Friday, February 23, 2007

HEY, UM, DIDN'T JOANIE LOVE CHACHES?:
Notes From Conversations About Jack and Shit, Chin-Up Bars, and Sexual Cockroaches

CHACH (alt. sp. CHATCH) - n. A younger American male who overly relies on shallow and often superficial things to compensate for intellectual deficiencies, sexual inadequacies, basic dignity, socially acceptable etiquette, and/or understanding of human interpersonal relationships.

For better, more creative definitions, check out the various entries at Urban Dictionary or this stellar commentary from an Ohio campus newspaper, The Independent Collegian.

OXFORD, Ohio (ZP) -- I'm not a college student anymore. I haven't been one for many years. And I never attended the Local U., never experienced many of the things students here experience as part of their development from children into men and women.

I moved to Oxford Fucking Ohio not from my parents' house or some boarding school but from a tiny little apartment in Baton Rouge, one with a stellar view of both Tiger Stadium and the State Capitol Building.

I left behind the last of my college years back in the Pelican State. The days of tailgating, of running over to Ichabods for shots after - and often immediately before - Thursday evening classes. I experienced the crawfish boils, the pink flamingos of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras.

I left behind those downtown trips to Tabby's Blues Box (No. 2) and Red Star to drink cheap beer and party 'til Last Call, the ones made while everyone else was cramming for their comprehensive exams, pretending like those silly reference and cataloging classes were actually challenging.

And there was this one very hot waitress from Lake Charles at that sports bar across the street from my apartment, the one with the shirts cut so low you could see her...

Er....yeah.

And that was graduate school. There are days I'm grateful that I didn't start blogging in college.

Needless to say, I have really no idea about what it feels like to be a student here in Oxford, beyond what I've witnessed or what I've been told.

Hell, I just work here, folks. No ties whatsoever, other than the ol' job. I'm a transcontinental foreigner, a single guy who, through some quirk of fate, ended up accepting a position in this little town.

It's not a bad little town, really. Never once worried about getting mugged, never once have I worried about rush hour traffic, and I really enjoy the nice, peaceful summers.

But I've never given a shit about Green Beer Day, a once-a-year annoyance that leaves my facility's plumbing fixtures clogged with vomit and beer shits. I've never celebrated Ghetto Fest, never experienced one of the famed Toasted Rolls in a dining hall, never had to suffer through perhaps one of the most tedious general education schemes known to Man.

I've never even thrown up in The Alley, never worn a Muck Farshall tee to the football stadium, and I've yet to log a single hour passed out on the couches in the ZenFo Pro Library - all seen as benchmarks of the Local U. Experience. I've never cried over rotting water towers or whined to city council about outdoor drinking game bans, either.

Without having been a student here, well, there are several local phenomena for which I have no frame of reference. There are concepts that I can't seem to grasp, no matter how hard I try.

Sadly, the chach concept isn't one of them.

* * * *

The first time I heard the term chach, "Britney" and I were sitting in my new apartment, back in late November (when I began writing this damned post), chatting away about her experiences transitioning from undergraduate to alumna.

She'd come back to visit Oxford for the same reason many recent alumni return to visit their alma maters post-graduation. While out in the working world, adjusting to a 40-hour work schedule, the decreased socialization, an the inability to sleep past the asscrack of dawn, she'd grown a bit nostalgic. Sadly, coming back reminded her of why she'd said she never wanted to return in the first place. Too much drama, bad memories overwhelming the nostalgia.

Over dinner, she even told me that seeing all of the drunk students staggering down High Street, from bar to bar, made her new boring life - up at 5 to go spinning at her gym, in the office by 8, and hanging out at a Barnes & Noble drinking coffee and reading away her evenings - seem like a vacation from the reality she'd once known as a student.

One of her former roommates called while we were sitting at the kitchen table. I laughed as "Britney" made faces and obligatory obscene hand job gestures while she talked, occasionally kicking my leg to remind me that she'd much rather be talking to me.

The two didn't really like each other; they kept in contact, it seemed, primarily out of a sense of obligation. I guess they missed arguing over unpaid utilities and, er, certain former flings who'd once, er, accidentally removed a showerhead with a pair of handcuffs.

Long story.

Yeah, I don't think I'm going out tonight. I'm over at J's apartment right now. No, we're just talking. No, I've got a hotel room....I don't think that's any of your business really anyway. Later babe!

"Britney" hung up her cell and flung it down onto the table.

