That man or woman that you see every evening on the bus ride home, do you think that they are “hot”, or “fit”?
If you think they are the former then the chances are that you live in North American (or watch too many North American TV shows) but if you think they are the latter then it’s pounds to pence that you hail from the British Isles.
There isn’t much that Britain has still got going for it but the natives use of the native language can, on rare occasions, speak with searing honesty about the world we live in and help transcend the pale verbiage that our language has become.
So while distinguishing between the uses of “hot” and “fit” may not seem all that consequential in the grand scheme of things, there is in fact some value in exploring the difference between those two small sounds.
First take the time to say both words out loud.
‘Hot’ can only be uttered as an exaggerated sigh that somehow serves to emphasize the unavailability of the object of desire.
It is, at its heart, an adolescent term that conjures up images of distant college athletes and nubile cheerleaders who forever frolic on the faraway playing fields but never venture toward the seats of the bleachers (let alone to that space beneath the bleachers that is, if only symbolically, a yawning chasm of sexual opportunity).
“Hot” is all Letterman jackets and white frilled pom-poms, clichéd objects that serve as tired fetishes rather than actual, unadulterated, desires.
Now say the word “fit”.
“Hot” is all Letterman jackets and white frilled pom-poms, clichéd objects that serve as tired fetishes
The teeth lightly graze the bottom lip in a mockery of foreplay and the word itself spits out of the mouth with conviction while forcing the upper lip to contort and the nostrils to briefly twitch and flare.
Where “hot” leaves the mouth, and the mouth alone, to do all the work “fit’ entices numerous other muscles to convulse and contract before it can come to full fruition.
And then there is the sound itself.
“Hot’ is almost, but not quite, a half-laugh. A non-serious word that echoes with a hollow humour that is neither infectious nor appealing, it is the pitiful bark of a puppy that wants a toy to play with yet is powerless to gain control.
But the sound of “fit” is a sneer that makes no pretentions as to its intentions, a one syllable “f” word that holds no court for romance or yearning.
To pronounce a person “fit’ is not to put them on a pedestal or declare an undying love. It is to state, with unambiguous and unpretentious eloquence exactly what it is that you want to do to them, or exactly what it is that you want them to do to you.
It is Shakespearean in its ribaldry and its directness, it is the language of the street and the language of the gutter
It is Shakespearean in its ribaldry and its directness, it is the language of the street and the language of the gutter (if not the guttural) and it reeks of impatience and the desire for action.
“Fit’ is a word for a country (and how Shakespeare loved that sound) that relishes the sheer pleasure of the moment and of the basest aspects of our character.
It is a brutally honest Anglo-Saxon word in an increasingly homogenized world and, if only for that, it should be lauded far above its pale transatlantic counterpart.
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