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Friday, October 21, 2005

It's an Ugly Word, but Someone's Gotta Say It.

Or Why I Use the Word "Skanky."

I admit, I've slipped into the uglier side of popular, trendy, teenage vocabulary. I've adopted the use of the word "skanky." I don't feel particularly good about it, but it's a decision I've come to terms with, and now that the shocked looks on our children's faces have faded, I'll tell you why.

One of our daughters befriended a skank. Now, I know we're not supposed to use that kind of language about our children's friends, but if the leather hip boot fits, ... Well, what other choice is there? I can lecture till I'm blue in the face about how marrying a man and two weeks later sending him off to war, moving in days later with a different man, is wrong. When you see the soap opera up too-close, it becomes too real, and one forgets to be shocked. Especially if the skank in question is someone you adore.

This all happened nearly two years ago, and in the intervening time the young "lady" in question has given birth to sugar daddy's baby, while receiving military family benefits on beloved hubbie. The sugar daddy in question has, meanwhile, fathered another child with one of the best friends of Skankmom. In the intervening time, too, I've become increasingly aware of teens who go to church in pants so low-cut that not only their "do-me" thongs are visible, but the flesh below them. I've become increasingly aware of the girls at the high school who sport the "teen pregnancy is so in!" look. I've become increasingly aware of "look at my nipples" high school and middle school attire. And the only word that can do justice to these fads, and get the kids in our family to pay any attention, is skank.

When a teen is tempted to "groupthink" (a concept you no doubt recognize, where one teen adopts another teen's attitude, because youth makes right), they actually seem to have greater respect for people who use such trashy language. They like a good dishing as well as the next babe. And when a teen is not tempted to groupthink, they have proper disdain for the current behaviors to recognize the inherent truth in the thought behind the word. Either way, it reinforces the idea that trashy behavior is ugly.

Meanwhile, I found Dale at Dyspeptic Mutterings using the word himself. Now, this is a blogger I respect, and have found him to have worthwhile things to say pretty consistently. I feel a little better that I'm in good company. (This, by the way, was the post that I was responding to in the comment field above referenced.) He discusses things from trolloping Halloween costumes to "skankdolls" and how merchandisers are selling gutter sexuality to children as young as preschoolers.

I'm not proud of my little foray into the gutter. I try to eliminate ugly phrases from the rest of my vocabulary. But for now, a very trendy word for a very trendy descent seems appropriate. I would rather have my children disdain skankiness than admire it.

I apologize to the world for adding to the ugliness in it, but I defend my motives to the end.