Discover more from New-to-me Phrases
NTMP 76: Buttox
She's giving big "hag dinner" energy
New-to-me Phrases, July 23, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
I live in a place where summers can get hot and humid and spending time outdoors means being continually assaulted by mosquitoes. Not my fave! But damn, if summer produce isn’t the BEST. Spent part of my day engaged in one of my favorite summer rituals: Standing over the sink gorging myself on perfectly ripe watermelon.
Tomatoes are already cranking—I got some from my local queer punk rock farmers (Instagram link) at Ramshackle Farm. There are abundant fresh herbs for salad dressings and other goodness, and the berry farm at my farmers market has peaches, but I’m still in my cherry phase so those can wait.
Farming and gardening are such good things that I think we sometimes take for granted; planting things and seeing them grow will never not feel like magic to me. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this week’s NTMP to see how one farm is giving back to their community.
But you came here for phrases, and phrases you shall have. This week, we have adorable nicknames for kids (aka “parents say the darndest things”), sexy birds, smooth sacs, and more.
Let’s get to it!
1. Semen demons
I am 1) EXTREMELY mad I didn’t think of this and 2) cannot conjure a more perfect phrase to describe children. (via NTMP forever fave Rebecca).
This joke is being passed around various meme accounts with the source stripped away, as is common:
Apparently referring to kids as "semen demons" is not publicly acceptable, who knew.
Also, Wiktionary has several entries about the origins of this phrase, and it looks like it was first spotted in 2001. I did not know you could search Wiktionary for citations! My phrase-related research is about to get tons more fun than it already is.
Alternatives to semen demons (some new-to-me, some not) that I found whilst researching this phrase included:
Crotch goblin (classic!)
Eggs with legs (LOL)
Hump dumplings (points for alliteration)
Fuck trophies (this one feels weirdly mean and not that funny to me?)
Sexuallly Transmitted Dependents (STDs) (love a good acronym)
2. Meat robots
This phrase is from my friend Shane, commenting on this TED-Ed Talk inquiring into whether animals have feelings like grief.
His response? “Of course they do; they’re not meat robots.” 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
Of course, this made me immediately think of the meatless robot dog nightmare fuel developed by Boston Dynamic (fun fact: my friend’s husband is on the team building those things).
Speaking of TED talks, the If Books Could Kill podcast (link: The Atlantic) exists to drag pop science “airport books.” But they often also drag TED Talks, which is blowing my mind a little bit because I’d often just accepted them as legitimate. I’m sure many are, but it seems that quite a few are based on pop science that doesn’t quite have legs (unlike those terrifying robot dogs). Many of these TED Talk folks also end up getting book deals, littering nonfiction shelves with books that should have been articles. If you love a good debunking peppered with biting humor, listen to the podcast.
Longtime very smart friends of mine have been playing 20 Questions in a Slack channel we inhabit. One of them asked if a character was a protagonist/deuteragonist, as opposed to a supporting character. I’d never heard this one before, and I majored in English!
Here’s the scoop: This term comes from ancient Greece, where the idea of a protagonist in a play is said to have originated.
A deuteragonist is the second-most important character in a story. There’s also a tritagonist, or third-most important character. The prefixes make this easy to remember - pro for one, deu for two, and tri for three.
h/t to my friend Richard for introducing us to this bit of knowledge!
It’s pretty great when one of my kids comes up with a new-to-me phrase. In this instance, I was telling my oldest (who does not read this newsletter) about how his sun conure, the beautiful and perfect Athena, was in my office during a casual Zoom call with colleagues. More than once, she launched herself onto the top of my MacBook, placing her cloaca—which in birds serves as a multi-purpose egg layer/sex hole/poop machine—over the camera.
My son’s reply was that Athena should start an OnlyFeath account.
I think the OnlyFeath logo should be a shiny bell or a mirror (IYKYK).
5. Girl dinner
I didn’t realize that one of my preferred ways to eat had a name: Girl dinner. I can’t recall where I first heard of this but it originated as a TikTok trend (because of course it did), and I saw mention of it via Deb Perelman at the smitten kitchen digest
From the NYT (gifted link):
According to TikTok, where the trend has more than 30 million views, girl dinner is akin to an aesthetically pleasing Lunchable: an artfully arranged pile of snacks that, when consumed in high enough volume, constitutes a meal. Or so the thinking goes.
Typical girl dinners may include some kind of fruit, a block of cheddar, sliced salami, a sleeve of fancy crackers and a dish of olives. Girl dinner is “both chaotic and filling,” as one TikTok commenter put it, requiring none of the forethought, cooking or plating demanded by an actual meal. As another commenter observed: It’s “no preparation just vibes.”
The trend started when Olivia Maher, a showrunner’s assistant currently out of work because of the writers’ strike, posted a video on TikTok this spring extolling the virtues of a humble, medieval-peasant-inspired assemblage that she called “girl dinner.”
I eat like this all the time! Also, it’s dumb to gender this! I know it’s designed to coincide with Hot Girl Walks (also dumb, also: hello, patriarchy) but I think most of us, regardless of gender identity, just want to piece together a personal picnic and be left the hell alone without being called “girls.”
I think I saw this in one of the always-helpful comment threads to Anne Helen Petersen’s, where she writes “don’t be butts” as the sole requirement for participating in discussion about a newsletter.
AuDHD is a fairly recent term describing a comorbidity, or mashup, of autism and ADHD.
It’s also fun to say!
My friend Tom sent this one to me and just . . . wow. The patriarchy strikes again. Scrotox is a procedure some men are pursuing in order to make their balls both look smoother and hang lower. According to that link, this phrase originated in a 2010 SNL skit, but now it’s an actual thing.
Why do we need to make another unrealistic beauty standard a thing? Let bodies be real! Leave them alone!
Your Random Good & Do-Good List
1. Birds with “GO AWAY” welcome mats out front. In what feels to me like an Orca boss revenge move, some crows and magpies are swiping anti-bird spikes from buildings and using them to build nests. Don’t skip this one—it’s fascinating!
2. Help Sylvanaqua Farms Donate to Food Aid Orgs in the D.C. Metro Area Each month, Sylvanaqua Farms sells mutual aid shares that they use to deliver poultry, eggs, and meat to food aid organizations around D.C.
I think they’re really smart to just send shout-out emails about this once/month - I don’t want to set up autopay but I donate every time they do this. There’s a subscribe link at the bottom if you want to contribute regularly.
3. Donate to Sharon McMahon’s Annual Scholarship Fund for Teachers
Here are some Instagram slides explaining the current status for teachers, and therefore, students (hint: It’s not good).
Here are ways to join McMahon’s “governerds” and donate to support teachers:
That’s it for this week! Remember to stay furiously curious. (⬅️ What do we think?)
Also, support your local libraries, teachers, and mutual aid groups. They need support from caring, reasonably-minded folks now more than ever. Learn more via my neighbor-pal’s.