Thursday, January 13, 2011

Swag & Tell

Something that's peaked my interest lately is the idea and practice of swagger. Normally a word attributed to certain  males, I found myself being jealous of those given the title. As there are ample examples of men with swag, the voice in my head was whining "Not fair! I wanna have swag too!" Keeping in mind the voice sounding something akin to an impish toddler crossed with Fran Drescher.

This led to a search for a word that could encompass the feminine form of swag. Admittedly, I've probably spent too much time googling for answers and subjecting poor Clara to conversations regarding it. Still, I had to find an answer.

What I've found is that there are two different kinds of swagger. The first one being, as Clara put it, "[...]swagger as it has come to mean to the modern, rap culture, which I think looks like a bad imitation of how an ape walks. And that is rather an insult to apes, isn't it? Men who "swagger" nowadays are just dirt bags who think that walking like one leg is shorter than the other makes them look cool. Well, guys, it doesn't. It makes you look like a gimp."

The second kind is a little more beguiling. In my mind it means to have an aura of unwavering confidence in oneself and ones abilities. Also, it pulls from that confidence a sense of style that kicks it up a notch from the norm.  A guy who has varied interests as well as talents and can display them in such a way as not to come off as a dirt bag. Someone who can stay out all night but still show up for work the next morning in suit and bow tie. A 2011 Mad Men with a dash of class, if you will. 

Sounds a bit more appetizing doesn't it? For the sake of argument I'm going with the second definition. 

In looking for a fitting, ladylike descriptor I found this jazzy little write-up. The author suggests Cadence be the adjective of choice. While I agree with most of what is said in the article, I take umbrage with the idea that a cadence only applies to women out on the town clubbing and looking for a little 'action'. Certainly there is a word for the rest of us? 

In the end, what comes to my mind is a scene from one of my favorite movies, Some Like it Hot. Where Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon's characters are entranced by Marilyn Monroe's *ahem* cadence.  (Check it out here.) 

So what do you think? Is cadence a fitting enough word? Or can we do better? ;)


  1. May I just applaud you on the artful way you changed my descriptive noun to something more PG.

    The ancient Greeks had several words for swagger, and actually they are very close to my summation of the practice. I am, of course, still looking for the perfect word and when I find it I will let you know post haste!

  2. it's ,look at that walk,now that's some moves,and finally, look at that swing,(wouldn't find that on the porch)yeah,Swing.
    Moskeeto Jack

  3. When most, if not all of my self confidence used to come from my woodworking and "the shop", someone near and dear told me that I swaggered in my dirty bluejeans and workboots. It was not meant as a compliment. It hurt. Apparently, women shouldn't swagger, they should "mince".

  4. It's a sad, sad world to live in when some men can't handle the swagger. I'm sorry someone was so hurtful to you. If I'd have been there I would have whooped him! Or turned him into 'mince'meat! ;)

  5. Oh my! Women do not mince. Overtly camp men do. c.f. Julian Clary.

    Swagger is what John wayne did, a slight bowleg, more of a shuffle or a rocking motion than an actual walking motion.

    I'm not sure that I would have interpreted this as confidence so much as too much time on a horse?

  6. There's nothing like a Cowboy Swagger. Of which John Wayne is king. After re-watching "Hidalgo" last night I'm pretty sure Viggo Mortensen could be the runner up.