Sunday, 9th August 2020

Six slang terms only the middle-aged understand

ARE your kids baffled by your use of retro argot from the 1980s? Want to connect with your peer group while keeping the young in the dark? Use these:  

Wally

Popular insult meaning ‘hapless fool’. Exact etymology unknown. Everyone was a ‘wally’ back then, or knew someone who was, or had a Wally novelty mug or T-shirt. Call a millennial a ‘wally’ today and you’ll be hauled up before HR the same afternoon.

Joey

Even more popular and unbelievably tasteless insult based on plucky cerebral palsy sufferer Joey Deacon’s appearance on Blue Peter. As it rapidly spread around playgrounds – with impressions – it proved that all children are basically evil little bastards.

Bonk

Bonk! A word for making love, popular for a single summer, which still has fortysomethings giggling behind their hands when innocently used by their children. There are middle-aged affairs going on today that began with the irresistible proposal ‘Fancy a bonk?’

Naff

Meaning ‘uncool’. You can get away with using it today, but you will sound like Dave Lee Travis or Ace from Doctor Who, the streetwise companion that killed the franchise. You can also say ‘naff off’, like Fletch in Porridge, incarcerated in the only prison in history with a successful no-swearing policy.

Grifter

Historical name for a con-artist oddly used for a kid’s bike which looked like a BMX but was so heavy it would turned a kerb endo into a lung-crushing fatality. Mentioning it turns any conversation into an 80s nostalgia-fest, confusing and alienating the young. Good.

Gaylord

Popularised by a Dick Emery character, who wasn’t actually gay although Dick wasn’t exactly troubled by grotesque camp stereotypes. Incredibly juvenile so best used to catch senior managers off-guard in a work context, eg. ‘Call that a presentation, you gaylord?’