I’m not really sure where I picked it up (Okay actually, yes I do), but somehow the word “dude” had made it into my 17-year-old vocabulary and stayed there. It’s odd. I used to think it was for people that tried too hard or blond natured guys that wanted to move to California to surf. I didn’t even know it, but you know how hanging out with people often, you start to talk like them? Maybe at first you’re trying to just make fun of them, but somehow, their quirks slowly creep up on you and then you’re a full-fledged dude-r.
Sometimes it’s used as a casual nickname (“Thanks, dude!”) and other times I use it as an exclamation (“DUDE! That is so expensive!”), but somehow I don’t plan it. Trust me. Word programming at its classiest. People that observe this odd habit of mine react differently. Some people say it back — “No problem, dude”, drawing out the word because it’s so foreign to ever use it. They’re just entertaining your silly idea. Other people respond with “No problem… dudette…” with a dab of hesitation because they don’t want to offend you and of course, they want to be correct gender-wise. Dudette? Thanks for preserving my femininity?
Somehow the word “dude” feels kind of reserved for guys. It’s related to the weird double-standard and casuality of addressing a group with “Hey guys”, even though there could be a bunch of girls in the group. What about how tomboyish style in modern fashion is so popular or how we have a choice between unisex glasses frames, or even the idea that a girl can be kind of boyish (Helloo, Twiggy COINED that term), have short hair, and still be really cute?
I realized the word “dude” is some sort of weird term of endearment for me — I don’t know why, but it reads: instant friend, one that is comfortable enough to call you weird names.Urban Dictionary says it’s “a word that Americans use to address each other. Particularly stoners, surfers and skaters,” but also “The Universal Pronoun”. That sounds about right. The universal pronoun part, I mean.
The first couple times I said “Thanks, dude!” to my new friend, I remember she kind of laughed and thought it was funny. But recently, I got a text that said “Yo dude, wanna go jogging?” Totally awesome, I think we’re speaking the same language now. Yes!!
Feature image via.