15 September 2006

34 sass

there is apparently a fine line between sarcasm and sass. i apparently live on this fine line (FineLineOline).

my vinegar, who has a tenuous grasp on the concept of sarcasm, automatically responds to 2/3rds of what i say with what a sass! wait 'till you get a husband! he has said this for three years and it's maddening for many reasons, chief among them that i have never known what it means. is a husband the most proper target for sass? is a husband going to restrict or return the sass? will i never find a husband because of the sass? or will i find one and drive him away with the sass? if i don't ever find a husband, will i die from unexpressed or inappropriately channeled sass? it's mystifying.

croftie and i are in a field of complicated communicators. and those complicated communicators, ironically all in the field of communication, are preoccupied with sass. the other day, croftie was instructed, in a professional setting, to find her "sassie voice." so clearly sass is of some import. clearly, we are not to altogether abandon the sass. but oh the mixed messages!

tonight, croftie and i bravely endured the media event, which we swore on anne shirley that we would finally attend. tonight, we spent a courageous hour small-talking with girls who turned out to be from croftie's own company. tonight, we encountered skeezy writerly guys who stared drunkenly at the nametags upon our bosoms and uttered the phrase jack black's body as though it were erotic verse. tonight, after all that, croftie and i unloosed the sass. in the street. loudly. with dramatic pauses. featuring jazz hands. for ten blocks. and it felt damn good.

and the thing is, i'm not sassy. not really. not much. for serious.

34 comments:

nick said...

sass - perhaps just that a male-dominated world engendered the infusion of sarcasm with the female gender? discuss.

Bombsy said...

Do you mean like "sass is to sarcasm as bitch is to assertive"?

nick said...

i mean more like many would say women are sassy & men sarcastic - like you'd say a woman is beautiful, yet a man is handsome. each assigned to a gender, so is there really a difference?

nick said...

and more to the point, because each gender assigned to their own words, is the word sass treated differently & as a result are women just reduced to bitches if sassy, yet a man is "clever" if sarcastic?

oline said...

(it's early. i'm tired. so this may not make sense!) the words are definately assigned to genders. if we were to call a guy sassy, that would almost have to carry an implication that he was a poof. in my case at least (croftie's is obviously different), am not sure if it's a reduction to bitchiness exactly but there's a sense of not knowing one's place (and i think he means it as a compliment but the "when you have a husband" refrain screws up the delivery). of having said things nice ladies aren't suppose to say. even if it's a fairly benign thing, if it's said quickly enough, it's automatically sass. a difference of perception, in which sassy women are stereotyped as scandalous and sarcastic men are stereotyped as clever.

Bombsy said...

So sass is social progress. Because "knowing your place" and "things nice ladies aren't SUPPOSED to say" have really got to go. It's like mental to verbal corseting. I'm all for coquetry and masculinity and, when old ladies or rofessors are present, decorum. But limitation in the sense of conforming to what is expected of one does more, I think to separate men and women than sitcoms or strip clubs do. I ADORE saying things nice ladies aren't supposed to say because I am really not interested in anyone else's definition of "nice".

Bombsy said...

And scandalous women are soooo much more intersting. Who would you rather have dinner with - Abigail Addams or Athenias?

oline said...

don't you be dissing my homegirl abby a, miss b! am going to contend with you on the nice ladies being less interesting. because we almost all have some little scandal somewhere. maybe the nice ladies wrote naughty letters to their husbands or said bitchy things about their friends or were secretly addicted to absinthe. and if there isn't scandal, there's experience. audrey hepburn is perhaps the most scandaless person i've ever read about, but her life is extraordinary. think it just takes more of an effort to meet the nice women. we're probably drawn to the lives of the scandalous because more biographies are written about them and because they have awesome covers and because we don't instantly think: yay. abigail adams! i HAVE to read that. but i would want both abigail and athenias to dinner. because both of them would have valuable things to say and we could all be great friends. so while sass is progress, don't be knocking the nice ladies. they're just as interesting and they have things to teach us too. (sorry- i dorked out there. and i think this would probably harken back to our whole ongoing good girls vs. party girls thing. we have to represent!)

oline said...

that wasn't sassy, was it?

nick said...

i am so proud of what i started! no authoritatoline, that wasn't sassy. a passionate defense.

Osutein-sensei said...

Huh, I always figured Abigail Adams for a... sasser? sassian? sassitarian?

nick said...

i am so going to find a way to use sassitarian in a sentence this weekend!

