Skip to main content


The 10th Anniversary of "Totes"


Totes.

It's not just a line of umbrellas, gloves, and slippers found at JCPenney.

The abbreviation of "totally" has permeated the lexicon, popping up in iChats, becoming a part of movie catchphrases (I Love You Man's "Totes magotes"), and peppering everyday conversations between rather intelligent individuals.

According to Urban Dictionary:

The most obvious advantage of using this word is the time saved. Data collected at a prestigious university found that every syllable spoken takes approximately 0.14 seconds. The same prestigious university also found that the average valley girl says the word totally around 190 times a day. If you do the math, the average time saved by using the word totes as opposed to totally would save 26.6 seconds a day! Over the course of a year that adds up to 2.7 hours!

It has been commonly assumed that the word originated from teenage girls, particularly those of the Valley kind, but I can proudly tell my grandchildren that I was there to witness the birth of "totes" in the early aughts (2004, to be exact). It didn't start with some bubble-headed 16-year-old cheerleader from Burbank; it began with -- who else -- the gays. Lest we forget the wise words of Sex and the City's Samantha Jones: "First come the gays, then the girls, then the industry."

My friend Doug once lived in quaint house off Crescent Heights Boulevard here in Los Angeles with three roommates. The 3-bedroom villa (and guesthouse out back) soon earned the nickname Maryland Manor, simply because it was located on Maryland Drive...and four self-proclaimed "Marys" happened to live there.

One of Doug's roommates, Jim, had abbreviations for nearly every polysyllabic word in the English language. His dialogue style rivaled that of the most quick-witted adolescent ever created by Ryan Murphy. Slightly bitchy with a dash of snobbery, but all in good fun.

Whenever I would drop by for a visit -- be it a barbecue, Halloween party, or a Desperate Housewives viewing party -- Jim would always manage to pepper his dialogue with "totes," usually in agreement with whatever petty subject that was being discussed around the island of their "totes gorge" (totally gorgeous) renovated kitchen.

Shall we make reservations at AOC tonight? Totes.
Isn't this shirt I got at Club Monaco so cute? Totes.
Would you like a glass of riesling out on the lanai? Totes.

An outsider probably would have shuddered at the pretension and vapidity of it all. But the fact of the matter is that "totes" leaked out into the world. I used it while visiting a friend in Boston during the following winter, and she loved it, making a mental note to include it in her own conversations (the East Coast would never be the same). Cut to nearly a decade later, and we're now seeing James Earl Jones uttering the word in national ad for Sprint.


"Totes" even registers in Google's dictionary (go ahead and type it in). It's all over. It has finally reached "household name" status, and I couldn't be prouder to have been present during its inception.

Sure, I should be prouder of other things in my life, and if that makes me sad, trivial and pathetic, then so be it.

Totes sad, trivial and pathetic.

@TheFirstEcho

Comments

Popular posts from this blog


13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many.

Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months (and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism)...

1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff, The Golden Palace), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death.

2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-themed restauran…

Dream Casting the New "Death on the Nile"

Earlier this year, when the trailer for the most recent Murder on the Orient Express remake was dropped, I was hoping that someone at 20th Century Fox would have the foresight to concoct an Agatha Christie Cinematic Universe. After all, this is the world we now live in -- where every property coveted by a major studio must have the potential to be milked for all it's worth. Plus, as a former child raised by an Agatha Christie fan, I am somewhat familiar with this world, and experiencing new renditions of these titles as an adult is exciting.

And now that Kenneth Branagh's version of the Hercule Poirot mystery has been released (and raking in $150 million-and-counting worldwide), it seems like my prayers are being answered. The studio is going ahead with a "sequel" in the form of a remake of Death on the Nile, another death-filled destination about the Belgian detective taking a river cruise in Egypt and coming across another corpse and another group of suspects.

The…

Lori Loughlin Reunites with Daughter Olivia Jade: A Dramatization

The following is purely speculative for the purposes of our general entertainment and my possible employment to write the inevitable HBO/Hulu/Netflix/Ryan Murphy limited series...



EXT. THE MOSSIMO ESTATE - DAY

A black SUV makes its way through a throng of news vans and a mob of reporters. Cameras flash. A proverbial media circus. The SUV pulls up to the gate as it slowly opens.


EXT. THE MOSSIMO COURTYARD - CONTINUOUS

The SUV makes its way up the driveway and stops. A shaken LORI steps out of the car. She's clearly had a rough night and glances up at the house, preparing herself for what's to come. Her assistant, RILEY, 27, an overly groomed twunk running on three Venti lattes, is right there with her. 

He attempts to guide her to the door, but she waves him away.


INT. THE MOSSIMO ESTATE - FOYER

Lori and Riley enter the quiet house, the outside chaos suddenly muted. No one is there to greet them.


RILEY She should be upstairs in her room.
LORI And Isabella?
Riley solemnly shakes his head.
Lo…