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Cute is the new ‘F@#k You’

By October 2, 2009July 7th, 2010Blogging, How To, Writing

bunnydogDo you have any words that you’d like obliterated? I’m all for axing ‘cute’.

Bunnies are cute. Puppies are cute. As Alisa from Project Happily Ever After says,

“I think it’s okay to use cute if you’re writing about vomit and diarrhea. Because it’s not what people would ever expect. (ie. I just vomited all over my husband. Doesn’t he look cute?) But you can’t call cute things cute, because… well, I don’t know.”

That’s right, Alisa. And what you ‘didn’t know’, or more aptly, what you couldn’t put into words at that moment (because you are a brilliant wordsmith), is that you can’t call cute things cute because it’s kind of boring, overdone, obvious and a little cruel. I mean, as if we need reminding. So, I’m calling you out (not you, Alisa, but you, the reader of this post) and requesting that you get more creative.

I’m short, rather small, and for some reason this makes people want to call me ‘cute’. Maybe I am (though that has to be subjective) – but that’s exactly why it’s not okay to call me that. Sometimes people even call my writing ‘cute’. I can’t explain to you why these incidents disturb me, but they do. Oh yes, it’s because I’m not a bunny. Or a puppy. Neither is my writing. It isn’t even short.

Some other words that need to be banished: ‘nice’ and ‘fine’. ‘Pretty’ sucks, too. These words have no verve, man. No chutzpah.

I’m not into burning books, so I can’t really condone the burning of words, either…but maybe we could just throw these in the closet? They’ve overstayed their welcome and have become quite useless. It is my contention that they’ve become offensive and insulting. Annoyed with someone? Call ’em cute. It really is the new f@#k you.

Would you like to add any words to the pile before I seal the closet door shut?

(And, yes, I blatantly avoided overtly swear on this here blog, using ‘@#’ for ‘uc’ because my dad reads my posts every day – apparently he reads old posts on days I don’t publish – and it would’ve really pissed him off. He might even have called me the ‘c’ word had I gone for it…)

Image credit: Treyevan

Join the discussion 24 Comments

  • Ron Miller says:

    Really cute post, Julie.



  • I would like to eliminate the entire sentence, “I’m having a great day!!” because there are people that say that every day and that’s just a f%^*ing lie.
    Thank you.

  • Joanne Sardini says:

    Agreed Julie! At least once a day I’m told my Scottish accent is ‘cute’ – it makes me crazy!! What I say is irrelevant as long as that ‘cute’ accent is on display. Not easy to hide though :(

  • Heather Goff says:

    The word I like the least in people’s writing is when they say that something sucks. I don’t like “cute” either, but “sucks” to me is not only unimaginative, but offensive. I think it must be my age, but that was a word that my mother washed my mouth out with soap for, and I have a hard time seeing it being used so casually in people’s writing.

  • not to start the comments out on too analytical a note, but what the hell ~

    cute is offensive (much more so in my book than nice & fine & pretty, which are just ineffectual through overuse) because it denotes a power differential, where the speaker self-confers a subtle superiority over the object/person receiving the label

    that’s why it feels bad ~ period.

    another more soothing thought however, is that evolutionary biologists suggest that “cuteness” in mammalian infants (wide eyes, close arrangement of features at the bottom half of the face, perfect symmetry) is a winning darwinian strategy, a powerfully intoxicating lure to parents, & apparently to even non-parents, to pick said infants up off the jungle floor, keep them close & thereby keep them alive…

    so, perhaps the next time someone calls you cute, you can push the crowbar in a little further (perhaps by batting your lingusitic or actual eyelashes at them!) & find a way to use having them in your sway to your advantage…?!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Wow! Thanks, Heather – it’s fascinating how we are all so uniquely triggered. I happen to love that word and find it to be excruciatingly apropos on a regular basis. I’m sure others would say the same of ‘cute’!

    Loving this thread of comments (and the one on Twitter, too!)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Oh, Sarah. First of all, thank you for bringing up the power play inherent in the use of cute – very important. Of course, this rolls right into the fact that the cute things are most always short and small.

    As for the other piece – exceptional point. I mean really, why shove cute in the closet (which won’t really work, the use of the word is to massive) – why not use it to my advantage.

    I’d say the gauntlet has been thrown, the tables are about to be turned – possibly flipped completely.

  • Talented is hugely over-used. At least 80% of the people thus described generally turn out not to be.

    Talking of which, I would also like to see an early end to “it means the world/everything to me”, particularly in the X-Factor sort of context. Does it? Really? EVERYTHING?

  • Julie Roads says:

    Eugenie just reminded me that we should get rid of ‘thinking out of the box’ as well…

  • My hubby use to say “honey” in a not so nice tone to people he thought were just “cute.” lol

  • Jason says:

    Cute, how cliche’… I use my own cliches, BTW, instead of the norm. The Dennis Miller versions work best, totally bewildering the person I am conversing with so that they don’t even know whether to thank me or just smile… until they find a thesaurus or wikipedia to consult. :) But yeah, I don’t usually compliment anyone anyway. (I guess cute is not a compliment, so it’s moot) What the hell was I trying to say? God, an I the Sisyphus of blog commentators or what!? (A Dennis Miller reference)

  • Julie Roads says:

    I LOVE Dennis Miller. The ‘Off-White Album’ is my particular favorite…’how do I know that the color blue to you is the same color blue to me, man’…classic. And the whole Dorothy thing? Priceless.

  • Andi says:

    I’d like to lock “let’s take this offline” and “innovation/innovative” into your little closet – can you tell I work in a corporate environment?!

  • Andi, could we extend it to include all “innovative solutions”?

  • Andi says:

    @Eugeneie – oh my God – YES! I was actually going to include that originally!

  • Ari Herzog says:

    My 12th grade English teacher said the two worst words in the English language are “nice” and “interesting” for they simultaneously describe everything and nothing that is attributable about whatever they’re modifying.

    Ban ’em.

    And you ARE cute, dammit.

  • ilinap says:

    I am five feet tall and get told I am “cute” all the time. I especially love when the endearment is followed by a pat atop my head. Now that makes me feel hot.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    Finally surfacing after a week of too much work. I like that now I can say someone or something is cute and it’s now code for, well, something that I wouldn’t usually say–at least not to someone’s face.

  • Katherine Collmer says:

    Can I add “awesome” (of which I am incredibly guilty of using) and “At the end of the day…” Ugh.

  • Carlos Velez says:

    My Julie took “cute” off the list of approved words to be used, particularly in association with Julie her self, very shortly after we met. She made me a “mix tape” cd called “Cute Is Crap,” and it’s the best damn mix tape anyone’s ever made me.
    .-= Carlos Velez´s last blog ..The Conscious Man 4: Listening With Empathy =-.

  • Dian Reid says:

    loved this post. short and not cute or condescending.

  • Renee says:

    I remember the “Off-White Album” days well…still love it!

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