Clark "not so effen hardcore" Price said...

Here is a movie for all sassinatrixes:
My Sassy Girl

It may be Korean, but I really loved it. But I am partial to Asian Cinema.

oline said...

being NeedsVisualsOline, did make a brief, futile attempt to find a sassy photograph and my sassy girl was all i could find. since neither croftie nor i are korean, didn't quite work. intriguing nonetheless.

abigale adams (who am now obviously going to have to read about since i so spiritously came to her defence as an interesting sasser) would very much be a sassitarian. or a sassinator. imagining her as a sassinatrix is a little unpleasant so we're not going to go there.

Clark "not so effen hardcore" Price said...

My Sassy Girl is supposedly based on a true story. You should watch it. I implore you and I promise never to use sassinatrix anymore.
Hmmmm...maybe implore is too strong of a word. If you ever want to watch any Asian movies just ask me. I have probably seen more Asian movies in the past three years than American movies. Bah, I am tired and I need to go to bed.
Clark, out.

oline said...

after being stupidoline and staying in the room and living through battle royale, think the asian movies and i are pretty much through. that's unfair to them i know and i'm sorry but eh. someone wanted to be all culturally accepting and "wahoo for great violent cinema" and screened it last year. just the opening music made me want to run away screaming. so i'll stick to the emporer's new clothes.

joy said...

Regarding sass in marriage: totally allowed. I think that about 68% of my marriaige conversations are based on the sass. If it weren't for sass, I don't think that I'd have anything to say to anyone ever. But then again, what I think of as sass may not be sass. In my mind, I am soooo sassy, even if I'm not in real life.

I am dying to devote the next few seconds of my life to writing the word "sassy" because it's so fun to write and say! Sassy sass sass sassy!

Rhymes with assy!

Bombsy said...

Uh, In read about Addams, and I have never been so bored in my life.
Oline, what's with all the "don't you"s? A Bombshell doesn't take kindly to so much finger wagging.

Bombsy said...

And don't judge me for my abundant and continued typos (see previous comment). I was so busy being scandalous that my typing skills were compromised.

oline said...

bombsy! having only read teeny bits about abigail, i'll concede she may not be the most thrilling dinner companion. but she may also have been the victim of a boring biographer. not sure what the "don't you's" were. i was very ghetto yesterday. must've been that. there was no sassy wagging of the fingers.

oh my joygerale! good to know. and that's why you and G need to come live on Sassy Street and be my neighbors. think part of the problem is that the word sass has has enitrely more Ss than any word should be allowed to have. Also it's like a combination of sashay and ass so it seems it's a sexy walk being condemned in a professional setting, rather than sarcastic fabulousness. sassy assy. yuck. and you're way sassy in your real life!

oline said...

that has to be the best line ever, bombsy!!!

Bombsy said...

Okay, not backing down on this one...
I find women who's chief acheivement in life has been/was adhearing perfectly to what was expected of them or thier socially preordained roles completely unremarkable. Addams is a good example.
If the question is nice girls vs. bad ones, I'm with the baddies all the way. The ride is much more colorful and less oppresive. A bad girl will let you be you, and in my experience, it is the nice girls that say bitchy things behind backs.

oline said...

okay then, bombsy. we'll have at it. in the spirit of public pillboxing, i give you the longest comment EVER.

don't like the division of women into bad and nice (that said am stuck with this terminology). because the nice girls aren't really that nice and the bad girls aren't really that bad. people are so much more complicated than those stereotypes would suggest and that's the interesting aspect- the friction between the bad and good within your own personality and the friction between public and private lives.

if i were to write off all the bad girls as scandalous and inappropriate people i couldn't associate with, my life would be a pretty boring place. and i know some people do that and i think that's a dangerous generalization. and the opposite's true as well. it seems there's an unfortunate stigma attached to either side- the good girls feel threatened by the bad girls (whether out of envy, fear, or respect) and the bad girls feel threatened by the good girls (and i know you're going to take me to task on that! but i think you kind of captured it- that the good girls are judging the bad girls and bitching about them. there's a fear or a sense that the good girls aren't so good and that they're badness will be inevitably be directed toward the bad girls).

maybe this is just a difference of perception based in experience. i don't think i'm really a bad girl but i adore and am endlessly fascinated by bad girls throughout history and in my own life and i do have one or two bad girl tendencies. but not being a bad girl doesn't make me an automaton nice girl either (was going to reference pat nixon there, but imagine the fascinating emotional life she must've had?!). just as you being a bad a girl doesn't make you heidi fleiss. of course, the bad girls have usually been pretty good to me so maybe that's the difference.

