Do you belong to the PRE-DUDE or POST-DUDE generation? At 36, I firmly belong to the generation which used the Dude-word sparingly, using it to describe boys who had real, genuine, rebellious ATTITUDE.
But this century manufactures attitude along with Yankee baseball caps (worn wrong way around), low-slung jeans (worn with chaddi compulsorily showing), and cheeky-slogan T-shirts. And so, we have a serious case of DUDE-CLONING. Every male under the age of twenty-five is either a cool dude or trying to be one. And the funny thing is, these clones do not appear to have distinctive names of their own, they are all called, you guessed it, DUDE.
Sample this: standing at a slow-moving queue at an up-market garment store, I observed two such clones talking to each other. They were carrying shopping bags full of, presumably, even more slogan-tees, low-waist jeans and baseball caps.
“Hey, dude, didja get good stuff?”
“Not really, dude, these sales are a total rip-off.”
“Y’know, dude, you’re right, dude.” And so on and so on …blah…blah…blah…Dude…blah…blah..Dude. Period. Dude.
Till they came to the payment counter. Then the smartly-dressed shop assistant suddenly became a clone as well, because these young dudes called out, “Lemme take my card out. Dude. Why’s the line so slow today? Dude? Can you pack that separately, Dude?”
The dictionary tells me that the earliest Dude was spotted in 1883 in New York. That limited-edition dude was a “man extremely fastidious in dress and manner.” Well, today’s dude has made fastidious sloppiness his fashion statement. And, he has two more added qualifications – an extremely limited vocabulary (consisting mainly of dude, and a dozen or so words like, cool, yeah, chill, and the like), and a tendency to forget first names (otherwise why will all the Raj-s and Rahuls call each other Dude?). In fact, so linguistically-challenged are they that I was almost convinced that the dude-species must have evolved from Dud. Or D-u-h?
P.S: Any Dude reading this post can dismiss it as the rant of a typical Aunty. Aunties and Dudes, divided by gender and generation, have always been on opposing sides, and never the twain shall meet. Hopefully.