By now I’m pretty adept at the ‘yehs’ – sometimes I’ve conducted entire conversations utilising only that word and a head-scratch – but I haven’t worked up to calling anyone ‘mate’ yet. I’m not sure whether it is a guy thing. I haven’t heard a Kiwi woman call anyone ‘mate’.
I’ve also picked up some phraseology for everyday use. Pronouncing satisfaction with something or someone: ‘sweet AS’ or ‘suh-WEET!’. When something strikes you as visually appealing, it is ‘stylie’ or, when particularly moved, ‘VERY stylie’. Someone who spends too much time cuddling their inner child is ‘emo (v)’ or ‘an Emo (n)’. For example, Husband is ‘pretty much the diametric opposite of emo (n or v)’.
I picked up much of my lingo from The Bro. My brother in law is cooler than a frostbitten penguin – I think. See, I wouldn’t recognise cool if my tongue stuck to it. I’ve never been cool. At school, I pulled my socks right up to the knee; at college I spent too much time in the library and not enough in the Student Union Bar. Now I’m too old to be cool, but The Bro leaves me in no doubt by frequently verifying I’m ‘waaay uncool, Dude’.
The Bro wears things like pointy cream shoes and pin-striped shorts (thankfully not together). He can wear sunglasses on his forehead and make you wonder why anyone would wear them on their nose. He listens to ‘Yo Bro Yo Momma’s A Ho’ music and never, ever sings along. On a recent night out, he had the shirt ripped off him by a group of hens; after another, he sported a row of hickies up his neck.
One night, The Bro invited me out for a drink with his friends while Husband was in Sydney. It might have had something to do with my offering to drive. Perhaps I should have made more an effort than throwing a sweatshirt on over a pair of jeans. I realised this when The Bro surfed out of his room on a tidal wave of aftershave, wearing a t-shirt with a logo so ironic it nearly gave me anaemia. Regrettably, it was too late to do anything about my attire, apart from bitterly regret not applying a dash of foundation.
The bar in St Helier’s was jammed to the transgressively revivalist rafters with pert, shiny young things. The Bro’s friends fell into this category – some of them literally, since they were all in various stages of advanced inebriation.
“Dude! You’re gay,” The Bro’s best friend, Dan, greeted him.
“No, you’re gay.”
“Dude, you’re SO gay.”
“Maybe you should both deal with your manlove and, you know, move on?” I suggested marmishly.
“Yeah, but he’s gay,” mumbled Dan into a pint of Steinlager.
A couple at the other side of the table were engaged in a heated argument about whether or not he loved her, so I tucked into their mussels in white wine sauce and chips. Beside me, Rosie only looked at me to blow smoke – and she wasn’t even SMOKING. I can’t remember the last time I felt so old, or so way uncool, or so little like a dude – or so darn sober.
After a while, arguing couple left sucking each others face, and Rosie was bodily removed by what I assume was her boyfriend. Dan and The Bro, having thoroughly debated their respective sexualities, abruptly departed to investigate their heterosexuality with a group of girls.
Since it was half an hour past my bedtime, I went home