but if we're talking about people who follow socially preordained roles i think there's still a fascinating story there. they shouldn't be dismissed because they publically followed a certain social path. because so many of them performed those roles in quiet, private rebellion. like jackie in the white house (and you know i can only argue in jackie terms!). if you know nothing about her, then she does seem like sandra dee. and yet i would argue her's was the most important american female life of the last century. i think a lot of women have that dichotomy- ie. WH jackie vs. greek jackie. it's just that for whatever reason not everyone has the means of extracting themselves from that preordained role. because it takes guts and it's hard. even jackie had to marry the richest man in the world to do that. and even then she wasn't happy. it's obviously less difficult today, but it's still not easy. i think the bad girls may be better equipped personality-wise, but that doesn't mean the good girls aren't trying. and that their effort to do that isn't colourful in its own way.

agree that the bad girls have fascinating stories and it is a colourful ride. were you meaning that it's less oppressive as in reading about their lives is less oppressive? or that their lives themselves were less oppressive?

Bombsy said...

interestingly, my division of the bad/good girls stemmed from your comment about "things NICE ladies are not supposed to say", thus creating in me the desire to defend things not-nice ladies say/do. and the division is actual, i beleive. it has repeatedly demonstrated itself in my life and the lives of those i know.
i myself continue to be un-interested in Abigail Adams. it is my right to use her as a paragon on boringness, and does not denote a lack of insight on my part. it is my opinion.

oline said...

way to distinguished a paragon of boringness, bombsy! we needed one. so ironically, you responded because i seemed to be impugning bad girlness and i responded because you seemed to be impugning good girlness.

one thing though, because i know you're a big proponent of women must stick together. isn't believing there's a clear and actual division- a fissure that maybe isn't worth bridging- between these two types of women giving in to the stereotypes and hindering that? obviously, stereotypes arise from some degree of fact and obviously there are girls who like to be good and girls who like to be bad, but i really think that society has exaggerated that difference to the point of being destructive. so that we wind up with the idea that good girls and bad girls can't be friends or that the experience of one type is more valid or remarkable than the other. in that world, JBKO and MM would have the cat fight, not the conversation. which would be much less interesting.

Bombsy said...

but here is another interesting thought; what makes a good girl or a bad girl? i beleive it is traditionaly defined rules of conduct, all of which i reject. i could go out tonight, get smashed, smoke a pack of cigarettes and take home a stranger. in the morning, i would still consider myself a good person. i think things we use to define "good" (chastity, submissiveness, manners, etc) have very little to do with (but may certainly be manifestations of) actual integrity. i am on often seen as a bad girl because i smoke, drink, have sex and have a past. but i also don't steal, lie, betray or talk shit about my people. my best friend in college went to church twice a week, never drank or smoked, sang in elderly homes and constantly criticized us for drinking. she also screwed her boyfriend's brother. so maybe we should look at redefining "the good girl" and "the bad girl" for the new millenium.

Bombsy said...

wow, i posted while you were posting and we had very similar things to say.
again we amaze me.

oline said...

you nailed it.
we rock, my love!

nick said...

so... i got called out in non-blog convo by the oline, right so, for being a big fat part of starting something, and then remaining quiet. this was partly due to the fact that during this ongoing debate i was cycling between insomnia, work, & narcolepsy.

nonetheless - i think we've arrived at some general agreements here. sass is often used by bastard men type to be something deemed "inappropriate" and feminine. in other words, it likely challenges men insecure about their own shortcomings... take that however you like. if said male type calls a woman sarcastic, he's likely not the target of her wit, thus not threatened, and allowing her witty brain to stand as equal... for now.

i think women use sass among themselves in a general good-natured way. as in, "damn girl, you so sassy!"

there is however another side of this. as a man who likes to call the lasses on their sasses - i have a different bend on it when i do (at least i'm attempting to do so). i appreciate sass as a brand of sarcasm that is both sexy and feminine (so really, elevated and individualized). thus, if i say it - all flattery is meant to accompany it.

the bad stuff (male or female) is just being bitchy, because as a guy - let me attest to the fact the boys can be just as bitchy. this can be exacerbated, and develop into full blown assholery, which can even have violent streaks with them. people of this nature are clearly just the suckiest sucks to ever suck a suck and should not be dealt with under any circumstances.

