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November 23, 2009 / Brittany Hendrick

If I’m a twit then you’re a twunt (what’s in a name)

This post is about names. First names and their origin/meaning, namecalling, and nicknames as metaphors. The story may be hard to follow, but I can’t think of another way to present it. If I wrote this linearly, the story actually wouldn’t make sense at all, believe it or not.

Just when I think I’ve finished wasting too much time and brainpower using J for artistic writing content that he doesn’t deserve to be a part of (specifically here and here, and a few other places throughout), some shit dredges up from the trenches and I’m forced to be reminded of his spineless twuntardedness.

He’s even earned a new nickname recently– the VP. It’s the most dead-on one to-date. It doesn’t mean “vice president”; and the “P” doesn’t stand for “pussy,” as much as that may suit him. The meaning of VP is much worse than that, because it is so metonymical without being crude. It is so hurtful in plain, non-vulgar language, it must stay between my sister and me.

Mind you, I’m not much for name-calling– I prefer the Shakespearean route for insults. But I wouldn’t have to assign such vile labels to people if I’m not put into a defensive position. Otherwise, I’m pretty easygoing. Simple, huh. Kind of like apologies. Or communication. Or honesty. Or humor. Anyfuckingasshole…

While in NYC, I met with an old friend of mine, Matt. We hadn’t seen each other since high school graduation. We became friends in the 4th grade– the only two kids who were into music, as if we were teenagers already. While Madonna fanboys chased New Kids on the Block fangirls on the playground during recess, Matt and I were beyond our years, getting along to the tune of Guns n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. He had the cassette, and I had the Walkman.

Together, Matt and I triumphed in our schoolyard rebellion as we each took an earpiece, listening to the sweet screams of “fuck” this and “fuck” that. We were good kids and could get away with it, unsuspected. The teachers were too busy monitoring the wild mainstream than to notice us anyway.

Matt and I had a lot of catching up to do. One of the things I wanted to hear about was his UGA exchange student semester at Aberystwyth University, in Wales. In talking about his experiences and my post-grad plans in Wales– and the research I’ve done in preparation– we got onto the subject of Brittany– one of the six Celtic nations– and the Celtic origin/meaning of its name, which is mired in myth.

Seeing where the Celtic nations are situated, it makes sense that Brittany is included. The peoples of Brittany spoke a language called Breton (still spoken, but not as prevalently). As Matt told it, he said Brittany means “half-tongue” in Welsh, referring to when Roman-period British troops cut out the tongues of Breton women and children.

Here is where I must interject with the VP. In the handful of emails we exchanged, I asked if he’d thought of a name for his band’s tourbus. I’d mentioned to him in-person that we’d named our bus The Milf (Short for Millennium. It was built in the year 2000). I was just trying to make fun conversation that he perhaps would not normally encounter. Apparently, the VP takes tourbus nomenclature more seriously than I anticipated, because this was his response:

The Lady– treat her well and she’ll look after you.

Wow, that was unexpected. I suppose he was attempting to show a sensitive, philosophical side of himself.  Yet it sounded cliched; certainly, he didn’t invent that aphorism on his own. What is its origin? Song lyrics? A famous quote? A Tom Jones “She’s a Lady” reference? A Styx “Lady” reference? The VP’s motivation for calling the bus The Lady instead of, say, Bob, was not without reason. But I didn’t ask him how he came up with the name– I didn’t want to accuse him of being unoriginal or sappy. Instead, I decided to find out the origin of the phrase, on my own.

I learned the adage is common in some variation, and is not song lyrics. No surprise there. And I stumbled across something else… unexpected… during my research. Basically, I found out the meaning of The VP’s ex-girlfriend’s name. Gee, I bet you can’t guess what it is.

…………………………………………………..

Ready?

…………………………………………………..

Hold on to your hats.

 

…………………………………………………..

Hang on tightly!

…………………………………………………..

You won’t believe it.

…………………………………………………..

Lady


Lady

Lady

LadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLady

LadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLady

LadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLady

LadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLady

LadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLadyLady

I wanted to faint, puke, piss, spontaneously combust and go through the water cycle five times in a row when I saw that. What the fuck?

Naming the bus after your ex-girlfriend?? That’s just… sick!! And smug of him to do with me. How dare he! Why would he go out of his way?! He wants to pine for her, fine! I understand. But why take… it… whatever it is… out on me?? I didn’t deserve that.

Or… have I taken a few leaps on the Jump to Conclusions Mat™? Let’s find out.

