The GILF Pas
My cousin’s son was playing master of ceremonies for his sister’s wedding. In a bow to Chinese custom, he was introducing all the members of the family and the wedding party. To liven it up, he likes to say a few words about each person he introduces. Some of the mini-bios worked better than others, but it all crashed when he got to his 80+ year old great aunt. He started by commenting on how good she looked for her age, a nice enough thing but not completely safe ground with seniors. He then began to ad lib, “Instead of a cougar, she’s a panther. She’s not just a panther, she’s a GILF.”
If you’ve been hiding under a Walkman and don’t Twitter, facebook, or HDTV, GILF is a variant of MILF (mom I’d like to F*%$). It’s John Cho’s fault. In the first American Pie movie, John Cho’s character sees a picture of Stiffler’s mother (Jennifer Coolidge) and proclaims her a MILF. While it’s not the most tasteful phrase ever invented, it’s gone reasonably mainstream. You wouldn’t hear President Obama using it, but you might hear Joe Biden say it accidentally. In fact, Sarah Palin was once referred to in the press as a GILF, for Governor I’d like to F*%$ ,(count me out on that one). Technically, she now qualifies as the other kind of GILF because she’s now a grandmother.
I would say that there’s arguably sort of a fuzzy line about using the phrase “MILF” in public. That is if you use it randomly with people you don’t know. For eighty year old actual blood relatives, I suspect the line’s pretty clear with GILF. There were probably a certain number of folk at the wedding dinner who missed the reference quite possibly including the relative in question. There were probably a bunch of us who caught it and appreciated all the different ways it was inappropriate.
I think one of the differences about Asian manners is that things just moved on. A couple mouths dropped open, but it struck me that those who did catch how weird it was figured that it wasn’t worth spoiling the evening for the bridal couple. I’m not sure what the groom’s side which wasn’t Asian thought.
Personally, I should think worse of my cousin’s son, but I have to confess something. I might have done the same sort of thing when I was more or less his age. Yikes!