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I RECENTLY heard the demographic descriptor Henry, as in High Earner Not Rich Yet, and this got me thinking of more familiar terms, which in turn led me to some Internet sleuthing.
What follows is my compendium and I encourage you to add your favorites.
I suspect the first I knew were Townies and Gownies, the psychographic distinction between those living in a college environment and those actually attending the college. I was a gownie in Worcester, Massachusetts, when I attended WPI. I didn’t even talk like the townies therah.
Related to townies and gownies were the Preppies who attended prep schools as opposed to those of us mixing it up in public schools. I doubt we were called Publies, at least not to our faces.
Hippies flourished in the 1960s. The term’s etymology traces from hipster, which in turn described one who was hip, or hep, these last two terms arising from the jazz culture of the 1940s and 1950s.
Yippies were politically active hippies. The term arose in 1967, when Abbie Hoffman formed the Youth International Party. According to Wikipedia, the Y.I.P. fostered Libertarian socialism, Anarcho-communism, Green anarchism, and Free love. Detractors called it “Groucho Marxism.”
Trippies were a mind-loose offshoot of hippies experimenting with peyote cacti, aka mesc; psilocybin, aka shrooms; or lysergic acid diethylamide, aka LSD.
Once youth left the homestead, their thankless parents possibly joined the Dinkies, Dual Income No Kids. One assumes that some of these parents may also have been Bippies, as in Beautiful People.
This last term is not to be confused with Professional Beauties, P.B.s as they were known in Edwardian England: attractive young things invited seemingly everywhere. Lots of P.B.s were rich American heiresses, and are you surprised?
Yuppies were Young Upwardly Mobile Professionals who perhaps didn’t like the sound of the more correctly formed term Yumpies. Or it’s possible they were actually Young Urban Professionals.
Nimbys exist to this day. They may not mind one thing or another, but Not In My Backyard. This hypocritical stance has made the term nimby something of a pejorative.
A particularly radical nimby is termed a Banana, as in Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone/Anything. A banana is related to a Sobby, , as in Some Other #&%$’s Backyard.
To conclude on a note of youthful innocence, there are the Tweenies. Not to be confused with the Brit BAFTA-winning pre-schooler TV show, these tweenies are kids approaching teenage years, but not quite there. I suspect, for example, they still don’t mind being seen in the company of their bippies. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2018