Evasive Maneuvers

Euphemisms old and new

Intimate, Non-Vintage Nuggets of Nincompoopery

Small weddings, according to thought leaders in the military-nuptial complex, are known as micro weddings.

I can't say if extra-small, teeny-tiny weddings are known as nano weddings, or if amoebas are involved. But a recent article in The Irish Examiner pooh-poohed such size-oriented lingo:

Event stylist Amy Daunt says that she prefers the term intimate than micro. "I really feel that your wedding day shouldn't feel like a micro version of a wedding day because it is one of the most important days in your life," she says. "Intimate weddings have always been here in Ireland and will probably become more popular now as couples realise you can still have a beautiful wedding day but on a smaller scale when considering your guest numbers."

Calling small groups intimate isn't new, but I feel this term is just getting started. There are oodles of smallish groups, people, and stuff that could use a rebrand.

Ant-Man sounds so puny, even as he surfs the quantum realm. He could enjoy more confidence as Intimate-Man.

Nanobots, whatever they do, sound scary, so maybe they would be easier to swallow, so to speak, as Intimate-Bots.

And if Americans worry that their collective IQ is a bit, shall we say, meager, then we can replace the unkind term low IQ with intimate IQ.

I feel like my IQ has become far more intimate in the past year. It's possible my brain has been replaced with a scented candle. But I still have enough brain cells to rub together to collect euphemisms, point at them, and say "Ha!" Sometimes that's enough.

alt tails
If your vestigial tail is getting you down, why not try an alt tail? Hold on, I may have misunderstood this term. Here's a clarification from Forbes:

Because each NOPE cocktail contains real fruit juice, has actual herbs, and offers a complex taste, Shaeffer prefers the term "alt tails" or "alternative cocktails," rather than mocktails or sober sodas – because they'e not just flavored, carbonated sugar water.

Ah, that kind of tail. You have to admire the optimism of a company that brands their product as NOPE, though I reckon providing alcohol-free drinky-poos is probably a good thing, since the covid age must surely be straining the American liver to its breaking point (not that I, a Captain America-like beacon of morality and temperance, would know anything about that). So maybe I'll try an alt tail and pretend it doesn't sound like something located near my dog's butt.

Speaking of booze, none is classier or more celebratory than champagne for some reason. But even this sparkling depressant can attract malarkey, as explained in this article for depressant connoisseurs:

Non-vintage Champagne — the Champagne trade often prefers the term "multi-vintage" — is the overwhelming majority of what you see in stores. Champagne houses make wine every year, but in order to have a house style, so that the wine tastes similar every year despite vintage variation, they blend wines from several vintages together. This is different from vintage Champagne, which is usually more expensive. Vintage Champagne is what it sounds like: all of the grapes come from that year.

Grapes aside, this could be a cute way to avoid stating your age if you're succumbing to the ravages of age, like moi. I hate to admit I'm an almost-50-year-old dweeb, but I'm psyched to be a multi-vintage gentleman.

In other non-honest lexical news, I spied an interesting word choice on the CBC's website, regarding our omnipresent face friends, masks:

While the masks are technically expired, he said, he prefers the term "non-current" because "the shelf life of these masks go far beyond the labelled best before date."

It's good to know that some masks have a longer shelf life than advertised, but who knows where this lingo could lead? Non-current milk sounds even more disgusting than current milk, and I wouldn't discuss the matter with a non-currently licensed doctor.

Finally, I hope you're not trapped in a megacycle. As Business Insider reported, regarding Jeff Bezos' latest scheme to make enough finally to finally kill Superman::

The workers were told in January that the DCH1 warehouse, a last-mile delivery station in Chicago, would be closed down, and they could begin working what's known as a "megacycle" shift at a different location, the group said. The shift starts at 1:20 a.m. and lasts until 11:50 a.m. Motherboard was the first to report the news.

Shame on our Amazon overlords for this term, which sounds like some kind of monster truck version of a bike, but actually represents the human monster of Bezos crushing his own employees. An honest name would be death shift.

Let's hope unionization at Amazon catches on. That would put the kibosh on megacycles and other mega-malarkey. You can't trust businesses to do the right thing on their own — they generally have an intimate moral compass.

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Mark Peters is a language columnist, lexicographer, and humorist who has written for Esquire, The Funny Times, New Scientist, Psychology Today, Salon, and Slate. He contributes to OUPblog and writes the Best Joke Ever column for McSweeney's. You can read Mark's own jokes on Twitter, such as, "I play by my own rules, which is probably why no one comes to my board game parties anymore." Click here to read more articles by Mark Peters.