The Re-Education of the Recluse in Popular Culture


The world is a strange, scary place to me.

When I was a young(er), single man, I had time to meet and discuss the articles of the world which interested me. I knew then the latest “lingo” and catch phrases, simply by exposure to people who were younger and more “hip” (or is that “hep”? I can never tell) than I. I kept up with popular culture and I was able to converse with normal people in a reasonable way. It was an interesting time.

Things have changed for me. Not so much the world, I think.

I’ve been poking around the blogosphere and have discovered there’s an alarming amount of what I’ll term “Internet Speak” with which I am not familiar. That’s fine, I don’t need to go around saying things like “Hai, how R U? Ur so kewl!” No thanks.

But I’ve also found a number of terms with which I’m not familiar, and this presented the challenge of trying to decipher a couple of posts. It took a bit of diligence, trying to derive the context of the message, and a bit of Googling to solve the issue. Apparently, I’m more out of touch with modernity than I realized.

Here’s an example: I visit, upon occasion, with a friend who goes by the name of WhatIGotSoFar. An interesting fellow — sharp wit, clever posts, and even more clever comments and responses to comments left for him. I recently ran afoul of a post or two which made reference to something. I tried to figure out, based on what was said, the intent of the phrase, but failed.

The phrase? “Woo girl”.

I had no idea what a “woo” girl is. When did this phrase come into popular culture? To whom does it apply? (Is that the objective use of “who” or the subjective use? Anyone know? AnnieGirl1138, you used to teach. Which is that? Should I have used “who” or “whom” there? Ugh, annoyances!) I had no idea, and regrettably, the context of the comments — and even fellow commentators — didn’t clarify it for me. The term was bandied about in connection with a television show — I think it was How I Met Your Mother — and I wondered if, without that body of knowledge in hand, if it would be impossible to determine without asking.

How humiliating.

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9 thoughts on “The Re-Education of the Recluse in Popular Culture

  1. I have a confession to make. I too am being surpassed by pop culture. Just this week I had to use the infinite resources of Google to look up the following terms:

    PWN
    Shocker (hand gesture)

    You’re not alone out there…

    Ah, Shocker. Yes, I had to look that one up too. Well … the name, anyway. I was already familiar with … AHEM. Sorry. TMI.

    And I still don’t understand “pwn’d” vs. “owned”. How does a typo come into common language??

  2. I think you had better just get with the times! 😉

    Hehehe. Yeah, I’m trying. It’s not easy. I don’t like TV that much.

    Just kidding…but I did just teach my uncle to text and now he won’t stop texting me cause he thinks he is kewl! 🙂

    Gotta be careful introducing people to technology and its wiles. It might just come back to haunt you. And not in a cool, Peter Straub or Stephen King way, either.

  3. I am LMFAORN (laughing my effing ass off right now) (I made that up, does it count?) (Probably not.), because I was all set to define “woo girl” as thus: Me.

    Well, let me join you in LMFAORN. And I’m at work. Which is bad.

    You asked about woo girls vs. woo women. I believe that the very act of the woo makes one girlish in attitude if not chronology, and therefore the term “woo girl” still applies.

    This was my thinking too.

    *lifts longneck* WOOOOOOOOO!

    Woo, indeed. 🙂 Not able to join you in the longneck, however.

    Saw that episode, btw (by the way).

    Yeah? I guess the term’s older than I realized. The 3-4-08 article showed me just how out of touch I am. Sheesh!

  4. Woo girl? WTF (I don’t need to spell that out do I). Is this similar to howling at the moon? Is it the mating call of an animal? Sorry, I prefer old school. Valley Girl, Dude, you know the stuff that actually made sense? Like what in the heck is a ‘holla back girl’? Gwen Stefani has a song called that (which really reminded me of ‘Mickey’ by Toni Basil for those of us old enough to remember that). What happened to good old plain English? I may not use it correctly all the time but at least you don’t have to look up acronyms and the acronyms I do use are for us!

    Maybe thats something new the ~OtF~ can add to go with adverbs and adjectives!

    The FIST cannot be troubled with useless spewings of inane, filthy HUMANS! We have to focus our energies on creating an ARMY of great fiction writers who disdain adjectives with special furor and limit adjectives so that J. K. Rowling does not set the standard of GREATNESS!!

    Still, it does annoy the FIST greatly to not understand what he reads and sees. Hm.

  5. I just saw it the other day. It’s probably online. I love that show.

    Oh, I know the show’s not that old. But I guess the expression is. Go figure. What was the episode about? How does “woo girl” fit in?

  6. To be completely honest, I first heard the term on Monday of this week (or was it last week?) during an episode of one of the many mindless television programs I keep watching even though I dislike.

    Being a young(ish) single male, I, of course, am familiar with these ‘woo’ girls. I just never realized they had a name. The television show, How I Met Your Mother, does a good job of teaching it’s audience contemporary slang and terminology as the show itself is meant to be a father 25 years from now telling his children how him and their mother met. (Hence the name of the show.) The assumption being, my generations children, in 25 years, won’t know what a ‘woo’ girl is.

    If you are curious, the writers to the show keep a blog as though it was written by one of the characters. Barney’s Blog.

    Now THAT’S what I call useful information! A repository of contemporary slang and usage which will enable me to write more authentic, if dated, dialogue! Thanks, WIGSF — I may have to make you an honorary member of the Order of the Fist!

  7. I’m glad that helped you out.

    I really appreciate it!

    I try to write my blog for myself, using words that I get, that make sense to me; WIGSF-speak, if you will. But I can’t help but be drawn to write for my audience, little (but loyal and very much welcomed) as it may be.

    I can understand that. It’s just me. I thought it was interesting, but try as I might, there just wasn’t a clue in any comment about what a “woo girl” is. It’s nothing you’re doing, just my own ignorance.

    I too, have to spend a couple minutes each week trying to understand Internetish (my own little word for Internetland language or what you call “Internet Speak”) as people are employing terms that I don’t understand. Today, for example, I learned what m4w and w4m mean.

    I have a friend who had to find out the hard way what 2girls1cup was about. She also Googled “MILF” and “hentai anime”. It’s pretty eye-opening, the things the Internets are saying.

  8. Don’t ask me. I have been away from teens for going into a second year. Lingo changes as fast of fashion in the teen world.

    Hm. Good point. I overlooked that minor detail. Thanks for stopping by, though. 🙂

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