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Hunker down
March 14, 2012 3:54 PM   Subscribe

The current generation has gone through the fads of planking (previously 1 and 2), cone-ing (previously), owling, leisure diving (both previously), and even Tebowing (previously). Posing-for-pictures fads are not a new thing, though. In 1959, near the end of the relatively well-known phone booth stuffing craze, there was hunkering.
posted by Boxenmacher (29 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Owling, you mean.
posted by parmanparman at 3:58 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hunkering cowboys, 1940. Hunkering airmen, circa 1943 (source)

See also: squatting position, a rather lengthy and detailed Wikipedia page.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:04 PM on March 14, 2012


My mom was a Hunkerette at school.
posted by Kinbote at 4:09 PM on March 14, 2012


HUNKER DOWN YOU HAIRY DOGS
posted by jquinby at 4:11 PM on March 14, 2012


It was really because of the lack of fiber in diets back then.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:11 PM on March 14, 2012


Man. I can only do that for about 30 seconds before my legs hurt.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:12 PM on March 14, 2012


Hunkering wasn't so much a fad as a necessity. Back then, duck and cover drills might occur once or twice a day. In the event of a nuclear attack, it was critical that you quickly hit the ground to avoid being vaporized. The closer you kept to the ground throughout the day, the less painful it was to endure the ongoing safety drills.
posted by perhapses at 4:13 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I believe the latest one is draping?
posted by panaceanot at 4:14 PM on March 14, 2012


Hunkering is the generation before me.
Planking and owling is the generation after me.

This type of thing apparently skips a generation, thankfully.
posted by Flood at 4:15 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Fat, hunkering and stupid is no way to go through life, son."

The guys in that LIFE article look like gargoyles, and if you flip forward to pages 130 and 131 you will see advertisements featuring people with terrible addictions.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:16 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another fact is that chair production was halted during the war, and the shortage of chairs did not end until 1961, thanks, in large part, to JFK's aggressive stance on sitting.
posted by perhapses at 4:17 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you...
Hunker in your bunker
With a bottle and paddle
And the noodle-eating poodle
Has a bridle and a saddle,
Then...

Modesty draws a veil over the scene, I suppose
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:24 PM on March 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


On my drive home, as I enter my neighborhood, there's often a guy hunkering beside his house, smoking a cigarette and reading a book.

The smoke and the book, I totally get. You wanna smoke, but your wife hates it, so you go outside, and when you're outside, you're bored, so you bring a book. I get it.

But I really want to stop and ask him about the hunkering.

DUDE. Chair? Ten bucks at the drug store for one of those ubiquitous white resin chairs. Dude. Chair. Get in the car. It's Chairtuday. We're getting you a chair.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:27 PM on March 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man. I can only do that for about 30 seconds before my legs hurt.

It's less painful if you can get your entire bottom foot touching the ground when you squat instead of just the balls of your feet. This is the "asian squat" method which is easier for people with a lower center of gravity than it is for others. I suppose this is why squat toilets are not popular in the west.
posted by cazoo at 4:30 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hunkering is a gateway drug to limboing. Say no kids.
posted by mannequito at 4:43 PM on March 14, 2012


I've never been able to get my feet flat on the ground while hunkering without toppling over backwards. I don't know if it's a genetic/physiological-center-of-gravity thing, or can be learned. Maybe it's time to start doing yoga?
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:49 PM on March 14, 2012


cazoo, I've learned about it as the "third world squat" and it's a healthy position to assume from time to time. Makes for better poops too.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 5:39 PM on March 14, 2012


How To Do The Asian Squat. "An instructional film about the latest craze from Asia! Directed by Daniel Hsia. This video was made in 2002."
posted by yoHighness at 6:22 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


One of the earliest of transient (though not postural, unless you regard ingestion of goldfish as a posture) fads.
posted by bad grammar at 7:11 PM on March 14, 2012


My life was transformed by Hsia's how-to film on the Asian squat. Now squatting is so easy.

My knees can't take it for too long, though -- I have the beginnings of knee osteoarthritis (partly due to my love of squatting and sitting cross-legged, even in a chair).
posted by jb at 8:49 PM on March 14, 2012


That video yoHighness linked to made me think that I might be able to eventually manage a flat-footed squat, but first I'd have to do weeks or months of serious stretching exercises on my very American calf muscles and heel tendons. Although, like jb, I'm not sure how long my 50-year-old knees would hold out...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:36 PM on March 14, 2012


[derail]Makes for better poops too.

there with the 'poop' again. Just FYI, in Australian English, poop is a word used pretty exclusively by the under 5 (and their parents). Right up there with 'wee wee'.

[/derail]
posted by wilful at 9:42 PM on March 14, 2012


Clicking on the Asian Squat link can lead to a number of debilitating injuries that you never knew you had. Seriously.

When I first started squatting at the gym, I was having trouble getting down deep enough and came across these Asian Squat stories. Well, suddenly, I realized I had incredibly tight hamstrings. Like, I was one sprint away from blowing out my hammies (luckily the only sprinting I had been doing until then was to fridge from actual ham, am I right!? Anyone?). So, I start working on my hams, but then realize that I have insanely messed up ankles too! Like, I can barely get any ankle flexion! Then, I realized I also had tight plantar fasciae too. And I also realized I had all these problems up top too -- tight shoulders, pecs, back. I realized I had been hunkerin' all along -- I don't think I had every actually squatted!

Basically, I clicked on that link and suddenly I am barely able to move things I didn't know should move. Now, I have a whole section of my apartment with tennis balls, foam rollers, bands, lacrosse balls, etc. It looks like a Curves gym over in that corner.

Decades of hunkerin' have left us all rigid little forward rolling balls of tightness. Every day we are sitting at our desks, hunkered over.

Every day we're hunkerin'....
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:46 PM on March 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Watch me hunker, then watch me topple over backwards about 5 seconds later.
posted by arcticseal at 11:44 PM on March 14, 2012


I've never been able to get my feet flat on the ground while hunkering without toppling over backwards. I don't know if it's a genetic/physiological-center-of-gravity thing, or can be learned.

An easy cheat is to find some place that has a small lip - like a 1" or so rise like an edging, the border of a lawn or sidewalk - and putting the heel part of your feet on the higher ground.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:31 AM on March 15, 2012


"Thunker Hunker" looks an awful lot like Tebowing.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 1:48 AM on March 15, 2012


Just FYI, in Australian English, poop is a word used pretty exclusively by the under 5 (and their parents). Right up there with 'wee wee'.

It's the same in American English, but FYI some people find that it's polite to not use harsh words around company. We'll have to make a note when Australians around, we'll just switch over to using "ca-ca" so as not to offend your mature tastes.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:15 AM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


TOTALLY NSFW: Best Tebow I've ever seen.

I suppose there MUST be a Hunkering version of this too.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 4:35 AM on March 15, 2012


One of the earliest of transient (though not postural, unless you regard ingestion of goldfish as a posture) fads.

After swallowing a goldfish you could always go sit on a flagpole (which is apparently much older than I realized.)
posted by TedW at 5:01 AM on March 15, 2012


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