Tweets, Twits, Hookups

I said what?
I said what?

Twitter. I like it best when done by birds. So many old words mean very new things. Language is ever evolving but at age 60, what I don’t know can be embarrassing. Since when did innocent phrases get hijacked into the sexual realm?

It started a few years back when I was working with a college professor on a writing workshop. In trying to set up a first-time meeting, I asked, “So what time do you want to hook up?”

Long pause.

He replied (very formally I might add), “How about if we meet at two?” The emphasis on meet hinted that I had said something wrong.

Later my daughter clued me in, “Mom, ‘hooking up’ means to have sex.”

The color drained from my face. Mentally I counted the number of times that “invitation” must have fallen casually from my lips. No wonder my minister raised an eyebrow a while back.

“That’s not fair! I’ve said, ‘hook up’ for years! Besides people know better anyway.”

My daughter shrugged. “Not anymore so watch yourself, Missy.”

It keeps happening. Recently, “pole dancing” appeared on the subject line in a spate of emails among senior friends in a civic group. What in the world were my fellow members up to?

It turned out they were circulating a historic photo of The Totem Pole Ballroom in Newton, Mass (1930 to 1963). In its heyday, the site featured big band orchestras and entertainment (Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, even the Von Trapp Family) and ballroom dancing “for couples only.” The place was even featured on major television stations (all three of them!). The top of the vintage photo advertisement read, “Totem Pole for your dancing pleasure.”

Gee, that line sure has a new spin nowadays. Well, of course! Who could resist riffing on that?

Even small children get into the act. I was talking about pirates and treasure to my little granddaughter, and I used the word, “booty,” and little Lulu said, “Ooh, you said a bad word.” I’d say I was getting a “bum” rap, but again she would correct my inappropriate language.

I am a Lingo-saurus lumbering about on the brink of the La Brea Tar Pits. Watch it, Missy, or you, too, will fall in.

Email Suzette Martinez Standring: suzmar@comcast.net She is the author of the Amazon bestseller, “The Art of Opinion Writing”, and the award winning, “The Art of Column Writing.” Visit www.readsuzette.com

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13 thoughts on “Tweets, Twits, Hookups”

  1. I had a situation that was related but with another angle. This spring when I reported to work there was a large display unit where people could choose dog tag type necklaces with their names on them. Also on the tag is a snarling wolf and the words “bite me.” Startled, I asked my supervisor if those words mean the same thing they did when I was in high school. She said yes. We sell several of these necklaces every day, even parents and grandparents buying them for their off-spring.

    1. “Bite me” necklaces for grandkids? Maybe the grandparent wants the kid to wear something that matches the “bite me” on his sleeve of tattoos, either that or someone is really hard up for a gift idea…

  2. Well, hopefully, the people I’ve said I would “hook up” with are as behind the times as I am! Likewise, for those who’ve wanted to “hook up.” The nerve! I now know to “meet” instead. 🙂 Thank you for this valuable insight. Does make you think!

  3. It is a tricky world Suzette. Add to it auto correct on phone and we don’t stand a chance. Loved this post–and I swear that doesn’t mean anything sexual!

  4. Eventually, every word or phrase will have a sexual connotation. We need all the words we can get to talk about what’s always on our minds (speaking as a male)! Maybe you can start “reserving” words that can never be used in this way, but I don’t know who would enforce it. In the meantime, double entendres get easier every day!

  5. I didn’t know “hook up” now had an erotic meaning?

    Thanks for the heads-up! 😉

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