Can you believe her? She wanted me to come down to Brick Street because she's not sure if she should hook up with some guy. Un-FUCKING-believable. She's 23 and hitting on fucking chaches and thinks YOU were a bad influence on ME!

Having never heard the term Chach before, I asked "Britney" what the term meant. I thought she was talking about Scott Baio's character from Happy Days.

It's one thing when someone laughs with you. It's another thing completely when a former "fruitcake sex" partner laughs at you for being so ignorant of local slang, points and giggles at you like you're the dumbest guy on the planet.

And she absolutely refused to define the term beyond never mind...this is too fucking funny.

"Britney" explained, through the snorts and tears, that, well, the idea of the oh-so-smartypants librarian not knowing the meaning of Chach was one of the funniest things she'd ever seen or heard - especially since I'd been suckered by something called chachbait quite a few times since she'd last seen me (see this post for one example).

Very humbling experience.

We ended up hanging out in my apartment all night, drinking my last very good bottle of Tobin James, a 2004 Estate Private Stash (a $50 bottle of reserve-bottled Bordeaux. I'm not a wine drinker, but, well, I know how to buy the stuff. Great flavor on this one.) and watching Justice League Unlimited on my laptop.

At one point, she excused herself to use my john. Five minutes later, I heard more hysterical laughter from my bathroom. Apparently, the chin-up bar I'd recently installed in the bathroom door frame was chachish - "Britney" even asked if I secretly pop the collars on my polo shirts and flex in the mirror when nobody was looking, a closet chach.

At one point in the evening, she popped her own shirt collar, put on my Stetson, and did her damnedest to convince me that her impression of the Chachformation Professional was as funny as she thought it was.

I walked her back to her hotel at well past three in the morning, unable to pick a meaningful definition of Chach from her oh-so-smartass brain.

As I walked back to my apartment, the only thing I could think of was Charles in Charge, Fonzie jumping the Shark, and Joanie Friggin' Cunningham.

* * * *

I tried researching the origins of this particular, uniquely Midwestern term in a more scholarly fashion. I tried finding an answer in various slang and contemporary language dictionaries during my lunch breaks.

I finally called a language expert, a buddy of mine, who responded by laughing hysterically, questioning my sanity, and suggesting that I ask the locals - something that, well, someone studying regional dialects and its unique identifiers would do.

She did, however, put me on hold while she asked her teaching assistant - an apparently charming 26-year-old who my friend has suggested, in less-than-scholarly IMs, represents the kind of woman I should be dating, should I continue my professional career here in Oxford Fucking Ohio.

The language expert's probably right. I really do prefer educated women who listen to the Clash and the Dropkick Murphys, have a particular fondness for industrial techno but no longer enjoy going to clubs, enjoy hiking and target shooting, and who sport nose rings.

But I digress...

The TA, a Hoosier State native who attended an Ohio university as an undergrad, thought it was, well, fucking hysterical that that blog guy was calling from across the country to learn about Chaches.

After some delay, the faculty finally put her protege on the phone.

According to the Indianan, roughly 60-70 percent of Ohio male college students fall into the chach category - at least the ones she knew when she was an undergrad at her Ohio university.

Here in Oxford Fucking Ohio, at the Local U., she estimated that as many as 90 percent of the male students fit the bill, based on her experiences partying with and dating several Local U. students.

...Basically, chaches are guys women go home with in college because they're cute, frigging adorable, on the outside... Women wake up and literally feel like their IQs have dropped because they've just hooked up with a Metro version of a Neanderthal... Chaches are like the sexual cockroaches of college, they're everywhere and don't ever seem to go away.

Wait...

So I have metrosexual sexual cockroach caveman tendencies?

I explained to the TA how, exactly, I'd become obsessed with the Chach. That only led to more laughter.

Dude, if you have a chin-up bar in your bathroom...yeah, that's kinda chachish. But you don't seem like a Stadium Toad, at least online.

Wait...

Stadium Toad?

* * * *

I finally admitted that I needed, well, a Local U. perspective, a perspective that I could trust to cure my obsession.

So one night, while bar-hopping at way past my normal bedtime, I asked a few male friends - none of whom seemed to be the type to have chin-up bars installed in their bathrooms - for a better explanation.

One guy, a larger guy who I'll call Mr. Molson, laughed as we stood out on the balcony of this one particular bar. Mr. Molson, I knew, used the term frequently.

I'm pretty sure you're not a chach, Mr. Molson said, pointing towards a group of younger bar patrons.

