Lost in Transplantation

This post is for the benefit of transplants, like myself, of which there seem to be so many here in the ATL. One thing that people often hear regarding Southern culture is the polite attitude they are likely to encounter. I can vouch for the fact that people here in Georgia are nowhere near as blunt as in other parts of the country, which is nice for preserving the feelings of others :-)

While my subject today may not relate only to Atlanta, I think itís appropriate since this information can come in handy for all those who did not originate here. Iím talking about the euphemistic phrases that Iíve heard so often over the past few years ó and Iím just starting to learn what a lot of these mean! So just in case anyoneís as in the dark as I was, now youíll have just a little bit more Southern savvy. Here we goÖ

Phrase: ìWowÖvery creative.î
Translation: For musicians ñ ìYour music sucks,î or, ìYour music is really too strange for me.î
For visual artists ñ ìThat is just hideous,î or ìI canít tell what the hell Iím looking at.î
(Great. So all those times I thought I was receiving compliments, it was exactly the opposite.)

Phrase: ìOh, heís such in interesting guy.î
Translation: ìHe is a complete freak.î

Phrase: ìShe can talk a blue streak.î
Translation: ìPlease donít get her started because sheíll never shut up!î

Phrase: (At the office) ìHow we doiní?î
Translation: ìListen slacker, if you donít get that report to me within the hour, I will kick your ass!î
(Wonderful. So now I know why my boss always looks at me like that when I answer, ìOh, just fine.î

And my all-time favorite:
Phrase: ìBless your heart!î
Translations: ìYou are so ugly.î
ìWow, youíre a moron.î
ìI donít feel bad for you, but I donít know what else to say.î

Iíd like to thank bloggers Alex, Daniel, and Andisheh, as well as my friend Gary for giving me this highly valuable information. Iím sure our readers will find it in their hearts to educate me further, since I know I havenít covered everything hereÖ

4 Comments so far

  1. la.dauphine (unregistered) on September 19th, 2005 @ 3:09 pm

    OMG – if you’re a visual artist and the only thing someone can say is “very creative” that’s bad. Wasn’t it Picasso who said that immature artists borrow, mature artists steal? Apparently creativity and originality doesn’t count for much anymore.

    “Interesting” is what I like to say because it is the most ambiguous – it can either mean “that’s great” or “that stinks.”

  2. Aradia (unregistered) on September 19th, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

    Ah, merci, la dauphine!

  3. kathleen (unregistered) on September 19th, 2005 @ 4:09 pm

    Also –

    “Yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” with just the right inflection, and as a response to a question, often translate to “f-off and die, jerk.” It is worth remembering that a Southerner’s words that may sound nice, like “sweetheart,” often mean quite the opposite.

    You are right to point out that the Southern Idiom is quite clever, and often not the stranger to irony and satire.

  4. jerk it (unregistered) on November 13th, 2005 @ 3:45 pm

    I’m new to this site, just browsing around

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