Not sure if you belong to Gen X or Gen Y? Take my patented “Dude test” by asking yourself whether girls can and should refer to each other as “dudes”
You see, when I was in high school in the early 1980’s, females commonly referred to each other as “guys” but never as “dudes”.
This seems odd to me now, because “guy” appears to have even more of a gender association than “dude” and for our parents, raised on Frank Loesser’s 1950’s culture (see “Guys and Dolls”), our generation must have seemed odd. But, I digress.
Back in the day, this might have been a typical conversation between two “Valley Girls” (you may need to Google that term if you are a Millennial):
SIMULATED DIALOGUE (circa 1984):
“Hey guys! Let’s go to the mall to score some shoulder pads and bangles. Oh-my-gawd, I would KILL for a a hot dog on a stick!”
To recap, in the 1980’s, “dude” had a strong gender connotation, as evidenced by the infrequently-used and awkward female equivalent, “dude-ette”.
In contrast, amongst Gen Y or Millennials, who were born in the 1980’s and onward, I’ve noted that the females have no detectable irony when referring to each other as “dudes”.
SIMULATED DIALOGUE (circa 2014):
“Dudes, let’s go to the mall to score some shoulder pads and bangles for my parents’ sick ’80s party. They are gonna have a photo booth AND an open bar. OMG, I could totes ‘slap-a-b’ for a red velvet right about now.”
——————– The next generation’s slang? ———————
If you are female and you call your fellow non-fellows “bros”, then you are probably just doing too much Cross-Fit and/or anabolic steroids. That is not a thing, yet. Please stop.
For those interested in educating their culturally-deprived children about the Camelot of high culture that we can now appreciate as the 1980s, Kevin Bacon’s YouTube video will suffice (assuming your have not irreversibly damaged their irony-bones with High Fructose Corn Syrup and Ritalin).