The Devolution of Language or Everybody Wang Chung Tonight ***Updated with Definition

Today’s workday provided a perfect illustration of how slang evolves over time—or, perhaps in this case, devolves. My coworkers and I were chatting, and somehow the conversation turned to how to make the best grilled cheese (for the record, the perfect grilled cheese is made with white bread, real butter, and yellow American cheese and served with a side of hand-cut fries, a couple of radioactive green pickles, and a bottle of ketchup). My coworker, a very nice and very clean-cut man in his mid-fifties (think Ned Flanders, only slightly hipper), said, “We used to get this special American cheese. It had some kind of wang, and it was wrapped in plastic.”

What now? Wang? My younger coworker and I were obviously speaking the same English here, because we just looked at each other, mouthed the words “Wang cheese? Eeeew!” and collapsed into laughter. All I could envision was a cross between some kind of disgusting social disease and a condom. The clean cut coworker said, “What? Does wang mean something different now?” Another coworker, a contemporary of the clean-cut one sighed and said, “You can’t say tool anymore either.”

That was it. I put my iPod back on and went back to work. I was not going to discuss the devolution of wang and tool with nice clean-cut men of a certain age.

***A few people asked what I thought wang meant. Well, it’s a slang term for a penis. gives an excellent definition. As to what cheese with wang means, well, I don’t know. I don’t want to know. The thought of it makes me cringe.


7 responses to “The Devolution of Language or Everybody Wang Chung Tonight ***Updated with Definition

  1. I was going to leave a comment…..but then as the “younger co-worker” that was there, I can’t really think of anything appropriate to say.

    The funniest part about the whole thing was that the offending co-worker had NO IDEA what we were laughing about.

    It hasn’t helped that you and I have been laughing about it all day and the poor older (very nice) men in our office are quite on the outside….and a bit confused as to our silliness.

  2. We cannot enlighten them. We just can’t. I’m not explaining this one. Wang cheese will just have to be a mystery.

  3. Pete gets it, though

  4. Oh my gosh, that’s fantastic. Wow.

  5. I laughed like a five year old reading that. So now I need to know-what is WANG cheese? I’m still stifling giggles. We sell a couple of Christian fiction books that take place in a town called “Gobbler’s Knob.” I had to bite my hand to keep from laughing until I went outside in the parking lot to howl with laughter.

  6. Gobbler’s Knob? That’s disgusting! Ah yes, the wonderful world of religious fiction. It’s a treasure trove of bad writing, that.

  7. You REALLY do not want to know about wang cheese! Believe me.
    Just found your blog via random blog. It’s so refreshing to find an American with a brain. I’m already a big fan.

    If you fancy a cup of tea next time you’re in England, do pop in. I live within cycling distance of a village called Six Mile Bottom (true)!

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