January 1, 2004
Only In Print
So, I recently became aware of the fact that poodle skirts are so named because they, in fact, have poodles on them. It seems, in retrospect, to be relatively obvious, but for some reason I had always assumed that it was just the style of skirt, not the decoration thereof. You know, like a Zoot Suit, or a Sport Coat (someone please confirm that Zoot Suits do not actually have little Zoots on them somewhere).
This raises two questions in my mind. The first is what the hell possesed an entire generation to wear clothes with pictures of little dogs on them, a practice that was evidently so common that they became known by a common name. And why poodles? Did designers experiment with other dogs, and somehow poodles won out? (I mean, they deserve to win something, given their station in life, but still) Could we find early evidence of, say, a dachshund skirt if we were to rummage through old newsreel footage or our parents’ closets?
And the second question: How long is it going to be before I stop having these moments where I’ve read or heard a term a thousand times, but always misunderstood it. I realize that I lead a disconnected life; I’m almost always more likely to read about something than experience it. But recently I’ve been feeling it even more.
Case in point: “segue”
I had certainly heard the word spoken before, and I’m sure I must have read it too, but it was only recently that I was reading something out loud and butchered it (I think I made it rhyme with “Hague,” which I just realized is another word that I’ve only ever read, so that probably doesn’t help much), and someone had to point out that, uhm, Ian, it’s actually pronounced not like a moron.
I had no idea.