Now that, my friend, is a chachfest.


A group of guys, all dressed in matching neon polos and overpriced jeans, staggered out of the bar, drunk girls in tow. Their hair hardly moved, gelled like mine but...not. Their faces seemed almost waxed, nary an ingrown hair in sight, eyebrows plucked and perfect. The whole group reeked of expensive cologne and Natty Light. The air was filled with the sounds of hey-bras and what sounded like rich white kids who'd heard one too many Dem Franchize Boyz tracks.

And, yes, they looked like the kind of guys who would have chin-up bars installed in their bathrooms.

But unlike the ol' ZenFo Pro, they didn't seem to be the kind of guys who kept Whitman's Leaves of Grass on the nightstand or who'd list The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari as one of their favorite films, or would, well, think twice about whether or not being called a chach was a bad thing.

Oh, so a chach is basically a preppy douchebag? Wow.

Mr. Molson looked up from beneath his ball cap. We were both drunk as skunks, standing in the cold, smoking cigarettes and watching as the chachefest migrated back to whatever horrid, vile place chaches take their chachebait.

Yup.

I guess being a college student in Oxford Fucking Ohio is no different that being a college student anywhere else.

* * * *

While the slang may change, there have always been chaches. We had them at LSU when I was a grad student, at Cal Poly and Northern Colorado when I was an undergrad - we just had different names for them.

Yeah. Chach works. And they really are like sexual cockroaches.

One day, maybe, I'll unearth a good definition for Stadium Toad.

I'll save that one, however, for another post.


- # # # -

12 comments:

coyotemike said...

I just let off a sigh of relief to know I am not a chach. I don't even OWN a polo shirt. I do, however have "Leaves of Grass" on my bookshelf, next to my "Walden."

Uhoh, I may be a book snob. Fuckit!

I always just called chaches "frat boys" even if they aren't in a frat.

And even if they do get laid more than I do, I don't think I have ever left a lady with a lower IQ than when I found her.

Do your chaches also wear their ballcaps turnes slightly to the side, giving the effect of being unable to dress themselves?

I'm pretty sure "Stadium Toad" would be the type of boy whose whole week revolves around going to the crappy local university football game.

Emily said...

OMFG! This is Oxford to perfection.

You left out the fact that omg they suck in bed. Too woried about looking like their flexing instead of fucking.

I always thought only people from Cleveland and Akron used chach. Wow. Its like academic now :-P

Anonymous said...

So you don't do drunk girls huh? You seemed to be hitting on just about every damn one in mac and joes tonight or so i've heard.

its all good though. seriously you are so not a chach. my best friend here has a crush on you. if you noticed a girl staring at you tonight (not lying you were wearing a blue tee shirt jeans and and talking to two big dudes) that'd be her. one of the cute smart girls you seem to like.

an if you even said hi to her omg she was so ready to break you in half. and even though i have a sweetie in columbus i'd probably go home with u too.

sorry drunk.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Mike:
Lol, yeah, it's a wonderful feeling, huh? I own about three, but, well, I occassionally need something to wear with a sports coat or to fundraising events - I don't wear nooses...er...ties...ever.

Lol, and I hope I've never left anybody feeling dumber for having hooked up/shacked up with me. Cooper's right - I really do think too much.

And yup, our chaches do indeed carefully cock their hat brims to the side. They also have this tendency to make a lot of jokes about rape, too. Sad, but, well, somebody's got to be that alcoholic future junkbond broker, bound for prison on tax evasion.

Lol, Stadium Toad...close. Here, it refers to 21-22 y.o. males (and females) who hit a certain 18-and-over sports bar (The Stadium, but the term apparently applies to every 18-over establishment) in an effort to feed 18-19 y.o. women enough drinks to garauntee somebody making a bad judgment call.


Emily:
Oh too funny.

Yup, sadly, I have no frame of reference for how chaches behave in bed, but I've heard similar opinions from female students.

You now, I never thought of that. The Northern Ohio connection could, lol, hold some clues to the origin of the term...

Hmmm...I'll save that for that paper I deliver at the Society of Chach Culture Researchers conference :P


Anon:
Well, I guess its nice to know that some blog lurkers have learned to drink at the same seedy dives where the ZenFo Pro drinks ... :)

Lol, normally, I usually respond to these types of "blogger sighting" comments by dodging the observations. Recently, however, I learned that that approach apparently scares a lot of would-be local commenters away, afraid I'll make some snide remark in response.

