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.


Posted on August 31, 2011, in Children, Dimples, Humor, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. This reminds me of the time I met a little kindergarten boy named Thomas who’s family was from China. Apparently the mother learned to speak English through co-workers because Thomas told me that whenever he brings home a gold star on his schoolwork his mother calls him, “One smart little fu**er.”

  2. High-larious!! I love that you were the “bad influence” and not the Disney channel show you thought was to blame. Too funny! Man, this is a reminder that I’m in need of cleaning up my own vocabulary and reading material, pronto!

  3. Haha thats funny your gonna have to tell your husband what you did! That reminds me when we were in the car with dimples and looking at bad portrait website and your husband said shouldnt you be previewing that first! He is really gonna have to watch what you show her lol

  4. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup

    I love that you go to the dictionary to make sure you’re giving the correct definitions to words your kids ask about, even the slightly inappropriate ones. Any friend of the dictionary is a friend of mine!

    That skanky skunk costume is awesome. I bet it’s this year’s slutty bumblebee at all the Halloween parties.

  5. This post is hilarious!! My favorite is Dorcus? Eason’s liking of the word skank. Your picture selection for this post was spot on.

  6. Oh my goodness! She sounds a lot like my daughter. I couldn’t help but laugh because she is forever asking me questions like that. I like how you handled it. Isn’t it fun being a mum? 🙂

  7. Well I’ll be jiggered! I am 72 years of age and I have just learnt a new word.
    ‘ SKANK’ where on earth did that one come from..its got to be a modern word. It is not in my dictionary.

    a woman who dresses to attract the opposite sex….I think that might include a lot of the population

  8. Very funny. you have a great perspective. Hear that, kids?

  9. Now this is where the US and the UK differ. Here, a ‘skank’ is someone who looks a bit smelly, a bit rough, a bit grubby, maybe a drug user….can be male or female. It doesn’t really have an association with a tart. In fact, a female skank here would positively scare the blokes off!!!

    As for ‘skunk’….well, that’s just cannabis, since we don’t have the smelly animal variety….so, even if Dimples had meant that instead of skank, I would have been a bit concerned!!!

    I do love these subtle language differences, don’t you?

  10. Where do you get it? This is to funny! Being a good parent these days has to be the hardest job in the world. When I was a kid I was seen and not heard. You’re a GREAT MOM.

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