House Name Fail = Self loathing win? What do You Think?

Architect says he didn’t know what porch monkey meant.

a) Do you believe him?

b) The fact that a super offensive term is now just used–is that a sign of progress or regression?

To be fair, it is difficult to be up on all the mean memes out there. I, in fact, sang a version of Jingle Bells to my mom once that went like this:

“Jingle Bells, Batman smells, granny got a gun

Pull the trigger shot a _____”

I was 8 or so and had no idea what I was saying…or why Mom started crying.

When did you first learn that something you said was off color…pun definitely intended? Let us know!


  1. this one is new to me!

    i remember how creeped out i got on learning that “jimmies,” the word we always used for ice cream sprinkles growing up in baltimore, was perhaps related to “jim crow.”

  2. When I was in high school/college, I used to use the word ‘wench’ as a term of mock anger toward any number of female friends (I presumed it was less overtly offensive, even in jest, than ‘bitch’ or ‘whore’). It wasn’t until I dated an African-American for the first time that I discovered the origins of that seemingly innocent expression. These days, I generally stick to gender-neutral insults just to be on the safe side.

  3. Well, the word is really popular in and among the Renaissance Fair circuit, so, truth be told, I’ve called friends wenches, and pranced around in a bodice answering to the same.

      1. Okay, now you got me curious. I only heard ‘wench’ in a fantasy/Renaissance Fair context too. How the heck did it become a racial slur?

  4. I grew up in a town with only 3 black families and the rest of the 3000 residents were white (me included). Our parents taught us that everyone is equal. My best friend in 3rd grade was black. One day I was walking home and I saw her sister and said ‘Hi N—-‘. I only knew that it meant black people, not that it was an insult. She chased me all the way home and beat the crap out of me. I learned never to say it again!!!

  5. I used to use the term “gypped” all the time until I learned that it was derived from a derogatory term for “Gypsies,” or Romanians. The person who pointed it out wasn’t highly offended, but it taught me to pay even more attention to the roots of words than I already did as an English major.

    I have this morbid fascination with the etymology of derogatory slurs, and to find out the history and the context of their creation. I think it’s important to understand *why* it’s offensive as much as it is to see that it offends people.

    1. You said what I was going to say, except that I had thought it was spelled “jypped.” Unfortunately, there isn’t a good replacement term for it which isn’t scatalogical or otherwise not quite right. “I got screwed on the deal” is still outre in some circles.

      1. … which is to say that removing slurs from the language is easiest when there’s a good substitute.

  6. I gotta admit, I never really heard this one.

    Back when my hubby and I first got married, he worked in an office where they said “schmoogie” when they had a word on the tip of the tongue, but couldn’t remember it, like “thingamabob”.

    I thought it was a made up term until years later, I tried to submit it for a contest of made up words. I went to the Urban Dictionary and there it was as a slur for “N—“. That so pissed me off because I thought it was such a cool word.

    The irony, of course, is that I’m determined to take back the word to its right. My hubby, who is white, is absolutely mortified and refuses to say it.

  7. In Des Moines, Iowa there’s this little shack that sells “fair food” (a.k.a. food from the state fair), which is awesome because it’s so delicious and not very nutritious. They have a big sign up on the shack that says, “Guinea Grinders”. Yep, that’s right, some people call italian subs guinea grinders. I think I was over 30 before it hit me that “guinea” is a racial slur for italian.

  8. When I was a kid, porch monkey meant little kids hanging off of everything on the porch like monkeys. Guess I was wrong.

    1. I call my kids yard apes and little monkeys but I’d never dare do that to somebody else’s kids, lest they take offense. FWIW, my boy loves bananas and climbs everywhere, so “monkey” came naturally.

      1. I had a boyfriend once randomly call me his “cute little monkey” one day. I totally knew that he meant nothing buy it, though I’m not sure why he chose monkey…anyway, suffice it to say, he didn’t do that again.

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