Are You Sure it Doesn’t Say “Skunk”?
“Mom, what’s a skank?” Dimples asked me from the back seat of the car yesterday.
This is why I don’t drink Starbucks anymore while I’m driving.
Immediately my mind rolls through all of the possible bad influences that could have introduced this word to her. I curse myself for not paying more attention to her Disney Channel viewing. I knew that Shake it Up show should have been R rated.
But I couldn’t focus on that now. I needed, according to the experts, to answer the question calmly without giving away too much information. “Someone who dresses like a slut” was probably not the best response.
“Uh, someone who dresses in a way that is designed just to attract boys?” I say this as if I am venturing to respond to a question on Jeopardy – not really certain if this is one of those, “I already know the answer and I’m just trying to see what you will say” traps.
“Oh.” She seems satisfied with my answer, but I can’t really tell. That’s what I hate about these bring-it-up-while-Mom-is-driving-and-I’m-in-the-back-seat questions. She did this to me with Rihanna’s S & M song too.
I probably should have let it go at that, but I was still fixated on where she had picked up the word.
“So, uh, where did you hear it?”
“It’s on the back of this book.”
Great, she’s checking books out of the elementary school library that have skanks in them. I don’t believe in censorship but I wasn’t really ready for this. I mean, geez, just because we shouldn’t ban books doesn’t mean we have to throw them all out there on the shelves for 4th graders to peruse. Why don’t you stick Playboy in the racks while you’re at it?
“What does it say?” I ask.
“I don’t take advice from people who dress their six-year-olds like skanks.”
“Hmm. And what book is this again?”
She flips it over to read the title. Bless Your Heart, Tramp. Crap. That’s the book a friend had thrust at me while leaving work the other day, saying I would get a kick out of the author’s sense of humor. I had put it in the back of the car to make some room for groceries, and forgotten to transfer it to the house. Dimples, who has inherited my voracious appetite for reading any word she can find everywhere she goes, had decided to read it while I was driving.
I was the bad influence.
Later, after having nonchalantly transferred the book from the car to my bedroom, (“keep forgetting to bring this in,” I mumbled to Dimples before trying to change the subject) I decided to look up “skank” to make sure I had not relayed any misinformation. Wouldn’t want her teaching all of her friends at recess tomorrow the wrong definition.
According to Merriam-Webster online, it is “a person and especially a woman of low or sleazy character”. Right on target. Then, I noticed the invitation at the bottom:
At first, I thought the dictionary was actually talking to me, personally. Then, I noticed that other people had entered answers. The first couple of comments were benign ones, like the movies in which they heard the word. Then it got interesting:
“word of the day”, said Rich Hardway. From where? Does the strip club where he works have a dry erase board in the back with rotating vocabulary terms each night?
“I wanted to check spelling I like that word,” Dorcus DeWitty Eason responded. She can’t do punctuation, but at least she now knows how to spell “skank” correctly.
“was trying to think of a good description for Anthony Weiner!” Kim Soboleski replied.
I debated whether I should give my own input, “I wanted to give my eight-year-old daughter the correct definition after she asked me, ‘What is a skank?’”
I decided Merriam-Webster had enough information collected on that word. I looked up “sleaze”.
They only have 3 comments on that one if you have anything to add.