Know what’s grating? Grown adults calling everything awesome.
“Dad survived a heart attack.” “Awesome!”
“Dad cut his toenails.” “Awesome!”
When did this word come to dominate the English language alongside such stalwarts as and, the, but, and Kardashian?
Of course, sharing pet peeves is more fun than keeping them to ourselves. So to that end, we’ve assembled a roster of fellow curmudgeons to drive a stake through the heart of our more loathsome fads. They’re awesome—just not in a good way.
Elastic Waistband Nation
I don’t know if I should call it a trend or a tragedy—people wandering in public as though they’ve just been interrupted during a long winter’s nap. Dressing down has been taken way too far! Now, I’m not saying that we should all don white gloves and a top hat, but must one wear a Juicy Couture tracksuit to make air travel bearable or to enjoy theater? And as if to prove that things are spinning out of control, there’s the Snuggie. Adults wearing fleece onesies? What fresh new hell is this!
Carson Kressley, host of ABC’s True Beauty
It’s great to take pride in one’s ethnic diversity, but does everyone have to break it down for you? “I’m one quarter Cherokee on my dad’s side and Jewish, Samoan, and one twelfth Minnesotan on my mom’s … ” Who cares? And the other day, the guy who fixed my computer proudly proclaimed, “I’m a geek!” There was a time when geeks were ashamed of their techie status. Not anymore. Know what else is new? “Croning” festivals for women turning 60. Yippee! I’m a full-grown crone! Is there no one who isn’t proud of who they are?
Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids
I’m all for spoiling Spot with high-quality pet food and toys. But I draw the line at four-footed, fur-trimmed dresses and coats. The idea of removing one animal’s pelt to warm up another is woefully unhip. As for fashion shows featuring matching mother-daughter getups for Mommy and Puppy … please. Let’s keep canines off the catwalks; they’d much rather go naked than be dressed to resemble refugees from the set of Dynasty.
Julia Szabo, author of Pretty Pet-Friendly; follow her on Twitter @PetReporter1
Beyond One’s Qualifications
Forget for a second just how tough the job market is today. More and more job seekers won’t settle for anything less than manager status, regardless of their experience—or lack thereof—in a particular field. One hiring manager received a résumé from a part-time model. Included was a four-by-six-inch card showing her in various poses, and at the bottom, it read “good hands.” She was applying for a corporate position.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president, human resources, careerbuilder.com
Has there ever been a shoe more aptly named?
Andrea Henry, comedian
They’re two little words innocuous enough on their own, though together they are poison. Just Sayin’ is the Hummel Lil’ Rascal of figures of speech, harmless until you look closer and see the slingshot in his back pocket. The way it’s used is in the form of a pulled punch. “No one above the age of seven should be seen chewing gum. Just sayin’.” “My boss smells like a brewery. Just sayin’.” It’s like a coy kicking of the dirt. “I’m going to say something offensive, but by adding these two words, I won’t have to take responsibility for it.”
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Julie Klam, author of You Had Me at Woof
Where’s the love? Lately, everywhere: “Vegan Diets Get Some Love.” “Historic Windows Get Some Love.”
Love preceded by some doth not always run smooth: “I have to quit being so teed off before I give him some love,” a fan wrote of former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin. And we’re all being told to love on demand: “Call Henry Waxman’s office and give him some love!” Sorry, I don’t know the congressman well enough. When love is reduced to little more than a verbal thumbs-up, I’ll settle for some like.
Leslie Savan, author of Slam Dunks and No-Brainers
Fusion food, gastropubs, words that end with the suffix “-ista” (as in frugalista or no-imaginationista) are predictable, overused labels that tell us little and quickly become yesterday’s news, only to be replaced by an equally loathsome word du jour. And while we’re at it, may the term wardrobe malfunction RIP, along with BFF, LOL, and OMG.
Linda Arroz, of Makeover Media
When I was serving in Iraq, I noticed something new—every challenge was met with the brash response “too easy.” Whether the soldiers knew what they were doing or not, they seemed to think simply saying “too easy” was enough to bestow on them the ability to diagnose electric faults in a Humvee or to correctly torque bolts.
