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Having Trouble with your Thong?

July 15, 2009

Having trouble with your thong? I can relate

When I was twenty I took my first solo trip and travelled up the east coast of Australia. I was on a jump on/jump off bus and was the only Aussie amongst a crowd of mainly Europeans. A group of us spent a fun-filled evening at a Byron Bay hostel drinking, laughing and swimming (well I swam anyway). I was quite inebriated by 3am, so I’d gathered my things and climbed into bed where I had blissful dreams of never going back to the real world. At 7am I was suddenly awoken and pushed out the door by one of the girl’s in my dorm. I stumbled on the bus, looked down at my stuff and realised I was missing something. ‘Wait,’ I yelled to the busload of foreigners, ‘I’ve left my thong by the pool.’ Scrambling of a bus full of smirking faces, giggles and gossip, I only realised what was going on when I reboarded with my left ‘shoe’ and a receipt of laughter. It was then I discovered not everyone refers to their Havianas as thongs.

Thongs (as in shoewear) are also known as jandals, sandals and flip flops. A thong (as in the underwear to feel sexy or hide a vpl) are called g-strings in oz. Thongs have caused me trouble and clearly I don’t mean the object but the linguistics. Well, maybe the object too but that’s not a story for this blog post 😉

Okay, there are some differing word usages between the Poms and the Aussies that don’t irk me. It makes sense to have chips with your fish and crisps as a snack opposed to having hot chips and chips. The latter is even embarrassing to explain to an English person:

‘Ah, in Australia we don’t say chips and crisps we just have chips but we have hot chips and no, we don’t call the other kind cold chips, they’re just chips. Although sometimes we just refer to hot chips as chips and yeah, maybe it does get a tad confusing but we work it out.’

Boy is that painful or what? Other words are an easy transition: sweets or candy instead of lollies, a duvet replaces doona, plaster for band aid. No biggie. But the freaking thong I struggle with. ‘Flip flops’ sounds like something a kid would say along with moo cow and poo poo. So I have been sticking to my guns and using the good ol’ Aussie thong when discussing shoes … until last week …

My flatmates and I were chatting about threats our parents used to make if we misbehaved. You know the kind of thing: you will go to bed without dinner, no television, or the dreaded wooden spoon. I explained, ‘my dad had an old rubber thong which he always threatened to smack us with.’ At which point my English flatmate  began to dance around the room pretending to pull down his pants, and in a leering voice joked, ‘come on kids, eat your greens or I’ll get out my rubber thong.’ It was funny but also the last straw. Since then I’ve been saying the term over and over in my head, flip flop flip flop flip flop. I have to get this right if any Brits will be able to take me (or my dad) seriously.

Please let me know of any embarrassing anecdotes you have regarding the thong so I don’t feel so alone here.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    July 30, 2009 10:10 pm

    Heheh love it 🙂

  2. Jenny permalink
    July 30, 2009 10:11 pm

    I liked your thong story – remember experiencing the same. Say ‘Durex’ loudly one day – and watch for the reaction. I was working in Boots once, and yelled to a manager to get me some durex – well the whole place stopped there and then, and waited to see what he came back with. Of course he was an Aussie – so provided me with the necessary ‘sticky … Read moretape’! Another interesting one is ‘Gladwrap’! Ask someone for that one day – and see what they come back with. You will really have them flummoxed. I always thought it was fun. I can imagine the fun in your living room with your flatmate….


  1. Expat Sat: Monique from Australia « Sorry Dad, England is Weird

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