Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A Lackadaisy Air
October 26, 2013 7:03 PM   Subscribe

From the New-York Mirror of February 24, 1883:
“. . . a new and valuable addition has been made to the slang vocabulary. … We refer to the term “Dood.” For a correct definition of the expression the anxious inquirer has only to turn to the tight-trousered, brief-coated, eye-glassed, fancy-vested, sharp-toes shod, vapid youth who abounds in the Metropolis at present. … The Dood is oftenest seen in the lobbies of our theatres on first-nights. He puffs cigarettes or sucks his hammered-silver tipped cane in the entr actes, and passes remarks of a not particularly intellectual character on the appearance and dresses of the actresses. His greatest pleasure lies in taking a favorite actress or singer to supper at Delmonico’s or the Hotel Brunswick—places he briefly calls ‘Dels’ and the ‘Bruns’—where he will spend his papa’s pelf with a lavish hand. … ”

The print-only Comments on Etymology dedicates 129 pages of their current issue to the word dude.

Mentalfloss' take: Some of the early mocking descriptions of these dudes seem awfully familiar today: “A weak mustache, a cigarette, a thirteen button vest/A curled rim hat—a minaret—two watch chains cross the breast.” Yep, sounds like a hipster. But that word has gotten so stale. We should all go back to “dood,” or maybe even “doodle.”

See also this typically amazing previous post from filthy light thief on its evolution.
posted by mannequito (40 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Duuuuuuude.
posted by sfts2 at 7:15 PM on October 26, 2013


"Pelf"! That's one you don't hear too much anymore.

I couldn't cite it now, but there's a terrific cartoon in Punch (I believe) from this period, showing a tiny, slender "dude" contrasted to a huge, muscular New Woman, who was riding a bicycle and chomping cigars. There was an increasing anxiety about gender roles at the time that is completely forgotten now.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:17 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There was an increasing anxiety about gender roles at the time that is completely forgotten now

Forgotten? I'd say it's going depressingly strong.
posted by escabeche at 7:19 PM on October 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh the gender policing panic never really goes away, society will be undone by short haired women and long haired men indeed.
posted by The Whelk at 7:19 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nawnawnawww. Doot is whacha says insteada "Kid" if yas nawt fram Bawstins, and ahn't auld enuff to sez "Guy" inzteds. Fah zamples: Doooot, tha's osssum!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:21 PM on October 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't help but notice how well written the comments are. Quite the departure from the mental scrawlings of my local rag.

Dude!
posted by notsnot at 7:25 PM on October 26, 2013


sucks his cane?
posted by rifflesby at 7:26 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


dood is pronounced hipster.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:31 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


By Jove! Immense!
posted by Devonian at 7:40 PM on October 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


sucks his cane?

I have never been able to figure out why or how, but in books of the time it appears that this was indeed A Thing, usually done by less-than-brilliant persons.

Whether it was an actual Thing or just a piece of cultural characterization I can't tell, but if you read a description of a well-to-do young man who is mentally negligible in that time period, odds are excellent (particularly in British fiction) that he will be sucking on his cane at some point.
posted by winna at 7:46 PM on October 26, 2013


I like to pretend Hindi for milk, दूध is somehow related to our "dude."
posted by saber_taylor at 7:48 PM on October 26, 2013


"Dood" is something sentient, exploding penguins say.
posted by Redfield at 8:00 PM on October 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Of course, exploding penguins say that all sorts of things are something sentient, so you can't really set your watch by that.
posted by cortex at 8:06 PM on October 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have a friend who, back in the 90s, would regularly ping me on AIM at work, and her first word was always, always, ALWAYS! "d00d!"

"d00d! Are we going to the Alehouse later? We gotta stop for a slice first, tho."
"d00d! You know it's Fleet Week, right? w00t!"
"d00d. I've got cramps and I feel like sh1t! I should go home, right?"

