Sunday, 8 August 2010

When Pants Were Pants...

As a result of my recent interview on Seen The Elephant, I seem to be tripping over a whole lot of blogs by travellers from all over the place who've stopped awhile.  Some posts are interesting, others occur as a little irrelevant.  And there are some that just hit the spot so sweetly I am sure that I must have been separated from the fellow blogger at birth.

This happened today when I read Marmite and Fluff, a blog about an English woman living in Connecticut, and her latest post about the language divide that occurs between your new country and your original homeland. 

Upon arrival in the UK, one of the things that's hardest to contend with is being misunderstood when you all seem to be speaking the same language in a literal sense.  But as I'm here in the land of self-deprecating wit and ironic understatement, this part of my journey has unfolded with confusion, hilarity and not inconsiderable repartee.  But there is one thing that still mystifies me.

I thought pants would be pants in any English-speaking country but the English begged to differ - oh how misguided I was.  And just I as thought I'd managed to suss the snigger-worthy reference to outerwear as underwear (remembering that when I stood in a puddle, it was my trousers I got wet, not my pants), along came another eclectic English-ism.

It's pants.


Using it here essentially means that something is rubbish or crap.  Let me illustrate by using it in context.

"The weather is (a bit) pants" is not some reference to climatic undergarments but a statement of disappointment or disapproval, usually when it's raining, about the condition of the elements.

And I was reminded yet again of its laugh out loud absurdity when, as my Aussie-in-the-UK friend A dropped an "it's pants" in front of her visiting-from-Oz mother, I giggled at the look of utter confusion on her face.

Marmite and Fluff quoted Sar-chasm as the giant gulf between the sarcastic comment and the person who doesn't get it.

Personally, I think it's just all a bit pants...
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