17 February 2008

We don't eat worms, nor do we tweet

Has the word "bird" again become semi-acceptable to describe a lady in a light-hearted way?

It was prevalent in our less enlightened times, of course. Yet within all the grotesque racial and sexual slurs and soundbites, there seemed to be something quite daffy and honest about describing a woman, be it one's girlfriend or just a random female about town, as a "bird".

Like everyone else, I stopped using it when lunatic women who decided they represented the views of every female in the whole world told us it was tantamount to assault. Now, however, it's back in the language, and it doesn't seem to carry any tag of offensiveness. It needs context, of course.

I rather like it. Moreover, women seem to use it too - "upper class bird"; "top bird"; "daft bird" are all expressions I've heard perfectly sane women, comfortable with their gender, use in public. Nobody with a buzzcut has smashed them across the head for showing disrespect to the Suffragettes, or something equally as extreme.


Callum said...

I used it at work -- in a jokey manner -- recently, and was instantly slapped down by a floral-print-dress wearing, celery-eating, Cambridge-graduate-and-don't-you-forget-it colleague.

She also takes a grave dislike to one of the in-jokes at our place, which is to refer to everyone, regardless of age or sex, as "the boy" and then their surname: ie "where's the boy Richards?", or "the boy King is in charge today".

Last time I tried that one in front of her, she screamed "THIS IS NOT A MINOR FUCKING PUBLIC SCHOOL!" clearly forgetting that she went to one.

Clair said...

No, I'm happy to be a bird, or a broad. I also posess a smashing pair of knockers, and will give anyone who disagrees a punch up the bracket.

BPP said...

I call birds 'bird' all the time. If a boot-faced, mung-bean eating lesbian gets annoyed by this, I've plenty of other insults in my arsenal that'll make 'bird' sound like the sweetest word they've ever 'eard. AND they should get back in the kitchen and get my tea on the hob.

Matthew Rudd said...

"If God had meant us to stay with one bird, he wouldn't have invented other birds, would he?"

Mark X said...

Presumably, the word has seen a Gene Hunt-related resurgence of late.

Even in the 1980s, I must admit I'd never heard it used as a slang term for 'lady' around my way (which is North Wales, coincidentally), although several other even less flattering terms were. Possibly there should be some sort of Bird Map Of Britain, detailing the locales where the phrase was in regular usage.