Friday, April 03, 2009

I am not sure, but I think I'm offended.

The list of things that I love about Australia and its people grows minute by minute. One of those things is way they speak, the slang they use, and their disregard for words that end in -er and the 'z'. Why use a 'z' when you could you use an 's'? Recognise, realise, organise - you get the point. There have been several awkward moments where slang has been used when I didn't know what was going on and felt like a dummy.

One of the guys on The Dating Site the other day called me a bludge - a bludger. Even though I was all "eh? whatchoo talking about?" The guy momentarily forgot he was talking to an American, thought I was kidding, and changed the subject. Should I have been offended? Isn't a bludger a ball in quidditch? Was he telling me I was a piece of equipment in a game played by wizards on brooms? I mean I guess it wouldn't be the first time - but it seemed out of context in a discussion of university life.

So, I asked my friend Abs that day at lunch what this guy was talking about. Bludger means slacker. OBVIOUSLY. I always get all nervous after someone explains it to me like "uh ohs! do we say that in America too? Am I just being stupid?" So, do we? Answer me, you bludge.

Yesterday, I was describing he-who-makes-my-heart-beat-quicken as a spaz to Abs.

"Um, what do you mean by 'spaz'"? Abs enquired.

"Oh, ok. Um, like a bit disorganised, all over the place, a bit ditzy but without the cheerleader connitation..."

"Here spaz means retarded. Really stupid. So, if you've described him as such before people are probably wondering why you like him so much"


Stupid is never one of the words I'd used to describe you Someone Else...No No No. Disorganised - clearly. A poor planner - sure. A bit of a flake - definitely. But stupid, oh I'd never dare.


  1. Hahaha I wonder how many people you've offended without even realizing it. After studying abroad in New Zealand I tried to turn Philadelphia on to "sweet as" and "cheers." It didn't work, but I'm still trying.

  2. Bridget, I love "sweet as" - I feel like a tool when I say cheers though. I tried to convince Australia that all americans were saying "that burns my toast" for "annoyed" but they didn't buy it for it unknown reasons which subsequently burned my toast.

  3. As an Aussie I would understand 'spaz' generally in the way you defined it, Deidre. Though it is derived from 'spastic', it has a playful, sometimes endearing, nuance that spastic lacks. Calling someone spastic would have the connotation Abs describes.

    Wonder if it's a regional difference in Aus English.

    (found this post via your mention of it over on Dina's blog)

  4. Stephen, Welcome to decoybetty! Good to hear that I haven't been offending the Australian population through my use of "spaz" haha.

  5. You're funny. When I was in the 8th grade I called my dad... did you hear that... my DAD... a dildo. I thought it meant "silly dork". He made me look it up in the dictionary.

  6. I'm right there with you sister! I once loudly proclaimed something about my fanny-pack to my English friend while on a street corner in London and she kept telling me to shut up and I just kept saying it out loud and wanted to know what was wrong with saying it. Then she told me (after we were WAY out of earshot of anyone) that it was a word for the female anatomy, you know....down there. eek!