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Singled Out: The Lesbian Lexicon

Singled Out: The Lesbian Lexicon

Entertainment Publicist Mona Elyafi bemoans the loss of the King -- or Queen's --English to texting and instant message abbreviations. But more than that, she investigates her ability to keep up with ever-evolving lesbian lingo that could prove instrumental in understanding the fairer sex.


 Does anyone speak proper English anymore? Well ok, forget "proper," how about just "basic" English?

 Admittedly, I am very much aware English is not my native language but at least I know the grammatical difference between "it's" and "its' and "their" and "there" - and guess what? It's really not brain surgery. Yet if that were the only major linguistic problem, I wouldn't so much have a huge problem right now.

 And what's my problem? I am totally lost in translation. It seems that nothing really means what it actually means anymore. Somehow a legion of words has rebelled against the language of Shakespeare and come together to form some sort of fancy underground society communicating through a coded dialect in which everything literally means the exact opposite of its original meaning.

 And to make matters worse, not only do I have to learn all these unnecessarily complicated wannabe double-entendres but I also have to know how to use them appropriately.  I despise all these buzzwords, "it"-words, and lazy-ass abbreviations that have invaded our lexicon and spilled over our everyday conversations. Do you know how long it took for my brain to figure out what BFF, OMG, LOL and BTW stand for?

Here's one I mastered quite fast, WTF? As a foreigner it was confusing enough in the first place to learn all the American idiomatic expressions, adapt to the culture, try to get rid of my Celine Dion accent and practice intonation and phonetic pronunciation to avoid sounding like a total alien.

Of course, now that I have nailed down most of that "I speak American" science some anonymous anti-Mona conspiracy had to mess it all up for me to instantly go back to the starting point and force me to reconfigure my repertoire and repartee. Evidently, I am not at all happy about that because it certainly was no walk in the park some 20 years ago when I got off the airplane that catapulted my ass from the city of lights to the City of Angels. Believe me, I've had my share of humiliating moments during my Moliere to Shakespeare tongue transition- some were frankly quite traumatic.

Awww, my first trick or treat experience! I reminisce with intense sentimentality the fist time I was informed about this yearly tradition called Halloween.

"Hallo what? And we have to do what?" I inquired with a slight arrogant air of European superiority, horrified at the trivial thought of having to wear a childish costume. Yet to be a good spirit and show my cultural open-mindedness I decided to join the festivities and pumped up my jam by sporting to a T. the distinctive accoutrement of Technotronic's lead singer, which of course pretty much translated into slipping into spandex.

The embarrassing part didn't so much come from the fact that no one could really make anything out of my outfit but from the fact that I kept tormenting my entourage with an alarmingly disturbing yet innocent answer to the repetitive query: "What are you dressed as?" Shame on me for thinking it was obvious. This is where, perhaps, I should have considered "hooked-on-phonics" instead of Technotronic.  

All night I obstinately told people that I was dressed as a "raper" instead of a "rapper." Apparently one "p" makes a whole lot of meaningful difference.

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Ya think someone could have told me?

Yet isn't it all semantics really? Some say toMAYto, others say tomaato - you say rapper and I say raper. Luckily no one made a criminal case out of it - although I sure became the #1 joke on campus.

If things were tough in straight land, ironically they got 10 times worse for me the moment I said "I do" and vowed to devote my life to my lesbian sisters from another mother. On top of having to re-learn English, now I also had to learn a whole new patois which I wittily dubbed "Lesbionage" - ok I didn't coin the term, my super sexy therapist did but it's the same difference since we're sort of not really, actually kind of dating -- but not.

Granted, half of the time I don't even understand the jargon the kids use these days. And now I even need subtitles to overcome the language barriers within my own community. It seems there's panoply of slang words and hip expressions that have suddenly emerged as part of the latest lesbian linguistic zeitgeist. What I personally want to know is how do Lesbos come up with all this lingo and exactly why?

Seriously, nobody has anything else better to do in life than fabricate buzzwords and spread them like the plague just because some other bozos collectively decided it was so "bad" it was super cool! I'd have more respect for these ladies if they would at least make a buck or two out of it and turn their harassingly obnoxious stenographic enterprise into a marketable profit-generating business. Thank God the gays didn't just think of it but manufactured it pronto.  Honestly, if it weren't for the thousands of t-shirts encrypted with subliminal sexual innuendos, I wouldn't have substantially enriched the quality of my verbiage and upgraded to the sought-after bi-lingual status.

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Frankly, how else was I supposed to decode all the blah blah blah? Nobody speaks straightforward language anymore and I am getting furiously upset because this whole business of reading between the lines makes me feel inadequate as in "I'm retarded" meaning "I'm always a step or two, or three, behind." Of course, this bitching session is brought to you by "is she for real?" Miss Mona who in her early inauguration days into lesbianhood when asked "Are you family?" literally answered, "I don't know, is your last name ElYafi?"

There's no end to the viral expansion of the lesbian lingo and it's become mentally exhausting for me to try and keep up with every development. So I pretty much resigned myself to being OK with my "retardedness" and actually, now totally own it in social circles. I decided I would turn my handicap in my favor by purposefully playing dumb. "I don't understand," "I have no idea what you mean," and "English is not my native language," are all incredibly effective tools to work with. Not to mention that I don't get aggravated anymore always feeling like the special idiot of the group who needs her very own shortbus to ride with the flow.

Now that I know with absolute certitude that I will never be fully versed in lesbionage I am able to sit back, relax and enjoy the foreign movie shows with subtitles!

All I'm saying is that I am surely glad to know the ladies of my weekly Bossa Nova dinner-gatherings and have access to their erudite academic dementia. You'd be happy to know that thanks to said committee, I am three words smarter this month. Yep, among the neologisms acquired these past 30 days feature P.P (pillow princess), P.W. (pussy whipped) and my all time favorite F.U.P.A (fat upper pussy area)--not to be confused with faux pas. Did I mention I aspire to be a writer?

Speaking of which --the faux pas not the aspiration part -- another newbie I recently learned on my very own merits and much to my horrifying displeasure is the word "squirter" - but that's whole other topic for whole other separate column (coming next week to a SheWired theater near you).  

This was one of those TMI episodes I surely could have done without - and FYI, I really hope not to ever revisit in any available language. Let's just say that some tongues are better left non-translated because as hard as I press one for English, it still sounds Chinese to me!


Catch up with Singled Out.



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