Saturday, February 10, 2007

Words Can Drive You Crazy




See this dark jacket? My daughter not only sewed it, she DESIGNED it--out of sparkly denim. Anybody want to hire an up and coming designer? Trust me, she's far hipper than I am.

The other picture is of a HOUSECOAT. If you don't know what a housecoat is, may I gently suggest that you are missing out on the finer things in life.


There once was a time when women got dressed up to go out of the house--yes, even to the grocery store. When they got home, rather than get their nice clothes dirty, they took them off and put on a house coat. Simple. Elegant. Useful.

Some friends and I got into a fervent discussion of housecoats the other day. I had a 39-year-old character look at her mother wearing one, and my editor suggested that a thirty-nine year old might not use the word "housecoat." So I started polling my friends, of all ages, to determine the prevalence of the word.

I'm sorry to say it, but lately I've discovered that the younger generation doesn't know the same words I know--and yes, I know what BLING is and what MOS means (Mom over shoulder). I can even use "poser" correctly. I think.

So I think it's only fair that the younger folks learn what a housecoat is. A housecoat is not a robe. Some folks might call it a duster, but most people just call it a housecoat. You don't sleep in it, you wear it around the house. Or your grandmother does.

I'm thinking of opening a housecoat museum. (I don't actually own one, but I think my mom has a closet full.) And maybe start an apron collection. You know, from back in the days when moms (including me) used to cook.

By the way, you can find housecoats--summer and winter versions--in the Vermont Country Store catalog.

Slacks? Trousers? Dress pants? What you call them tells us a lot about how old you are.

And please, will somebody tell me where the expression "Me love me some (fill in the blank)" comes from? I first heard it from Quentin Tarentino's lips on Alias, and now I'm hearing it everywhere. Let's find out where it's from . . . and send it back. :-)

Okay, rant over. For now. Drop me a note if you're looking for America's next top designer . . . just don't call that denim jacket a housecoat.

~~Angie

14 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

I LOVE housecoats. I don't have any now, but I used to. My mom wore them all the time. I'd love to find one. Talk about comfort.

Kelli Standish said...

Oh WOW, Angie,
I LOVE that jacket your daughter designed. Is she selling them?

She should put together a web site for her designs and start marketing them.

I'd buy one ;)

Better yet, I'd help her with her web site and earn one that way!

Kelli

Pam Meyers said...

I remember housecoats although I can't say I've ever owned one. My mom wore them all the time. I'm older than you, Angie! LOL. So what did you decide about the pants? Which word did you use for your heroine?

Pam

Cindy said...

I can remember my mom having some really nice housecoats when I was growing up...they were actually flattering and pretty, unlike some of the "duster" types. I remember she had a long, leopard-skin one that tied at the waist. So maybe that was more a robe than a housecoat, but we still called it a housecoat.

This whole language gap was illustrated vividly to me several years ago, when my kids were all still at home. We were getting ready to leave when I asked, "Did anybody pack the cream rinse?"

Everyone looked at me blankly, until I realized that it's no longer called "cream rinse," and hasn't been for years--that was some kind of strange verbal flashback on my part. That product is, of course, known as "conditioner."

Angela said...

I remember cream rinse. And Whip 'n Chill. And lots of things that probably date me.

I went with "dress pants," though I lost the lovely alliteration of "the swish of my slacks." Rats. "Dress pants" isn't very poetic.

Angie

Suzanne said...

I am 37 and I used my apron today while I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting from scratch...with my ten year old who was wearing her apron!

We are out here-few and far between.

Christina Berry said...

Suzanne, I'll see your 37 and lower it to 29. My grandmother was over the other day and I was cooking in my apron.

"Do you really wear that?" she asked.

"Everytime I cook or mix."

She and her friends had decided the younger generation don't wear them anymore. My question is: how do they get the grease spots out of their clothes? ;-)

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous jacket!

Susan/accidental poet

Anonymous said...

Ok . . .here is a blast from the past, and I want to know if I am the only one that remembers this. Does anyone remember a cookie called Yum Yum, it was in a turquoise box and it was kind of like the chocolate, caramel and coconut girl scout cookies that get sold today. But I remember getting them at Wagners grocery story . . . and what is also scary is that I can see the shelves and the box in my mind. All that to say any Yum Yum memories! Jeane

Anonymous said...

Oh one more . . . I also still saying ice box for fridge! Jeane

Anonymous said...

I meant to say . . .still say ice box.

Leslie said...

I'm 27 and know what both a housecoat and an apron are. I also know cream rinse, though I call it conditioner.

But....my mom was 40 when I was born and all my siblings were in their late teens and twenties, so I was raised with the varied lingo of three distinct generations.

Candy said...

I have two never-married aunts who still wear model's coats and call them that. Somehow model's coat has a little more sophisticated ring to it than housecoat.

For the cream rinse person, I've recently gotten odd looks from saying "suntan lotion" instead of sunscreen. It was ALWAYS suntan lotion until a few years ago and is a perfectly good description of lotion that gives you a tan instead of a burn, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I was 3 years old when Sesame Street first aired, and to me the only way to complete the phrase "me want some..." is just like Cookie Monster - "me want some cookies!" Melissa