Of course, I soon discovered something else. “Too easy” was usually followed a few minutes later by the far more feeble “Uh … how do you do that?”
Sgt. Neil Gussman, U.S. Army
Yooneek Baby Names
I’m talking to you, Madysyn, and you, Aadinn, and you, too, Makayla. Or rather, your parents. This effort to be more kre8tiv by taking a perfectly okay name and contorting it with extra letters and strange substitutes only condemns your poor child to a lifetime of respelling her name, explaining its derivation, and assuring people that yes, her parents really do in most cases know how to spell.
Most annoying of all, these bizarre spellings don’t do anything to change the name’s pronunciation or specialness, so Madysyn in the end is really just plain old Madison. So why change the spelling in the first place? That’s right: just to be annoying.
Pamela Redmond Satran, coauthor of The Baby Name Bible
Preschoolers with Mohawks
I’m sick of parents imposing their lost punk youth on their four-year-olds. It’s one thing to mangle your own hair—but quite another to try to make your kid too cool for preschool.
Helene Stapinski,author of Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History
“Should I Flush?”
It boggles my mind that anyone thinks it’s okay to talk on a cell phone in a public restroom. Standing next to a man who is talking while conducting his business on and off the phone is disconcerting enough and invites the question “Do I flush?” But can you imagine being on the other end of the call? Don’t make them ask, “Where are you?” Avoid the unpleasantness: Table your talk until far from the toilet.
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Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute
We’ve changed the motto of the United States. “Huh?” you say. And you’re right. “Huh?” is the nation’s new rallying cry. Ladies say “huh?” Gentlemen say “huh?” Children say “huh?” to everything. You could tell my children that their Crocs are on fire and they’d say “huh?”
Once it would have been “pardon me” or “come again” or “sorry, Daddy, I didn’t hear what you said.” Now it’s the dull, uncouth, distracted “huh?” This is the result of the dull, uncouth distractions of modern life. People are constantly staring at something other than the person speaking to them—a laptop, BlackBerry, video game, Kindle, text message—and wearing iPod earbuds and talking on a cell phone too. The cell phone conversation goes like this: Person with cell phone pauses slack-jawed, says, “huh?” and then pauses while something is said again. He now says something, waits for the corresponding “huh?” and repeats himself.
In 1956, Congress changed the motto of the United States to “In God We Trust” because nobody knew what the old motto meant anymore. America’s original motto, appearing on the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, was “e pluribus unum” (“one out of many”) or, as we might say today, “e pluribus huh?”
P. J. O’Rourke, author of the forthcoming book on political theory Don’t Vote—It Just Encourages the B*st*rds
12 Trends We’d Like to See
“Pull up your pants,” “pay it forward,” and please—please!—”put shopping carts back where they belong.” When we asked readers what fads they look forward to, those topped the list. But they didn’t stop there:
1. Say “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem,” which implies it might have been a problem. -Patricia B., Channahon, Illinois
2. A universal hand signal for poor drivers that means “Sorry, I’m an idiot.”? -Laura M., St. Louis, Missouri
3. An understanding among voters that a negative political ad will disqualify that candidate. -Doug M., Tupelo, Mississippi
4. Allow pro golfers to wear shorts in PGA tournaments. -David G., Moline, Illinois
5. Subject-verb agreement. -Judy G., Atlanta, Georgia
6. More random acts of kindness. -Ken L., Discovery Bay, California
7. People getting along as well as dogs do at the dog park. -Bryant H., Huntsville, Alabama
8. Rather than focus on salary, let’s focus on what one brings to society. -Jerome D., Carlisle, Pennsylvania
9. More inviting, user-friendly porches. -Dr. Bob L., Ogdensburg, New York
10. Less Facebook, more face time. Cherish the people, not their personal Internet accounts. -Mercy S., Binghamton, New York
11. People discussing topics other than sports and home renovations. Something—anything!—deeper than scores and drywall. -Gina B., Joppa, Maryland
12. I just want my cat to stop stepping on my head while I’m trying to sleep. -Eileen E., Fieldsboro, New Jersey