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Frankly speaking: Talking like Sinatra

By George Pelletier - Milford Bureau Chief | Jun 20, 2020

Dames. Broads. Cats. Crumb bums. Sadly, no one talks like this anymore and it’s a doggone shame. I wasn’t born until ’64 so I missed the parlance from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s eras.

Having seen Sinatra live more than a dozen times, I have relied on his ring-a-ding-ding lingo to retro fit my vernacular.

That said, here are some terms and expressions that I plan on reintroducing into our modern pop culture. You can thank Francis Albert.

Ginchiest: A way to tell someone that you are admiring their clothes, appearance or personality. While you may find that intriguing (“Baby, you’re the ginchiest!”), ‘ginch’ in Canadian terms, means men’s underwear specifically white briefs. I’m pretty sure that “Hey, dollface, you’re looking mighty tighty whitey!” will not catch on. And while I’m on point with tighty whiteys, they do not make for acceptable or appropriate face mask protection. I saw a man at Walmart donning such, and social distanced myself 30 feet from him, because if his underwear was on his head, who was tending to the boys downstairs?

Dollface: I am guilty of using this one. I guess I’ve seen “Pal Joey” one too many times. It actually predates the ’40s and was used when a man is pleading or apologizing. I thought it just meant that some moll had a pretty face. I guess I’ve been apologizing all these years and for that, I’m sorry. If, however, the dollface in question looks Chucky, I’d double-bag that dish like a bag of hammers and hit the bricks to Damestown, see?

Flutter bum: This is used when you want to compliment a fella’s appearance. To me it sounds more like a guy shooting feathers out of his butt. “Check out the flutter bum at four o’clock!” Yeah, try saying that out loud the next time you’re in the lumber section at Lowes.

Fat City: If someone told me I’d soon be in fat city, I’d expect that I was on a fried dough diet and have resorted to only wearing muumuus. In the ’50s, fat city meant you were living large, that your pockets were lined with cash and good luck was the only luck you knew. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas is rated as the fattest city in America but it has nothing to do with wealth and more to do with food and eating lots of it. There’s one gym in this mecca and everyone’s favorite machine is the one that dispenses candy.

Classy Chassis: A way to tell a lady that she has a nice body. In this era of the Me Too movement, I decline on using this. However, if you want an extra butterscotch candy the next time you’re at a skilled nursing facility, toss ‘classy chassis’ towards one of the women. She’ll either thank you for the compliment or think you’re referring to her nifty walker.

Don’t flip your wig: I don’t know anything about bad toupees (sorry Frank), but if your toupee flew off in the wind, say, while you were boarding Airforce One (okay so it’s not a toupee but sure responds like one!), you’ve lost your cool. You are agitated. Angered. Tired of “fake news.” So, the next time you’re quizzed by a reporter at a press conference and you don’t like the question, hey grifter, don’t flip your wig! And while you’re at it, don’t snap your cap!

Khaki wacky: Boy crazy. And I thought it was another ad for “Old Navy.”

Hi-de-ho: This means hello and is not the name of a guest on Jerry Springer.

Cut the gas: This isn’t lingo used at a ham and bean supper. Rather, it refers to closing your mouth. “Cut the gas and shut your trap already!” Also: Did somebody step on a duck?

Razz my berries: This one sounds dirty but isn’t. It means when something excites you in a non-filthy way. Still, if you see a swell looking gal and you’d like to get to know her better, you might think to yourself, “She can razz my berries.”

The Big Tickle: Not to be confused with the Big Sleep, the Big Cheese or the Big One, this ’50s expression essentially verifies that people in the 1950’s were especially ticklish. I can just hear Joe McCarthy being tickled so vigorously, that he screamed, “I’m a communist sympathizer!”

Stop dipping in my Kool-Aid: Dipping what exactly? Words definitely not muttered in Jonestown, this expression means mind your own bees wax. Besides, who the heck still drinks Kool-Aid? The only answer I can imagine is some guy with a mullet who enjoys a nice Kool-Aid and Southern Comfort as he wades around in the cement pond before rustling something up for dinner.


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