The Adventures of Shen and ShaSha: A "Ratchet" Teaching Moment

17.8.12 ShaSha LaPerf 10 Comments

So sometime last year I wrote about having BT. It's not something I think about too much, but an amusing moment with Shen recently reminded me of just how strong my BT is from time to time.

And it started with one word: ratchet.
I'm not sure if this is a new term, but I didn't start hearing people use it until a few months ago on a few blogs and FB. LOL I figured some of it was because I was "old" not and didn't work with high schoolers anymore; I usually learned about new things from them.

Yet as soon as I heard the word, I knew what it would refer to even without much context.

On the other hand, this is what Shen thought it referred to:

Ratchet from Transformers Generation 1.
To be fair, Shen and I are both big Transformers fans so I wasn't that shocked when he thought of the Autobot first. He's also slower on the new words than I am seeing as he mostly looks at sites like The Onion or various sports blog or the occasional Animals Being Dicks sites. LOL I don't think the word is coming up on there that often.

So I tried to give him context by showing him Issa Rae's Ratchetpiece Theater videos (which by the way are damned hilarious). But he still didn't really get it.

And for some reason I had a hard time really putting it into words. It's one of those things that you know and understand immediately when you see and heard it, yet if someone actually asked you to put it in words, it's hard to clearly describe. Shen has a seen a lot of ratchetness, after all he's watched more than enough Bridezillas, Jersey Shore, Maury, Jeremy Kyle, and My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. And I don't think it was the first time he's heard the word before. Over the summer went to a friends house and got into a discussion about ratchet music. And I know I've shown him this video too as an example of ratchet music later on that day:

But not that I think about, he was pretty quiet during that whole discussion.  Knowing him, he was probably checking his phone for info about baseball. >_<

So finally a few days ago we got on the topic again and I found the perfect way to describe ratchet to him.

"Ratchet means a hot mess," I told him.

And he said, "Why didn't you just say that before!?"

Shen isn't always so clueless about things--after all he certainly knew what "hot mess" meant. But he's always a bit of an old man at times, definitely giving very little fucks about what new terms are. And seeing this is the most amount of times I've actually used the word ratchet, I'm probably as clueless as he is about things at times.


  1. There are two comedians Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson who made the Ratchet Girl Anthem, so that's probably why you are hearing/seeing it more.

    1. That's what I thought too. I watched that a while ago, but I'm not too big on using 'terms'. My cousin and sister use that word all the time and it just makes me laugh when they say it. It sounds funny to me.

  2. Don't get me started on "ratchet". These young people...*shakes head*.

    I was determined to boycott the word, but sometimes, it just comes out. I'm old school. I prefer to stick with "triflin'".

    1. LOL I still say triflin too at times though hot mess really, really grew on me.

  3. I remember having to explain what a hooptie was to my boyfriend and his roommate. It was the most awkward moment ever! I try to minimize my use of slang around him so I don't have to explain certain words.

  4. I hate that term! But Issa Rae's videos are funny!!! I watched both of those videos, got only half way through the first one. I felt like I need a bath afterwards.

  5. I think I have been misunderstanding what "ratchet" means. I thought it meant heartlessly cruel, willing to do anything and everything to advance oneself at the expense of others. Now I am realizing I have been clueless. But at least I haven't been going around saying it or anything.

  6. Me Grimlock get confused and bored with new slang.

    Ratchet is like the IT guy; he fixes things with (grumpy) attitude. Swagu is derived from swag, which is short for swagger, or off putting self-indulgence.

    I still remember bama, although I never knew what that meant aside from something mildly derogatory. Similar to biscuithead? Trippin, I suppose, means crazy, but I was never fond of that term. A grip would be an indeterminate, but substantial amount of something.

    Yes, I'm dating myself. Good thing urban dictionary exists for quick reference. And ShaSha!

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