Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Great Americanism: XYZPDQ


Sometimes America gets it right and when it does, I like to celebrate with an unironic U-S-A, U-S-A! And then write about it here.

no joke

no joke

The Internet has many things, but as far as I can tell, there isn’t yet an origin story for XYZPDQ. This random-seeming and odd-looking string of letters actually rolls off the tongue pretty easily after the first time. It stands for “eXamine Your Zipper Pretty Damn Quick” and is a way to alert people that their zipper’s undone.

barn door

“Your barn door’s open.”

I first heard the phrase in elementary school, where it was used fairly often. At that age, I think we were all still learning to dress ourselves and, unless it was a very cold day, it was pretty easy to leave the restroom without zipping up. As I got older, the phrase somehow went out of fashion and people would say something less clever like, “Your fly’s open” prompting a hasty rechecking of all the fastening mechanisms on one’s garments.

For some reason, this kind of thing is highly embarrassing to Americans. On the same level, having food in one’s teeth is so unpleasant that it merits being told as an anecdote to illustrate how bad your day was. I never understood why these kinds of things were so humiliating. It’s almost impossible to know you’ve got something stuck in your choppers unless someone tells you, at which point you can address the situation. Done. Move on. Don’t make me listen to your story about it.

Are these kinds of not-actually-shameful things considered cringeworthy in other cultures?

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

9 thoughts on “Great Americanism: XYZPDQ

  1. Yet another something that I hadn’t thought about for a very, very long time. Leave it to a Spanish-American currently living in France to make me nostalgic!

  2. I’ve heard XYZ (completely forgot about it) but never XYZPDQ.

  3. A quick downward glance, followed by a nod and a cheerful “yeah, it’s cheaper than air conditioning” was always the standard response during my schoolyard days.

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