Butters – that was a word one of my young ‘friends’ used on Facebook. Luckily another ‘friend’ didn’t know what she meant either, and she wasn’t too cool to explain – Ugly. She had a nice line – every time a guy gets rejected, the girl is either butters or a lesbian?
Butters – is it derived from the American slang butt? But butts are not ugly, they are a beautifully rounded piece of body, for many they are part of the shallow outward attraction for both men and women. I remember that in the seemingly endless life drawing I did the backside/arse/butt/bottom was lovely to draw, not awkward and angular like the hands or feet, but a glowing peach of a body part which could be shaded to find the shape.
I see from an online urban dictionary it means ugly and fat. Is fat so ugly? Marylyn Monroe and many other pre 60’s stars were at least a size 12, that today can be considered fat. Crazy! It is so easy to break people’s confidence, especially in the cattle market of teenage life when feelings are heightened. I know for many years as a teenager I thought I was very ugly then I got to a point and just didn’t care, I am what I am (cue Shirley Bassey in your head for the rest of the day!).
South Park has a character called Butters, it’s not a programme I’ve ever taken to, maybe when I was 14 I would have, but now it just seems a bit puerile. I know it is meant to offend, but for me it doesn’t, just leaves me wondering why bother!
In my story Underpainting the sinister character who seems some sort of property gangster is called Frank Butter. I got the name from looking out of my window at a For Sale sign which was for a property company called Butters, without the ‘s’ it had the sharp stabbing no-nonsense sound I was looking for, with the potential for working class roots – butter-maker. I started writing a sequal which sort of ran out of steam and I will one day continue, where all the bad characters (and there are many) are all called Butter, but making spelling their names in Russian, Polish, Serb, Italian and so forth, so they appear different. If anyone knew languages they may realise the intent, the eternal baddie!
How long will ‘butters’ remain in the language, hard to know, probably by the time I get to use it in a piece it will be naff, so gay, fuddy-duddy, unhip, prune-pit, uncool, démodé, old-school and so on. Maybe as writers we should leave off slang unless absolutely necessary unless of course you want to place a person in an era. So I will finish off and go and make some toast ugly…
Today’s photograph is a triptych of photographs I took around midnight last night at my front door when the snow fell, there has been some manipulation to make them clearer and one turned to greyscale.