as for the bad girl vs good girl.... i think we've reached an accord. classic definitions of bad girl (june clever thinks the girls who sleep around and smoke after the pep rallies are tramps) are old-fashioned. a bad girl is someone who doesn't, as the bomb said, treat her peeps right. the good girl, no matter what she chooses for recreation, treats herself and others with modern respect (something sadly so often in short supply).

as for abby a - a woman of self-education, dignity, and a strong love for her mate that led her to join him in a diplomatic post for a newly formed country to the French govt. can't be all boring.

nick said...

dammit - i meant june cleaver... but i kind of like the name june clever. she might develop some reoccuring role... like vanessa's sister. that bitch!

oline said...

a brief note from capt. oline:
i think as perfectionists we're going to all have to make peace with the fact that typos happen (even in comments ridiculing the typos of others). not that i want to put an end to the self-aware, post-typo-making i made a typo because i'm so scandalous comments, because those are priceless. but just that it's okay. no worries. and unless it's a typo that thoroughly undermines your argument and seems more a freudian slip betraying your real sentiments- the best example being dougo's "cutness" of birds- we'll play nice.

and june clever is such an improvement. like she put down the kitchen tools and took to her wits.

Les Savy Ferd said...

Wow, a MA thesis of a comments strand. From Sass to Clever June in 30 moves, bravo. Some things:

Ol!ghn: Excellent job sticking to your guns and explaining why 'Good' does not necessarily mean 'boring'. In the same way 'bad' isn't always very 'exciting'. That said I wouyld definitely align myself on the 'good' team and certainly do at times feel as if I'm a bit of a bore. Also i have no intention of expanding my feeble knowledge of Abigail Addams(sp) because I'm knee deep in fiction and the non-fict has no place in my life right now.

Bombsy: I think you are onto something about taking care of your people. 'good' or 'bad' people both can have a certain integrity, and that quality rests outside of an individual's chosen recreational habits.
I remember as a Sophomore in college being asked to this Uber-exclusive party. It was at the 'Red House', an art student hang-out with an infamous history of goings-on. And you never got invited. nobody did. I sort of had this picture of three art students sitting around an empty house spinning fables of what everyone else thought was going on inside.
But people did get invited, all the right people. I had been incredibly flattered when I got the invite and knew just about everyone I knew would be jealous/think of me as being really cool for having been asked.

However, despite my really really really wanting to go and be seen and hang out with the cool kids, one of the party founders had recently called out my bestfriend with less than flattering gossip (gossip here being defined as slanderous untruths of a sexual nature). So the night of the party I declined and stayed in with said friend and we watched her favorite movies and drank a shit-ton of MadDog.

Now i have some questions for you (all). Certainly the actions on my part were Just,etc. However what do you think of me for really wanting to go to the party even as I hung out with my friend (at least until i was blind-drunk and by then I may as well been anywhere)? And what about the copious shit-talking WE did about the gossiper all through the night... some of which was without a doubt perfectly foundless? Or about how my motives were not purely altruistic seeing as i KNEW what I was doing was honorable, and definitely took some pleasure in 'doing the right thing.' Isn't that 'bad' behavior?

All I'm saying is we are all assholes or prince(sse)s some of the time, we're just good at kidding ourselves that the one half of the equation does count quite as much.

oline said...

am in a rush to meet your lady, dread pirate, so will completely ignore the very interesting deep thoughts presented above and get straight to the most important point: "the non-fict has no place in my life right now." a knife through the oline heart, dougO.

of course, i'm in your life and i'm a non-fictioness so maybe that makes up for it. but to see such an adamant disavowal of the wonder that is non-fic gave me heavy boots. very heavy boots indeed. only slightly lessened by the fact that you wrote "shit-ton."

nick said...

hmmm, doug-o. good thoughts all around here. but i would say that it is more virtuous to do what it is right, even if human nature pulls you in the other direction. so... even though you wanted to join the red house party - you didn't. you were a good friend, and participated in the gossipy shit-talk that made your friend feel better. gossip never being good, but your motives were better than original gossip made by those you and said scandalized friend gossipped about... as it seems the original gossip really had no reason to exist in the first place.

the lesser of two assholes, basically. that's all we can really shoot to be... the lesser of two assholes. i think the difference really in the "good" person and "bad" person, is the good strives to do better, and is in some way shape or form, genuinely sorry when they do something blatantly bad.