Lucy Mangan discusses fame, scooters, and all things giraffey in her new blog

I once had a friend who, when someone asked her whether she would like to be famous, replied ‘I’d like to be famous enough to be on Desert Island Discs.’ I like that. I like having friends who even when they are dreaming big, dream small. It’s very restful. But for those of you with greater ambitions – or with more greatly ambitious friends – harriet272 has provided a very useful shorthand for your life plan; you aim – unless you are Indonesian, perhaps, or southern Indian where the practice is relatively common – to be ‘monomynous’ – that is, known by a single name. In other words, you plan to become as famous as Madonna, Beyonce, Prince (now that he is no longer a symbol – which move took him across the line from monomynity to monomania), Sting, Cher or, of course, Lulu. And good luck to you all.

Cooldude has submitted ‘scooterist’ – a child or person whose transportation of choice is the scooter – which I think has the right consonant hiss about it to convey the disproportionate fury felt by anyone encountering anyone over the age of three who has made this vehicle one of his lifestyle choices. Listen: “Goddamn scooterist!” “Officer, I am lying in the gutter breathing my last because I was fatally enraged by a scooterist. Give my love to my family and tell them I have a second one in Swindon.” Or “Get back here, scooterist scum! I’m going to break your face.” You see?

Even more helpful – to me at least – was Alaap’s contribution to this week’s polysyllabic pool; ‘contradictarian’. It means ‘someone who specialises in contradicting others’. It’s possible that ‘specialising’ means it is a term intended for people like barristers, who do it for a living but if so I would like to stretch the definition to include those for whom it is writ in their DNA, for whom the practice is as natural and ceaseless as breathing. Because then it will also mean that I now have a way of describing my husband which doesn’t rely on a lot of expletive-based circumlocution (which is very cathartic, but not much help if you are trying to explain him to a stranger at a party, say, or a nun).


I’m not sure that ‘giraffey’, courtesy of Dcbparks and meaning ‘to act in a manner similar to a giraffe – languid, slow, relaxed’ is going to come in quite so handy, to be honest. This may in part be prejudice (adding a ‘-y’ to an animal’s name to make an adjective is a bit sloth-y, I reckon) but it’s mainly down to the fact that ‘languid, slow and relaxed’ giraffes may be, but it’s not the first set of characteristics you associated them with, is it? If you told me someone was a bit ‘giraffey’ I’d think they were tall, leggy and – most of all – neck-y. Yes, my first thought would very much be that s/he would be someone who – even for a tall, leggy person – had an extremely long neck. It would mostly be about the neck for me, and I suspect for most other casual listeners too. I think, if ‘sloth’ derivatives are going too far, maybe ‘marsupially’ could be the compromise. “Husband, please go away. You are behaving particularly unmarsupially this evening and, as I was run over by a goddamn scooterist this afternoon, I am unwilling to deal.”

Finally, there’s ‘impostor syndrome’, from hdbarazy – ‘chronic self-doubt and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.’ There’s already a name for this Mr B – it’s called ‘life’ and there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it.

Thanks, all – keep your candidates coming. I look forward to next time.

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