There needs to me something like that online map of what parts of the country people use soda vs. pop vs. coke, only about “guy” vs. “dude” and instead of geography, age.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

12 thoughts on “dude”

  1. Oh Tina, I do hope your efforts are in vain. Sigh. I guess it is an age thing. Admittedly, I am old. But when someone calls me “dude” I want to say, “Do I seriously look like a man??” (by the way, I am a woman who by all accounts could never be mistaken for a man). All I can think about (besides stoned surfers in Santa Cruz … sorry belle) are scruffy cowboys, you know, “dudes” from “dude ranches.” Again, I am old; I grew up watching “Bonanza.” I do not have the same response to “guy” (though these words are not really analogous, e.g., no one would ever say, “So, guy, what do you think about … ” though I often hear from certain young people, “So, dude, what do you think about … x, y, or z”).


  2. Dude! (I lived in Santa Cruz awhile…I can say that!) Here is a link I check out before moving (sadly a lot the last few years)….helps with the Pop/Soda issue.


  3. Excellent idea, dude. I’m a “dude” user, though I don’t think I started using it regularly until my mid-20s. One of my friends/colleagues is an LA native, so she comes by her dudeification naturally (I’m a KY native, I have no excuse).

    On a related note, I got busted by a new colleague for saying “you guys” when referring to a group that included both men and women. Now, I’m a “y’all” user (KY again), but I cut down on that after getting tired of hearing jokes about it. “Youse” doesn’t work for me and “you all” sounds stiff. Help?


  4. Dave, I first heard “you guys” to refer to a mixed-sex group back in the sixties. The speaker was a girl from Indiana, and at the time I thought it provincial. Now it’s everywhere. I hear girls addressing a group of girls as “you guys.” (It still doesn’t work in the singular.)

    I never hear “dude” in plural, only the singular, and I’d guess that it followed a similar transition from male to unisex. I’d also be curious as to the racial distribution, not just the geographic. I first heard “dude” back in the 60s. A young, black co-worker on a summer job (cleaning rugs in people’s houses) asked, “How many rooms did that dude have in his crib?” But my impression is that of late blacks have been abandoning it.


  5. I can’t map it, but I’m pretty sure that using dude to describe a person (or dudes to describe several people) is different from using “Dude!” as an expletive, and different demographics do each. My daughter says “Dude!” pretty often when she is pleased about something, but I have never heard her describe another person (of any gender, singular or plural) as a dude or dudes.

    I say “you guys” for groups of people of any gender (including all female) all the time; I was not in the midwest in the sixties, but I’m of the right age to have picked it up in the seventies.


  6. I believe once in 2003 when I found out Jeremy’s methods class would be held on Thursday nights, I said to him, “Dude, you’re scheduling class during Must See TV?” And Jeremy just stood there for a second. “Well, it was the only time–Did you just call me… dude?”

    I also was one of the only people to refer to “The Pigeon Dude.” I was told by a few exasperated people that it was “The Pigeon GUY.” Dude, sorry. (Hi Colin, if you’re out there. No disrespect intended.)


  7. Dude, Colin was totally the Pigeon Guy. And, I think it is pretty cool — how many of the rest of us are so known for our work?

    Anyway — Dude, what is wrong with The University of Cannibas and Casual Sex? My nephew just told me this is the nickname for UCSC among college-seekers. And, it is where I went – GO SLUGS!!


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