite Korean skin care products, agreements that the efficacy of moisturizer is directly proportional to how overpriced it …

Giving My Daughter a Chinese Name

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) When I was expecting my daughter, my husband and I of course started to talk about names for the baby. The discussion dragged on for months without really getting anywhere. The names I liked, he didn’t, and the names he liked, I was like, “Really?” I began to appreciate how much culture is just as tied up in a name as the meaning or the sound. While all this was going on, I confided in my Southern-born Mom.“Well, I wanted to call you ‘Scarlett’ you know,” she told me. I vaguely remembered. “Yes,” she went on. “But your Dad didn’t want to because he was worried that you’d be a bookworm with a name of a hoyden.” Thanks, Dad. My husband’s last name is Ha, which was something we had to take into consideration. We both rolled our eyes when random servers at restaurants would give him back his debit card and invariably say, “Aha!” To note that, yes, his first name begins with an “A,” and yes, his last name …

Sorry I’m Not Sorry: Learning a New Lesson

Modified photo from Roberta’s Pizza, Brooklyn I began my 30-day exercise to stop saying the words “sorry,” “totally” and “cool,” just by noticing how often I committed my crime. Like any habit one tries to tweak, I started by recognizing when and why I was saying these words. Quickly, I realized I actually don’t say totally or cool all that much, but, holy hell, I said “sorry” on an hourly basis — like a nervous tic. Sorry was the word to nip. “You do say it a lot,” said my Mom. Was my mother imparting some nugget of historical knowledge? “What do you mean? Like, all my life?” “Well I don’t know, no…  I’m noticing it now, too. Just stop it!” If only it were that easy. I said it bumping into people. I said it when we spontaneously asked a taxi driver to drop off a friend at a different location in Brooklyn. On the surface of things I get by very well — but often, I don’t meet my own expectations. So I apologize …

Three Words I Want to Stop Saying

There are certain words I say all the time. As in (and I’ve counted) as often as 15 times a day. These words are defaults, slightly more illustrative “ums,” when I don’t have anything more creative, or specific, to say to you. Or I’m just being lazy, sorry. Oops! Let’s start with “sorry” — the worst, most classic offender, said in the most innocuous situations. Bumping into someone anytime, anywhere. When someone nudges in front of me on the subway (a terrible, knee-jerk reaction.) When I hear what you said, but it was so bizarre I need to hear it again. Sorry? Spacing out at packages of Selfie Sticks at the counter at Duane Reade and wondering if I really don’t need one last gift… if Selfie Sticks are, in a sense, a more inclusive photo accessory, allowing for more landscape, more people in your photo. So, then, is it really a “Selfie” Stick? The cashier clears her throat. “Ahem.” “Oh!” I wake up. “Sorry.” According to a 2010 study, we women do apologize more …