Things that make you wiggle: How to speak Australian, part 5

Or more appropriately, things that make you squirm.

An orthopedic nightmare, but the lack of shape to the sole makes these the ultimate spider killers.

We know that there are a lot of different terms for clothes here. Some are also used in the UK, such as jumper for what Canadians call a sweater. Some are international words but are just less common outside of Australia; an example of this is singlet for a sleeveless shirt. We’ve heard it before, but most Canadians wouldn’t use it. What would we call it…a ‘wife-beater’ probably? Hmm, maybe singlet needs to be more universal. And Australians wear thongs on their feet…pretty much everyone owns a pair of those flat plastic sandals that Canadians call flip-flops. We think they are so common because the lack of tread makes them good for stepping on spiders…Dan’s Ecco sandals have too much tread, so he has to stomp a few times before he hits one…with thongs, you can’t go wrong. So when an Australian says “My thongs are uncomfortable” they aren’t talking about having a wedgie.

When looking online for a picture for here, there were a lot of choices. This one seemed the most appropriate.

Long and useless but kind of entertaining aside here about what Aussies call thong underwear, which is probably g-string. Triple J radio had a great phone-in segment recently about embarrassing moments, and some teenage girl called in to say that her mother hated the fact that she often wore low-slung jeans and a g-string and had a whale tail. The next time she saw it she would make her regret it. So one day her and her mom and some friends were out for lunch and Mom was on her way back from the toilet saw a young woman with her undies showing and thought it was her daughter and decided it was time to make darling daughter rethink the fashion choice and grabbed the back of the undies and yanked. Mom must have been drinking a bit because she pulled hard enough to not only give a wedgie to, but actually rip the skivvies (my term, not what the girl on the radio said) off of, the wrong teenage girl…wrong table, wrong whale tail…Yup, that would be embarrassing to a whole lot of people.

Which segues perfectly the lone word of this version of HTSA.

Skivvies/Skivvy: Most North Americans, if they think of anything when they hear the word skivvies, would probably think of underwear. Probably mens’ underwear (tighty whities) but maybe womens’.  It might not be something that is in common usage, but it is used.  Australians, however, have a word that sounds the same but is spelled different (is that a homonym or a homophone?): skivvy. It means a tight-fitting, long-sleeved shirt. A singlet with sleeves, sort of.

And why does this matter? Well, the parking and security controversy at the Wagga airport wasn’t the biggest news here last week.  There was a change of Wiggle. We (well me…Lisa is still away and I doubt this has made international news so blame me, Dan, for any/all inaccurate or offensive statements in this post) don’t know anything about the Wiggles except that: 1) they are the Australian version of Sharon, Lois, and Bram; 2) they are probably too old to be doing what they are doing; and 3) they formed out of the remnants of a band called The Cockroaches (this bit of info came from a friend).

The Wiggles, from left to right: Joey, Dee Dee, drummer du jour (Tommy, Markie, Richie, Markie again) and Johnny.

But now I know that, besides being the home of Dame Edna, Wagga is also where one of the Wiggles is from. The Wiggles don’t actually use their real names, but just go by their character. They are Spongebog Wiggle, Oscar the Grouchy Wiggle, and Jerome Wiggle (though he’s probably not the original Jerome because giraffes only live 25 years and he was on The Friendly Giant for longer than that) and Toonces the Cat Wiggle (who got the job when he ran over the other prospect for the job, Flippy the Flipping Chihuaha – sorry, the video isn’t allowed on Aussie computers…). OK, I admit it, I don’t actually have a clue who or how many Wiggles, maybe some readers do but don’t bother correcting in the comments please!

Sam and Greg: Hey ho, let's go, Stab 'em in the back now

Anyway, back on track…It is the current/now removed Yellow Wiggle (nee Sam Moran) who is from Wagga. The Daily Advertiser, in a series of recent articles, has been proudly calling him the “Wagga Wiggle” (is that something like Cootamundra Wattle?). But Sam isn’t an original Willy Wagtail Wiggle. He has only been part of the group for about 5 years, replacing original Big Bird Yellow Wiggle (nee Greg Page) who had to step aside  because he had a hernia. Last week, the big headline in the Daily Advertiser was that Greg, the original Trini Kwan Yellow Wiggle was coming back. At first, it seemed like an amicable split, as Aisha Sam was amicably stepping aside. Then it started to hit the Australian media – not just in Wagga, this was in national papers and on national radio – that Sam didn’t really want to leave, but Ol’ Yeller is out of rehab better and ready to come back. It seems Sam was just a fill-in. It has started to become a drama that rivals the Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd ALP leadership issues.

Yellow's two wives high fiving for being married to a Wiggle. Well, they were, but not any more.

It is really hilarious watching this unfold, seeing how much attention it is getting, with the media getting commentary from kids about how they like or dislike the current  yellow wombat Wiggle and don’t want him to leave, and how the Teletubbies Wiggles are all about being nice and friendly and they wouldn’t just dump Laa Laa Sam to bring back Tommie (he was the first drummer) Greg who helped start the multi-million dollar company… So it really seems like it is Greg’s job if he wants it. But then again, Sam did come as part of a package deal; it seems his wife is Dora the Explorer Dorothy the Dinousaur, who was part of the Wiggles’ show. Is Greg worth two characters? Who knows? Who really cares?

To sum this all up, I just have to say that as someone who speaks Canadian first, Australian second, hearing all week about a children’s entertainer who performs in yellow skivvies/skivvys has been a bit creepy!

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About waggadventure

Canadians newly relocated to Australia.
This entry was posted in Australia, cultural differences, language, wagga, wagga wagga, wiggles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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