She has since recovered and is now a teacher of 10th grade English at a good public high school.
posted by droplet at 8:11 PM on October 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


d00d, she gots goot inglitch. She shoots tetches heah in Voad Dyelun.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:23 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


By Jove! Immense!
posted by Devonian at 1:40 PM on October 27
There is just so much right with this comment that I can't help but smile :)
posted by Pinback at 8:26 PM on October 26, 2013


Don't google anything about guys sucking on canes if you're at a place of work
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:28 PM on October 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


“What is the dude, papa?” she said, with sweet, inquiring eyes,
And to the knowledge seeking maid, her daddy thus replies:
The Dude is that which abides.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:28 PM on October 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


(I just realized that Cthulhu must be a Dude)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:29 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


But then there is this.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:30 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't call me dude.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:32 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the previous thread already cited: 1885. Lynchburg, Virginia. "Reasons why I should not turn out a mustache: . . . Somebody might say 'shoot the dude.'"
posted by Orinda at 8:56 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm actually surprised that the previous thread had a clip with all the "Dudes" from Big Lebowski but not a similar clip for Lost.

And the beginning of this clip is a surprisingly amusing (surprising becuase its Rob Schneider actually being amusing) dissertation on the different meanings of the word "dude".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:41 PM on October 26, 2013


As an aging hippie who refers to a lot of folks as "dude"...

Goddamn hipsters! Is there anything you turds won't ruin?
posted by Windopaene at 9:51 PM on October 26, 2013


sucks his cane?

Which end?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:05 PM on October 26, 2013


I assumed on reading this that "cane" was slang for "pipe".
posted by cali at 10:54 PM on October 26, 2013


Any major dood will tell you.
posted by borges at 11:43 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whether it was an actual Thing or just a piece of cultural characterization I can't tell, but if you read a description of a well-to-do young man who is mentally negligible in that time period, odds are excellent (particularly in British fiction) that he will be sucking on his cane at some point.

Well, it's also in Lewis Carroll (The Hunting of the Snark) and Tom Sawyer for that matter. It seems to denote a particular mood of male introspection mixed, perhaps, with nervousness. Seems to have gone completely out of fashion with canes -- perhaps only coincidental with the rise of germ theory.
posted by dhartung at 11:52 PM on October 26, 2013


Some canes were hollow. Some contained swords; some contained spirits, maybe brandy.
posted by Cranberry at 1:11 AM on October 27, 2013


Just like sucking the end of your pencil. If you had a nice ivory or silver handle on your cane it makes sense to me.
posted by Segundus at 3:27 AM on October 27, 2013


So...dude ("dood") used to be something more akin to "douchebag"?
posted by zardoz at 4:04 AM on October 27, 2013


i've received the impression that when a chappy's described as sucking his cane the word "suck" might really be a bit too strong as i believe it's just sort of putting the hand-holdy end to your mouth -- when i myself am feeling pensive i tend to express this physically by placing one hand to my mouth so that a finger rests against my lips in this same manner -- despite the possibly fellatial-sounding implications of the phrasing
posted by titus n. owl at 7:06 AM on October 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


As the owl spoke, so had I thought. A gesture of holding one's hand at one's mouth, and it's the hand which holds the cane. A gesture of one who must stop to think, "What do I do now?", all the time. The dood is otherwise someone who behaves like a dandy, until confronted with such difficult quandaries (whiskey, or gin?!) and then they must stop to ponder.
posted by Goofyy at 7:47 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


dood: all hat, no cattle.
posted by Goofyy at 7:49 AM on October 27, 2013


I thought this was going to go here.
posted by Foosnark at 8:00 AM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think by "sucking" they really mean just putting the handle of the can to one's lips in a meditative manner. If you look at the illustrations on this page, you'll see many examples.
posted by yoink at 3:42 PM on October 27, 2013


sucks his cane?

Peter Lorre sucks his cane in Maltese Falcon.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:10 PM on October 27, 2013


Foosnark: I thought this was going to go here.

Me too.
posted by Sing Fool Sing at 11:17 PM on October 27, 2013


Or Duder, or his Dudeness, or El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
posted by SlepnerLaw at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


suck a bucket of cane d00d.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2013


« Older How To Speak Singlish by Amos Yee (SLYT)...  |  On November 9th, 2013, the fou... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments