Thinking about an article in the Sunday Styles section about the breathless, grammatically suspect way women — let’s insert “of a certain age” here —adopt the girl-speak of the internet. Yay! Adorbs! Awks! Yikes! Hot! Um…no. Um..what? Part of this is expedience. There are so many conversations spinning across social channels and I’m not even including Twitter here because I don’t tweet (never, ever follow @dianedico unless you like silence, in which case do). If we feel we must drop a comment into one of them, even while a dozen others seem to be making the same demand, we use the fewest number of words to express our wholehearted enthusiasm. Nothing is really said other than “I noticed the photo you posted and because we’re friends or ‘friends’ I need to respond with something more than ‘like.'” But the way it’s said tends to sound like the babble of a middle school corridor between classes: #Adorbs!
Is it expedience or is it that teenagers created online language and, when showing up in their online world, we adopt the customs of the country*. To fit in? To not sound like weird grownups? WTF?
*The Customs of the Country” is favorite Edith Wharton novel because it’s about a midwestern girl, Udine, who tries to fit into Manhattan society with only middling success. Here I am, fresh from the Midwest circa 1983, trying to fit in at a party in Chelsea with my friend Lulu. I’m the one in the velvet bustier, she’s wearing not one but two turtlenecks. Why was this? I don’t recall.