Over Thanksgiving, I was talking to my kids and a bunch of college-age extras about my experience with SuperPoke, a facebook application which lets you publicly send your online friends silly expressions. See, at first, I didn't grasp that much of the language on SuperPoke was taken from the world of online dating. And I didn't understand that many of the expressions were .... um, metaphors. Mostly metaphors for sexual activity. I pretty much had no idea. I thought "trout slapping" meant throwing fish. And "motorboating" meant giving people rides in a boat. And that "teabag" meant I would be giving someone a hot cup of tea.
Looking these phrases up in the urban slang dictionary was quite a revelation. I suddenly found out I'd been doing all kinds of perverse things with my blogging friends. (Some of my friends were as innocent as I was, while others were smiling at me and just waiting to see what happened when I figured it out.)
Anyhow, at Thanksgiving, when I was explaining my mistakes to the young people in the room, most of whom are also my facebook "friends," they laughed hysterically at my ignorance. They kept saying things like, "OMG! How could you not know?"
Then last weekend, I was sitting by the fire with my laptop when Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter glanced at my screen.
Daughter: What are you doing?
Me: I'm on twitter.
Shaggy Hair Boy: (smirking) That's what she said.
Me: It's a social networking site.
Daughter: You want to know what twitter really means?
Me: Lots of people use it.
Daughter: People your age, who don't know what it means.
Boy in Black: (looking down at a page of physics) Stop! I don't want to hear it.
Me: There's nothing obscene about the word twitter.
Daughter: Okay, if you want to think that ....
Me: No, seriously. It's the sound birds make or something like that.
Me: It's even in that Keats' poem.
Daughter: Look it up.
(a few minutes later)
Me: Oh. My. God.
Daughter: (looking over my shoulder) They phrased it quite nicely.
Me: Well, I'd prefer the word perineum.
Boy in Black: (without looking up) I'm trying to study here.
Me: So when people use it as a verb ... I'm twittering ... what would that even mean?
Shaggy Hair Boy: We really don't need to hear any more.
Me: Slang words that refer to women's body parts almost always —
Boy in Black: Can we stop talking about this?
Me: Maybe I should look up tweet or twit or —
Shaggy Hair Boy: MOM!
Daughter: Or maybe you should do it some other time.
Boy in Black: When I'm not here.