On the Sublimity of “Dude”

I’m so pleased that even as my generation (the latter part of Gen X) has grown up, many of us continue to use “dude” regularly. I have friends and family that do shudder at the habit, but I argue there are many wonderful qualities to this word.

  • It conveys casual affability at home & the workplace. I like to dress and write professionally, but speak casually, even as a department head. Professionalism need not be stuffy or formal: my closet of non-traditional blazers and shirts attest to that principle.
  • It’s multipurpose. With this single word and a range of tone, I can say: that’s awesome, you won’t believe this, I agree with you, happy to see you, that’s horrifying… You get the idea.
  • It keeps me in touch with my California roots. Well, I’m joking here, but only a little. My West Coast pals do tend to seem a bit more relaxed, less formal, and that’s my personal style. It goes back to the first point, that “casual” doesn’t have to mean sloppy or ignorant.

But then, this is coming from a gal who once spent three weeks in line for Star Wars, while working and studying remotely. It’s okay if you don’t take me seriously.


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