I am no longer the cool chick I was when I moved to the Lowcountry.

Even though I sometimes still feel as engaged and interested and creative as I did back in my 20s, I am just not as hip as I used to be. Furthermore, nothing is hip anymore. “Just don’t use that word, Mom. Eww.”

Sorry. I should have said “I’m not dope.”

If you are unaware, “dope” is an old word made new to describe anything kids of my generation would have called “cool” or “hip.”

And if it’s really dope, it’s lit. Or at least it was last year.

I think my lack of awareness of current youthful slanguage is because I don’t do Tiktok or hip hop. I’m told that’s how one discovers all the new words created or adopted by today’s kids to express themselves and confound their elders.

“Fire” is another expression of approval, often expressed only with the “fire” emoji on your phone, but you’re OK to say it when you think something is really cool. (There I go using old words again!)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no stranger to the use of slang to confuse and annoy parents. Back in the day, I knew it all. When we really liked someone or something, we were “mad” about it.

Icky things were “gross.” Things that were new and exciting were “groovy.”

Along the way, I learned to keep some things on the DL, short for “down low,” of course. It’s a fancy word for “secret,” which many people just couldn’t keep.

A similar newer phrase is “low-key,” which signifies something OK to share, but not widely. It seems to be more like downplaying a thought or an emotion: “I’m low-key mad about that guy.”

I’ve recently read that I am sort of what is called “cheugy” (pronounced “choo-gee”). I still wear some things (like comfy jeans) that were stylish years ago, still use the same mascara (Maybelline, of course), still wear my hair mostly the same, still have the same (annoying to some) eternal positive attitude.

Two years ago, I would have been simply “basic.” This slang word that was top of the charts in 2020 means “tragically mainstream,” and eye rolls accompany the thought. Alas, now “basic” is too basic, and has been replaced with the who-knows-where-it-came-from “cheugy.”

Those who are near my age of experience might recall when some older siblings called their annoying, dorky younger one a “drip.” Guess what? These days, drip is fire. 

“Drip” is now a style term, short for “dripping,” as in diamonds, which are also called “ice,” which, when melting, drips. Did you follow that? I heard that this evolved from the exaggerated amount of gold chains, and ginormous “$” pendants that many hip hop artists seem to favor. When you drip, you got fashion sense like Gucci.

One of my boys asked me a few months ago if I liked his “fit.” I was unable to respond for fear of saying the wrong thing. I noticed he was wearing new dead-stock sneaks (aka sneakers that haven’t previously been worn and are not creased at the toe), along with a new T-shirt and shorts. Oh, and funky socks. (Is “funky” still an appropriate term for “a little bit weird but lit at the same time”?)

After an uncomfortable moment, he finally said, “My outfit, Mom. My fit!” Apparently, it’s trendy also to chop words in half.

If you have the least tiny hint of an idea of how to appropriately use some of these expressions IRL (that means “in real life”), then you “understood the assignment.” You are killing it, bruh. You are fire.