Monday, December 12, 2011

Shawty, With You

For some inexplicable reason, I woke up this morning with Justin Bieber's "Mistletoe" running through my head. "I should be playing in the winter snow, but I'mma be under the mistletoe . . "

OK, let's stop right there. "I'mma"? Really? "Gonna" isn't quite a lazy enough contraction? Now we're going to leave out the main verb entirely? Words that identify a generation. Not that I wouldn't ever use the term, but I'mma reflect on its silliness anytime I do.

But back to the song: "I'mma be under the mistletoe . . . with you, shawty, with you . . . " Shawty. The first time I heard that word was in a song in dance class and I asked the other dancers if it was a term I should discipline my daughters for using or what. Shawty. It doesn't sound complimentary. It's not a cozy, mooshy word. It's a weird thing to call a girl you like. I googled it and apparently, it originally came from the word "shorty". That's what I want my man to sweeten me up with.

Hubby and I read an article years ago talking about nicknames lovers create for each other and how they tend to fit into certain categories. There are the names that have to do with animals. Tiger, Pooky Bear, and such. There are those that have to do with sweetness or sweet food: Sugar, Honey, Sweetie Pie, etc. (We realized that hubby didn't have such a nickname for me, so he immediately started calling me his little Sorghum -- my grandpa's word for molasses. It stuck, no pun intended, mainly because it's so bizarre.)

And there's a group of lover nicknames that have to do with smallness or cuteness: Baby, Cutie, Punkin, Snookums, and all. Does Shawty fit into that category? Somehow, calling someone "Shorty" doesn't sound cute -- it sounds snarky.

I don't know what I'd think if my husband called me Shawty. But then, based on the way the term is used, I think I left Shawtydom a couple decades ago. Words that identify a generation.

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