Before Christmas I was going through page proofs for I’M NOT HER and I came across a note from my editor. One of the female characters was talking to another female about a boy and said, “I think he has the hots for you.”
My editor wrote a comment asking if this expression was dated. I think my cheeks started to burn and then I giggled out loud. Dated! Me?? Well, not exactly me per se, my character- but she was saying something that I put in her mouth. And it was DATED!
Once upon a time I was cool? OMG. Is cool dated too?? OMG. I just thought about how cool I was. And that has to make me totally uncool. It’s a vicious circle this being dated thing.
It’s not like I just realized that my teen years are well behind me, but I thought I still had it. Writing for teens, eavesdropping on teens, thinking I was still “in the know” But, “hots” is something I would have said as a teen and when it was pointed out in black and white- that it is now considered “dated” I realized, Oh my God. I AM DATED.
So I brought it up with some friends who like me because I am older than them and therefore make them feel younger. They laughed when I told them I had to ask for an opinion from parents with teens and a teen boy said, “HOTS? I would never say that. That is lame.”
So then we started talking about what our kids say these days. Our kids are ten years old and younger mind you, but they do manage to filter down some of the slang (sans profanity for a few more years.)
I understand why editors tell us to keep slang out of our books, because it quickly dates them. But sometimes, like “hots” it slips in without even realizing it’s not said anymore. All I can say is thank god for editors. And soon enough my son will be a teen, and I’ll have an urban dictionary right in my home.