Thursday, August 26, 2010

But Really Now, What Is A Thrippie?

Let’s Start with the Galore! Part
If you google “galore,” you get bunches of hits (Pets Galore, Mullets Galore, Backgammon Galore, and I’m just skimming the surface here).
I like the sound of “galore,” so reason enough to cling to it (says the poet part of me). But the etymologist in me also grooves: “galore” stems from an Irish Gaelic word for “enough” or “plenty” (which are, in fact, really different words to me, but I like that “galore” has modest roots.)

What is a Thrippie?
My friend Harmony teaches middle and high school, and students once told her they’d labeled her style “indie.” We weren’t entirely sure what that meant, but the connotations were positive: independent, alternative, nonconformist, quirky.

Until I met my friend Harmony, I’d never had a friend who exulted like I do in Big Lots value-pack underwear or dented, discounted cans of diced tomatoes. One sunny afternoon in Utah, on the way to Thrift Town, we debated the proper term to describe the look we were going for with our recreational bargain-hunting:

Thrifty + Indie = Thrindie? Like an ancient Greek poetic form?
Thrifty + Yuppie= Thruppie? Slang for a particular kind of vomit, say the kind induced from the wares of a good food cart gone bad? And, what’s more, do yuppies even exist anymore unless preserved in the amber of the 1980s?
Thrifty+Teacher=Threacher? Sounds like 1. A Zombie’s nerdy, distant cousin with whom he’s required to exchange Christmas presents  even though he and Threacher haven’t seen each other in person for like three years and have approximately zero common interests. 2. Featured in venues like the Harriet Carter catalog, a plastic device with a grippy thing or a claw at the end that extends your reach, so you can adjust someone’s Snuggie from across the room, or nudge the Roomba when it gets stuck under the armchair.
I don’t think of myself as hippie, or rather only 1/3 hippie. I have owned more than one pair of Birkenstocks, and many bandanas, and not so long ago a corduroy sweepy spangled Earth mother skirt that I actually taught a real class in. I heart patchouli. I went to Burning Man once.

With this term, I’m banking on my hippie cred. Maybe hippie is like the masculine plural nouns of romance languages—as one chico can grammatically override 100 chicas, so a little bit of hippie cancels out the suit I bought at Nordstrom.

So Thrippie it is, until I think of a better label. If I’ve learned nothing else as an English major three times over, it’s that language is a flimsy tool, but it’s one of the best we’ve got. 


  1. i like the "galore" part. it sounds like galamourous. which, for some reason, reminds me of kittens.

  2. A little bit of hip goes a long way these days. :)

    And by that, I reclaim Hip from the Hippie, wrenching it from the clutches of Hip as in Hipster, which is clearly an amalgamation of Emo and nostalgia for the LL bean of the 1990s: skinny jeans meet your dad's flannel.