With Valentine’s Day this week, I thought it would be fun to share some of the silly catchphrases and in-jokes that the husbear and I use.
We’ve been together for over 35 years, and married for nearly 33, and I can’t imagine having to begin again with somebody new – mostly because they wouldn’t understand half of the things I was saying to them!
Just for my own amusement (and perhaps yours too), I’ve decided to put together a dictionary of some of this couple’s catchphrases …
Bin Chicken – The name we have given a certain person in our lives, who is always on the scrounge. (Here in Australia, it’s the slang term given to the ibis, a bird that is notorious for feasting on rubbish.)
Bogus – See “excellent”.
Boys and girls dinner – When my mother went to kindy back in the 1940s, they were served a hot lunch which frequently included a mash of potato, pumpkin and tinned green beans, seasoned with a smidge of vegemite. It has long been a favourite comfort food of mine, and the husbear enjoys it too (but without the vegemite, which he hates) … our kids are not fans however, and I’ve never met anybody outside my family that knows what boys and girls dinner is.
Bsha – Awww shucks. This one come from Sophie, the stuffed toy puppy I keep on my bed.
Bumpf – Toilet paper. This one definitely came from my side of the family!
Chay-Cha – From the Italian (have I mentioned the husbear’s ancestry is Italian and Maltese?!). Refers to ripe, meaty areas of the body, particularly the bottom. You might give your baby or toddler’s chunky arms or thighs a squeeze, while pronouncing, “Chay-cha!”
Chick Chuck Culetto – Like chay-cha, I’ve probably spelt it totally wrong, but this is an Italian phrase which roughly translated (or so I’ve been told) equates to “a gentle smack on your little bottom”.
Crazy Clubs – Fellow Aussies may remember the discount outlet known as Crazy Clarks. This one came from our daughter, as this was how she pronounced it with great enthusiasm. This may have been because when the kids were tiny, as a treat I would occasionally give them a dollar or two to spend there how they pleased. I don’t think that particular brand exists anymore, but we still call any similar store “Crazy Clubs”.
Do you know what I neeeeed? – The correct (only!) answer to this question is shouted: A CUP OF TEA!!!!!! I still remember saying it in the car to our daughter when she was only about 3 or 4 and she always had the answer!!!!
Excellent – also “most excellent”, and “most triumphant”. A lot of our catchphrases are courtesy of our all time favourite movie, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure“. “Excellent” is sometimes said with a Californian drawl like the main characters; sometimes in a posh English accent, like the princesses.
Gogo juice – any particularly yummy drink eg cordial with a splash of soft drink added.
Hoghutch – When I was about six years old, one of my little sisters was being a greedy guts. Not having been exposed to swear words and the like at that tender age, I used the very worst word I could think of, and called her a “hoghutch”!
House Shows – On the weekend I love nothing more than to veg out on the couch and binge-watching Channel 94, home (excuse the pun) to House Hunters and other shows of that calibre. The husbear calls them my “house shows” … he is not a huge fun because he says they are all fake and made with actors, not genuine house-hunting couples!
Is poop – We blame this one on our son, who was vastly amused by a viral video of an American toddler sitting in his high chair, refusing to eat “sloppy joes” (I don’t even know what that is), as he claimed “is poop!” Now if anything doesn’t meet with our approval, “is poop!”
Me-me – Back when the kids were young, and memes were just starting to go viral, I had no idea how to pronounce the word. “Meem” just sounded wrong so I called them “me-mes” which the kids thought was absolutely hilarious. And so it stuck.
Mi-mi – Not to be confused with me-me! A mi-mi is a sore or wound, for example, if your child fell over, you would say “Oh no, do you have a mi-mi on your knee?”. I could have sworn we got this one from the husbear’s family but he doesn’t recall it being used when he was a child …
Ni night birds – We gave our daughter a pet cockatiel for her birthday (her 8th?) one year, and later adopted a stray that somebody had found. Each night we would cover their cage with a cloth, while saying “ni night birds” (short for night night birds). We still often say (or text if we are apart) this to each other at bedtime!
Norrriiiiuuuuu – Traditional greeting when one walks in our front door. It’s an elongated Noooooooo that enquires: Is anybody home to greet me with a cuddle? Can also be used to disagree in a light-hearted fashion!