So, lol, yeah, I was a bit, er, chatty last night. (Lord, I really hope your friend didn't overhear that rather obscene "that girl reads Neitche and the things I could do with that ass...", er, faculty meeting ...). But, lol, I still don't like going home with drunk girls - just not worth the effort, really.

One of the nasty little side effects of having dated women in the adult entertainment industry is that one ceases to look at sex as something one does while drunk or bored or out of some need for companionship - sex becomes measured in terms of things like good and bad, using words like "quality," stamina," and "communcation," the holistic experience weighed against a simple orgasm. One cannot accomplish much while impaired. For me, I guess, alcohol actually serves as a deterrent to both sexual irresponsibility and, well, bad sex.

Lol, but I digress...

I went home alone, as usual. And, well well, you know, there are about five women I can think of that might describe your friend.And all of them, dear lord...

Tell you what. Next time your friend sees me out and about here in Oxford, if we're all sober, tell her to just walk up to me and say "Hi, my name is_______ and I'm an intelligent, attractive woman who wants to break you in half."

Lmao, hey... I'm really dense. I may flirt, but, hell... that's pretty much the only way to get me to figure anything out.

EsotericWombat said...

I'd love to hear an etymology on that one.

Always good to hear that one doesn't fit a stereotype. And I'm guessing that having the appearance of one might be an at least quasi-positive thing if you're able to demonstrate that you're not

And dude, you might not remember the conversation, but I went to buy some guitar strings today and the dude behind the counter asked if I did a lot of D-tuning and I remembered you saying that I seemed like the type that would (and this sentiment had been echoed between the two occurances). It wasn't until I was halfway home that I made the connection between dropping a D and the fact that I'd bought heavy bottoms.

pia said...

Just wanted to thank you for the internal plumbing find its way into the real plumbing visuals

I look at my college days through green tinged lenses but another kind of green :)

Anonymous said...

ha i'll tell her. my friend says she said hi to you today in king. sorry if i put you on the spot i just think its fascinating to know where the cool guys hang out and that youre not some closet freak or something.

cooper said...

You know the chach sounds vaguely familiar.

There is some degree of benefit to anonymity Jason.

The ZenFo Pro said...

Wombat:
Oh, definitely. Breaking th stereotype can be a positive thing. Of course, it also means that, lol, the more and more people find out about my chachquest locally, the more and more I get jokes offline about it.

Apparently, the chin-up bar isn't my only chach-like quality. Fortunately, they all seem to be merely cosmetic symptoms.

Pia:
Lmao, yeah. GBD is one of those I dread. Wombat and I had an interesting back-and-forth about the "Let's celebrate turning an Irish heritage celebration into something even more fake than many community's St. Paddy's day events."

Lol, er, I have plenty of those, too :) High school as well.

Does anybody remember seeing me in, well, 1995? I seem to have misplaced a year?"

Anon:
Lmao. You do that. And you know...lol...there really are a lot of cool guys who hang out there :)

Cooper:
Lol...ya think? Gee...don't know where you'd ever meet them...

Ha! Yeah, I'm really a fucking idiot.

Smurf said...

A "Chach" huh? Interesting. That explains so much. I mean sometimes you don't think super deeply about something until you hear such a name as that. Actually thank you for the post. Very interesting... and it explains a lot of my 7-11 days... lol ;)

HC said...

um hey :P

nice meeting you last night and thanks for talking to me like a woman and not some silly girl. people think im kind of flighty sometimes but you seemed to deal rather well. partly because your not a chatch. not even close.

where'd you go anyway? hope i didn't make your leg numb mr librarian :P

The ZenFo Pro said...

Smurf:
Ah, that 7-11 in Greeley. It's fascinating, a wonderful term actually.

HC:
Lmao...so you do indeed read this thing :) I thought you seemed to be asking rather specific questions for someone who just thought I seemed like a "nice guy."

Lol, I hope the person commenting here is the lovely woman who decided the barstool she was sitting on seemed too hard and decided to sit on my lap :) Seriously, I do have hearing loss in that ear - not a pickup line :)

I disappeared to go find my friends, who for some reason I thought were upset that I was ignoring them to talk to you. Lol, as soon as I tracked them down, well, even female friends were calling me a dumbass.

Besides, if I had stayed, well, things might have gotten out of hand - you know what I mean. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed it, but, well...we were both rather tipsy.

C'mon. I'm almost 30. Would ya really want to wake up on your birthday with my sorry ass next to you?

:D