What is a Dag?

If you are Australian: could you please let me know if I have described this correctly? If you have photos to contribute, even better.  I’m pretty sure Kiwis use “dag” too, is that right?

If you are not Australian: this is for you.  Because whenever I use the word “dag” or “daggy” I get asked what that means.   It doesn’t mean anything here in the UK so I shouldn’t use it.  But that’s hard, as there is no equivalent, and some things are just really, really daggy.

If something is daggy, it is uncool.  It is questionable. Waiting for someone while holding a white carnation is daggy. Answering the phone with a pretend speech impediment is daggy. Disco bowling is daggy. That doesn’t mean disco bowling isn’t fun. It is fun. It’s also very daggy.  Having a tacky Picasso print in a brass frame in your lounge room is daggy.  Extra points if the sticky stuff from the price tag is still there.

Blame our landlord.
I really ought to take this down.

Taking a photo of your toaster that you just had to extinguish is daggy.

Yup.  I took this photo.

Daggy clothes are outdated and lacking in style.  In the strictest sense of the word, you can think of any movie that features a major makeover such as The Devil Wears Prada, She’s Out of Control (oh come on, you saw it too), Grease, Never Been Kissed etc.  Before each makeover, the characters are daggy.

But there is more to it, and this is where daggy gets interesting.  If I call you a dag, it is not an insult.  It means I like you.  It means I think you are funny, have no pretense, no vanity – you are a dag.  Think Liz Lemon from 30 Rock – dag dag dag dag dag.

A classic dag is very funny and probably just happens to be dressed badly. If someone looking immaculate in the latest Paris collection is being funny, they are not being a dag.  They are just being funny.

Aussies love a dag.

Now for a little test.  See if you can spot the Aussie dag in this photo:

See? Hiking in Canada wearing thongs / flip flops is daggy. If I didn’t know her, or didn’t like her, I probably wouldn’t say it was daggy. But she is my friend. She’s very, very funny. And in this photo, she is being a dag.  (I have her permission in case you are wondering.)

Generally speaking, if someone says you are being a dag, you are embarrassing yourself to the amusement of others.   It can be used as an insult though.  So if someone exceptionally badly dressed walked past, and you said “what a dag” to a friend, it’s an insult because as far as you are aware, they are not funny at all. Remove the fun and humour from the word, and you are just insulting their lack of style.

I went through my photos looking for more examples of daggy.  It’s not a great compilation as I’m limited to what is on this computer, and I kept some out on the advice of my husband (“You do not want those on the internet.”)  But you will have examples of daggy photos too – just go straight to anything taken in the 80s.  Or of people dancing.  Posed couple photos often do the trick too. Dag City.

Christmas hats are daggy.
Morris Dancing is daggy.
Posing for a photo in front of a flower bush is very, very daggy.
“Funny” photos in front of a tourist attraction are daggy.
(Yes, it’s the same holiday.)
Arranging your baby’s toys in a semi-circle around them for a photo is daggy.
Fancy dress is daggy – this is from my hens night.
Extra points for doing a tiger “rah!” for the camera.

So there you have it, my guide to dag.

Now to hand this over to you.  If you’re from my part of the world, did I get this right?  If you’d never heard of it before, what do you think?  Is there an international equivalent?

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