Being bilingual is an essential life skill in this day and age. Unfortunately, linguists have failed to recognize that Fangirl is a growing dialect that infiltrates the Internet, pop culture, and beyond.
The fangirl is the thirteen-year-old crying in the school bathroom when a One Direction member won’t reply to her tweet. She’s the college student at Comic-Con parading in full Battlestar Galactica gear. She’s also your forty-five-year-old boss who got fired for writing erotic Harry Potter fanfiction on her work laptop.
Fangirls have suffered among those peoples whose accused deficit in social functioning has historically justified their persecution, such as English Majors or gingers. So if you’d like to play a role in rectifying history, you might benefit from learning a phrase or two from their language.
Since there’s no Rosetta Stone for Fangirl, here are a couple of easy tips to get you started. Sooner or later you’ll be squeeing with the best of them.
Lesson 1: Basic definitions.
Feels … Feels are the ground floor in the fangirl hierarchy of needs. Feels are like feelings, but they are more intense and are generated by fictional plots or celebrities. Imagine the day you got into your top pick for college or the day your significant other dumped you unexpectedly. Now imagine that emotional response being triggered every single fucking day by a subtle glance between characters or a screenshot from a TV show. Intense, right?
English: I’m really emotional right now.
Fangirl: All the feels. My creys.
Ship … Fangirls are no land lovers. We were born to board ships and sail off into an ocean of feels. “Ship” is an abbreviation for the term “relationship,” and when used as a verb, it implies that a fangirl wants two characters to get together more than she wants a corgi puppy and a lifetime supply of pizza.
English: I really hope they end up together.
Fangirl: Shipping it like, WHOA.
Canon … I’m not talking about ecclesiastical laws or the camera company. Canon is the official storyline established by a writer of a book, TV show, etc. Headcanon refers to the additions to canon created by fangirls, which can then be accepted by other members of a particular fandom. You know when you daydream about what you’ll have for dinner in a boring staff meeting? Fangirls are daydreaming about their OTP making out in various settings, A.K.A. headcanon.
OTP … OTP is an acronym for “One True Pairing.” This refers to a fangirl’s favorite fictional romantic ship, often the one that causes the most pain and suffering. The word “one” is deceptive, as fangirls tend to have at least seven.
English: They are my favorite couple in the series.
Fangirl: OTP 5-eva.
Lesson 2: We mean the opposite of what we say.
Perhaps the most important concept of the Fangirl dialect is that we seldom mean what we say. So if you’re not sure what your fourteen-year-old sister means when she flaps her arms around the room and cries over a love triangle, try and decipher the exact opposite of her words.
English: She is very attractive in that photograph.
Fangirl: I hate her face. Life-ruiner!
English: I really like this show.
Fangirl: I can’t even. Done. So done.
English: Please keep doing what you’re doing.
Fangirl: Can you just not.
English: That was a touching moment in the novel.
Fangirl: Excuse me while I fly headfirst into the sun.
So there you have it! There are multitudes of other Fangirl words and expressions floating around. But once you learn the basics, you’ll have earned the respect of the girl who sits behind you in class writing Vampire Diaries fanfiction or perhaps the woman beside you on the bus tweeting headcanon. It’s a brave new world, and fangirls are here to stay.