A few weeks ago, I heard a young man in the drug store refer to a girl as a THOT for the first time.
To be exact, he pointed toward a young woman one shopping aisle over and said to his friend, “That THOT over there—the one with the big ass booty—she got a baby by my cousin.” She then walked over to him and spoke—apparently she had heard him.
I was confused.
I repeated the word in my head and asked myself several times if perhaps he said something that rhymed with THOT and that I had misheard him—maybe hot or tot. Autobot? (You know, like in the Transformer movies. I can’t be the only grown up who still loves the Transformers. Am I?) I didn’t want to believe that I’m getting older and further removed from hip lingo than I’d initially realized. But THOT? That didn’t make sense. Still, I was sure that’s the word I’d heard.
It wasn’t until I reached the check-out counter and was looking in the face of a polite girl, maybe seventeen or eighteen years old, who’d just laughed jovially with the young men as she rang up their purchase a few folks ahead of me. I asked her plainly: What’s a THOT?
She looked down like she didn’t hear me, and at first I thought that maybe she hadn’t, and then she looked into my eyes and said that she couldn’t tell me.
“Why not?” I demanded to know.
“Because I’m embarrassed. I can’t say those words to you.”
“How can you offend me when I’m the one who asked you the question?”
“Are you sure you won’t get mad?”
“Of course.” By this time, I thought the girl to be silly or slow.
“It means That Ho (whore) Over There,” she said with a nervous giggle.
“What?!” I realized that I was talking too loud because other people in line turned to look at me like I was the one who was silly or slow.
She repeated herself.
I was done. I grabbed my receipt from her and walked out of the store, only to remember that I left the nail polish remover and bottled water that I’d just paid for at the counter. I went back to collect my items before bolting out of there again.
When I got sat down in my car and turned on the engine, I had a million questions that I wanted to ask nobody in particular. Questions like, who made that word up? Why would he call her that? Why in the hell would she answer? Is that what she’s always thought of herself, or did she start to see herself as a THOT after she had been called it for so long? And just because someone says something, does that make it true? Well who made it true? Him when he said it? Or her when she answered?
That night, I made a list of lessons to teach the children that I mentor. It’s a big list with long talking points.
Call me outdated after all. I’m fine with that.