Monday, 3 November 2014

#just sayin'... and other annoying phrases.

There is something about the phrase,'just sayin', that has become such a popular Twitter hashtag, that really gets up my nose. For me, those two words used together conjure up a certain facial expression - slightly narrowed eyes, head a bit to one side, smug quirks to the corners of the lips - and are often spoken in a tone of voice that manages to be cocky, sarcastic, superior and challenging all at the same time: at least, that's how it seems to me. No current popular expression is more guaranteed to make me feel wound-up, put down and frustrated. I'm glad it wasn't around when my sister and I were teenagers because I bet it would have been coming my way every five minutes!

It is an expression that is not at all funny, but barbed, armed with a zillion spikes of unspoken criticisms, festering resentments and the unshakeable belief that the person who is doing the "sayin'"' is completely and utterly right. "Have you ever thought of changing your hairdresser? Just sayin'..." means they think your hair-do, which just cost you £75 plus tips, makes you look like a cross between Albert Einstein and Animal. "Ever thought of getting a cleaner? Just sayin'..." isn't a helpful suggestion but means your house-keeping techniques would be a disgrace to the average pig-sty.

As for, "People above a C cup shouldn't go bra-less. Just sayin'...", well, if it's spoken with a sly glance at some unfortunate passer-by, you can sigh with relief, but if there's a sly sweep of the eyes over your own embonpoint, then you know you're showing enough wobble and droop to make your interlocutor feel slightly nauseous.

There have been other expressions that have annoyed me for different reasons, from the nebulous 'many moons ago' - I mean, we've only got one, so which moons exactly? The moons of Pluto? - to the annoying and ungrammatical 'my bad'; is it short for 'am I bad', or what? It's always spoken coyly and has the effect of reducing the speaker to a five-year-old, even if they are a bearded fifty-year-old prof.

And then there's 'I'm not a happy bunny'. How does one tell if a bunny is happy or unhappy? They don't exactly smile, purr or whine. I suppose if they're busy doing what bunnies do a lot of, i.e. jumping on other bunnies, they might be very happy indeed. And which bunny? A wild field rabbit, or a tame white one munching a carrot? And why 'bunny'? What's wrong with 'I'm not a happy elephant/llama/axolotl'?

Back to 'just sayin': how should one respond? With a sheepish grin? By jumping to one's defence? By changing the subject rapidly? I know what my response to "just sayin'" is. An unprintable two word expression ending in "off!"

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