Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tale of the Budgie Smuggling Lollipop Man

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, Australian English sometimes seems like a whole different language to American English.  I’ve been here in Australia well over a year now and it amazes me that I still learn new words and new slang on a near daily basis.  Many items have different names in Australia:  French fries are chips, tank tops are singlets, gasoline is petrol, and so on and so forth.  Most of these are pretty easy to figure out and I’ll admit that I use them now even when talking to Americans here.  But frighteningly often, somebody will say something so bizarre that I can help but tilt my head and say “huh?”  Last night was the perfect example.

David & Elcid hosted a small get together at their apartment and the topic of conversation quickly turned to their impending trip to Perth and how the weather was still warm enough there to hit up the beach.  I’m not exactly quite sure of the context, but someone then said something about “budgie smugglers”.  I looked up at the speaker with the same face that a cow has when it looks at an oncoming train:  “Huh?”

Americans and Canadians:  please take a moment and ponder “budgie smugglers”.  Take a wild guess in your head, and if you’re so inclined, share with me your thoughts.   I’ll get down to the answer at the bottom of this post.  In the meantime, here are a few odd ones for your reading pleasure.  A few of these actually make sense:

Ankle Biters:
This is a name for children.  Implying that those little shits are out to bite your ankles reveals the true hidden agenda of the pro-children movement.  I like it.

Slippery Dips:
This is a name for a slide – like a slide on a playground.  Why they simply don’t call it a slide is beyond me (after all, you do slide on a slide, so it makes sense), but slippery dip isn’t bad.  It sounds funny and actually makes me snicker a bit.

Away with the Pixies:
If you’re “away with the Pixies”, that means you’re daydreaming.  I find this to be an absolutely acceptable alternative to plain old “daydreaming”.  Clever Aussies…

Woop Woop:
When something’s out in “woop woop”, that means it’s really far away.  The American equivalent would be East Bumblefuck, East Jesus, BFE (Butt-Fucking Eqypt), or Guam.

But there are a few that need some serious explanation…

Fairy Floss:
Can you guess what fairy floss is???  Well, it’s cotton candy.  The last time I checked, cotton candy actually vaguely resembles… of all things… cotton.  Just look past the bright blue, pink, or yellow artificial coloring and the mass of fuzziness on the stick could pass for a bundle of cotton if you only take a quick glance.  At no point in time does the mass of fluffy sugar on a stick resemble floss.  And please allow me to also point out that cotton candy in all its sugariness does absolutely the opposite thing for your teeth as flossing does, so to call it “fairy floss” is a tragic misnomer, unless the fairy they refer to is the tooth fairy because all that sugar is bound to cause a few teeth to rot and fall out.  Also, the term “fairy floss” always gives me the imagery of a homosexual in a G-string.  And depending on the homosexual in question, that could be either a very grand or an extremely horrifying sight.

Lollipop Man:
Take out a piece of paper and write down your top 10 guesses for what a “lollipop man” is.  Ready?  Set?  Go!  Ok, let’s see your list.  I imagine it may include any of the following:

1.  Someone who works in a candy store
2.  Owner of a candy factory
3.  Old man next door who gives sweets to neighbourhood kids
4.  Creepy guy with a lollipop fetish
5.  Person addicted to sweets
6.  Mascot for a lollipop company
7.  Pedophile who tries to lure kids into his van with lollipops
8.  Mythical creature that reveals itself only when trick-or-treating
9.  Anyone with a rare disease that causes the skin to produce sugar
10.  Anorexic person with a strikingly large head

If you put down any of these, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are 100% incorrect.  A lollipop man is a crossing guard.  Seriously:  a crossing guard.  They are called “lollipop men” (or “lollipop women”) because the crossing guard signs they carry resemble lollipops – a big circular sign attached to a narrow wooden stick.  If I was five years old and was told that there was a lollipop man on the corner, I sure as hell wouldn’t cross the street until he gave me a damn lollipop.  Is there anything more ridiculous than calling a crossing guard a lollipop man?  Oh wait, that reminds me:

Budgie Smugglers:
Have you had a chance to properly think this one out?  To assist in your analysis, it would help to know that “budgie” is short for “budgerigar” which is a species of small parrot found here in Australia.  So, is a “budgie smuggler” someone who illegally traffics budgies across international borders?  No.

Budgie smugglers are Speedos.  That’s right.  They call those little teeny tiny man bikini things “budgie smugglers” because apparently it looks like men wearing Speedos are smuggling a parrot in their crotch.  The last time I checked, penises don’t have wings on them nor do penises have beaks or claws, but that might actually be a great way to teach kids the abstinence-only sex education that the far Christian right always push for.  “Ok girls, make sure the razor-sharp claws on his penis don’t puncture anything, and be careful not to let the beak rip off parts needed for future reproduction.”  Scare tactics like that would put an end to the teenage pregnancy epidemic and stop the spread of all sexually-transmitted diseases amongst the youth of America.

I think the American term “banana hammock” is much better than “budgie smuggler”.  If I pulled off a man’s Speedo and there was a banana there, I’d be disappointed but at least I’d have a good source of potassium and B vitamins.  If I pulled off a man’s Speedo and out flew a parrot, I’d be seriously freaked out and angry.

I hate birds.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard the English call them lollypop men, but haven't heard it in Australia before.