Right now I’m sitting in a café drinking a short, skinny cappuccino. It’s a favourite drink of mine, but one I’m always embarrassed about ordering because, apart from the tits, I myself am short and skinny. I don’t want people to think I’m some crazy egotist who only drinks things that resemble me. Or that I model myself on my drinks. Or that I’ve got confused and actually want a tall hot chocolate but believe it’s important to provide a brief personal description before ordering. Do you think all this is going through the barista’s head right now or could I perhaps be over-analyzing?
Anyhow, at great risk of sounding like one of those I remember when “gay” meant “happy” tosspots, I can remember when “skinny” was an insult. We didn’t used to describe drinks as “skinny”. At a push we’d say “with skimmed milk, please”, but generally, back in my day, it was full-fat coffee or black. And the people who drank black coffee and as a consequence weren’t fat got made fun of for being too skinny.
While I’m not in favour of mocking thin people (and it’s not like we don’t still do this, all the bloody time), I’m really bothered about the current popularity of “skinny” as a word. Drinks are skinny, food is skinny, jeans are skinny. A word which used to mean “too thin” is now a positive attribute. What’s all that about?
It seems to me that we’ve thrown the towel in. We’ve given up the pretence that Wallis Simpson’s “you can never be too rich or too thin” was just a throwaway comment from someone who was both of these things. Wealth gets concentrated at the top because we all want to be at the top, and words that were used to describe the unpleasantly thin are rehabilitated to market clothes and foodstuffs. It’s a bit fucked up, really, isn’t it?
So I don’t call my jeans “skinny” jeans. I haven’t yet thought of an alternative. I don’t like eighties words such as “drainpipe” or “skintight” as they both sound quite uncomfortable. So I guess I’ll just call them “jeans”. That’s what they are, and it works.
Now to work on my coffee. I’m open to suggestion, but my personal fave is “short and skinny, but with big tits”.