 

Matt sent me a note later, which instigated a new round of research:

I think I misspoke. The word “brittany” is not Welsh for “half-tongue” there was another word that was used by the Welsh for the people of Brittany. That word means “half-tongue”. I would have to go through my notes to actually find that word though.

Of course this sent me on a maze of investigation and fact-checking. Finding out the etymology of “Brittany” was not as easy as I thought it would be. The basic definition didn’t give me what I wanted; good to know my name means “strong, industrious,” yet that info was not helpful to this cause. But finding the meaning of “half-tongue” is when things got interesting.

Brittany is an English word. In French, it translates into Bretagne. In Breton, it’s Breizh. In Welsh, I now know, it’s Llydaw.

So?

So, Llydaw is what populated after I searched the meaning of “half-tongue.”

OK, then. Let’s enter “Llydaw” and learn more about that.

Turns out, there is a lake in Snowdonia, Wales, called Llyn Llydaw– literally, Lake Brittany.

Neat! And… let’s learn a little more about that.

And oh. Oh, my. This certainly wasn’t covered in my Medieval literature class. In Arthurian legend, the Welsh claim that Llyn Llydaw is the purported home of whom?

 

The Lady of the Lake.

Oh. Great. That’s just great. Now what am I supposed to think? Which way was the VP going with this? Neither way, I’d say, and probably just coincidence. There is no way he could have put that much metaphorical effort into naming a stupid bus.

Still, he could’ve been smug, since Llydaw is the lake and not the lady. Or maybe he was being doubly smug, by incorporating both names– the ex-girlfriend and me– so he could privately piss all over himself in Brit-wit delight.

It would’ve been easier if he’d just named the bus The Motherfucker, inspired by a Henry Rollins spoken word bit on El Niño, as I’d suggested in the first place (it was a very large bus). And I wasn’t being smug at the time. Kidding, but not smug. Perhaps I should’ve taken tourbus nomenclature more seriously.

p.s. Thanks a lot, Matt.  😉

p.p.s. According to– or perhaps proven by– Google, I have championed the phrase “if I’m a twit then you’re a twunt,” which is actually a pun on a similar-sounding phrase, “if I’m a selt then you’re a sunt,” which is also a pun– albeit of different derivation– cleverly uttered by Richard Burton (legend has it). You’re welcome.

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5 Comments

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  1. Brittany Hendrick / Nov 27 2009 4:49 pm

    Dear Wonderwomanesque,

    LOLZ.

    Nothing on this website is about Peter Hayes or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

    Like

  2. Brittany Hendrick / Nov 24 2009 2:42 pm

    I forgot to say: Another theory is that he was hinting that me calling the bus “The Motherfucker” was not lady-like behavior. That’s how I took it at first, really.

    However, if he may recall, the worst word I spouted in his presence was “piss.” And I was lady-like in every other way. I’m not a sloven.

    And if he had an ounce of gray matter, he’d know that writers have a slightly different persona in, um, WRITING than in person because they are, ah, CREATIVE and use writing as more than just a form of communication. Since he is a musician, I thought he would understand artistic motivation better than most people. I was wrong.

    Like

    • Amber / Nov 26 2009 10:07 pm

      I am really curious as to what went on between the two of you that you are still so consumed with him. Did things progress past what you had written to me about two years ago? Apparently, you shared emails, but what exactly happened?

      I will not say in any detail to you what has transpired between he and I since you emailed me two years ago, but I got to know him quite well and up until a couple months ago, we talked on the phone frequently, etc. I admit that I noticed you had deleted those stories about him and now they are back up. I enjoy your writing and admit I found this site several months back and have read it from time to time. But my goodness, I can’t believe you are still writing about him. Did you have a great love affair or something equally life altering? I realize this is none of my business, but here I am anyway.

      Like

  3. Brittany Hendrick / Nov 23 2009 6:59 pm

    Yeah, I should link to the website that states the Lady of the Lake thing. I’ll have to find it again.

    You’re right. I give him way too much credit as it is– first, by immortalizing him in this medium. Second, by suggesting that he could ever be clever enough to concoct an intricate insult such as what I described.

    He seemed passably intelligent to me at the time. Conversely, I have read things where people basically say he’s a dullard. Ouch.

    Like

  4. Matt / Nov 23 2009 9:56 am

    Nice. I hadn’t heard the Lady in the Lake thing (or had forgotten). I don’t know of whom you speak, but I think you are giving him way too much credit. I doubt he is smart enough or devious enough to pull of such a double sided insult.

    Like

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