Of which – I use this phrase when I want to get a rise out of the husbear! Several years ago he had a boss who was incapable of writing anything without using the phrase numerous times. Of which there is no need, really – it’s not plain English and should be edited out in nearly all instances!
Rackism – I think this grew out of racism, Sophie and some of the other soft toys use it to express disapproval; for example, “That’s just RACKISM!” (We can blame most of the Sophie-speak on our son, who has a unique ability to give them their own voices and personalities. I promise we are a normal family. Sometimes!)
SBEATF – Short for Soft Boiled Eggs and Toast Fingers. Comfort food, and a lazy dinner option … except for the husbear, who has to boil the eggs just the right amount, crack the shells, add salt and pepper, prepare a mountain of buttered toast which he then cuts into fingers and then serve to the hungry hordes.
Smeghead – Idiot. Borrowed from Red Dwarf, the British spoof of Star Trek and Co.
Smug Mode – Also from Red Dwarf. A certain look on the face of the android character, Kryten, when he is feeling … well … smug.
Spock – Mr Spock is a character in the original Star Trek TV series. However we use the term “Spock” to refer to anything Star Trek, particularly “Star Trek: The Next Generation” which is our favourite. Maybe it’s because it came out about the time we were married. We own the whole series on DVD and have seen every episode numerous times. Just like there is comfort food, for us this is comfort TV!
Ssshhhhtop it! (in a high pitched voice, often with a waggle of the index finger) or Stop it! That’s naughty!!!! – This one was originally used on Miss Fleur when she was singing the song of her people at some ungodly hour. It didn’t have much impact on her, but we’ve found it’s surprisingly effective at breaking the tension if we are being a bit grumbly or grumpy with each other, resulting in a cooling of tensions and usually a bit of a giggle.
Sub-Optimal – While this usually means “less than ideal”, for us it’s a low key way of saying “that REALLY sucks”.
That’s just what they do – Some previous neighbours had an extremely yappy and annoying little dog which would go off it’s nut every day at 5am … barking right underneath our bedroom window. We complained numerous times but they never seemed to do anything about it. When confronted after a couple of years of this nonsense, the neighbour just looked blankly at the husbear and said: “It’s a dog. That’s just what they do”. We now use that sentence anytime anything seems bleedingly obvious or annoying. (In the same conversation, that neighbour attempted to retaliate by saying: What about your wind chime?! Yes, seriously. As if that could even be in the same category. The husbear wishes he’d been quick enough to say in return: “It’s a wind chime. That’s just what they do!”)
The Squiddies – Our (grown) children. They are the Camilleri (calamari) kids after all, geddit? (Although technically one of them isn’t a Camilleri anymore since she got married in 2021!)
They keep making sh!t yummier – We are big fans of the BBC comedy Black Books, so when the star and stand up comedian Dylan Moran came to Australia, we went to one of his shows. This was perhaps our favourite quip of the night, when he talked about how hard it was to not gain weight. His reasoning? They keep making sh!t yummier! So much truth in that little sentence!
Tuddia – When Miss 26 was little, she was very attached to her cuddly rug. Except, she couldn’t say “cuddly” so it was her “tuddia”.
You Budder You – This one comes from my own childhood, when my tiny sister was getting angry with somebody – it was the worst things she could think of to say. I think it was meant to be “you bugg@ you” … pretty sure she picked that phrase up from my grandmother!
Of course, this is only the very tip of the iceberg; there must be literally hundreds of others that come up naturally in the course of our day-to- day conversations. It’s just a challenge when you sit down and try to purposely remember them!
Looking back, I can see quite a few of our couple’s catchphrases were actually inspired by our children or other relatives … so perhaps it might be more accurate to call them family catchphrases.
Interestingly, we are definitely not alone in having our own unique family language. I’m currently reading “Living the Chateau Dream” by Dick and Angel Strawbridge (from the TV series, “Escape to the Chateau”), and in it Dick writes:
… I went off to get a ‘grape’ to go in search of our lost paths. (Okay, who doesn’t know what a ‘grape’ is? My Irish grandfather and my father always called a garden fork a ‘grape’ and I have called it that all my life) …
Were any of our couple’s catchphrases familiar to you – or what’s one that you use that we might never have heard of?!