Dear Babe,

I moved to SF not long ago and have started dating a guy who grew up here. He’s nice and he seems pretty smart but he keeps using the word “dude”. It makes him sound so stupid, and really, how could anyone who uses that word not be stupid? What gives?

Disgusted by Dude

Dear Disgusted by Dude,

The word “dude” is a horrible shame that penetrates the language of all who grow up in California. As a kid you are determined to never use that stupid word but then, somewhere in high school usually, you start using it as a joke, to make fun of the dorks who really use it. And then you are lost. It sticks and you can never get rid of it. I actively hated the word “dude” but joking around with it my junior year ruined me and now I call my husband “dude” pretty much everyday.

Sometimes I think the word “dude” was planted in our language by the conservative branch of our government. You see, they’re generally anti-California, and littering our speech with the word “dude” makes us easy to recognize.

I’m not saying your guy is not stupid. All I’m saying is that he’s from California and the word “dude” alone cannot be used as an indicator of anything other than his origin. It’s going to take time and patience to find out if he’s stupid. During which time you risk the chance of picking up the use of the world “dude”.

Be careful and never let down your guard.


Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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