Mainstreaming Raw Dog

Jun 28, 2024 | Blog, Essays

(Mom and Dad, if you read this, I forbid you from Googling that phrase! Trust me, you don’t want to know.)

            My husband has a whole pre-workout routine that involves taking his pre-workout drink, changing his clothes, and then beating on his chest and growling until he can feel the drink kick in.  I, less trusting of the supplement world, just have a glass of water and head downstairs to our home gym.  My husband is always trying to convince me to go over into the world of the pre-workout, but I steadfastly refuse.  I have a thing about not bringing a chemically induced heart attack upon myself.  And so it was under these auspices that I came across a meme in which a man stated that he “be raw dogging at the gym, no energy drink, no pre-workout, just fueled by pain.”  It was then that I made my mortifying mistake.  I sent it to my husband with the comment, “That’s me!  I raw dog at the gym.  I’m Raw Dog.”

            My husband took great delight in my humorous correspondence and immediately started calling me Raw Dog at every opportunity.  I reveled in it because it was an ironic nickname and I have always wanted an ironic nickname.  The name Raw Dog summoned to mind the exact opposite type of person that I am and I found that most charming.  I quickly grew very attached to my new nickname.

            And thus was our dynamic for a little over a week until the issue came up that I might not know what raw dogging was.  I can’t remember exactly how it came about, but during conversation, my husband looked at me in incredulity and asked, “Don’t you know what raw dogging is?”

            “Is it not working out without pre-workout or any other supplements?” I asked.

            He looked at me blankly and then he told me what raw dogging meant.  Now my expression went momentarily blank and then turned to horror.

            “Gross!  Why have you been letting me go by that?” 

            “I thought you knew what it meant,” he said.

            “How would I know that?  I’m a homeschooling stay-at-home mom whose social media algorithms show me posts about gardening and Jesus.  How on earth would I come across that information?”

            My heart was broken.  “I guess I can’t go by that anymore.” 

            “What are you talking about?” my husband said, trying to cheer me up and proving to me, once again, that men and women see repugnant things entirely different.  “Of course, you can.  It’s still funny.”

            “Are you crazy?  It’s disgusting,” I told him.  “My days as Raw Dog are over.”

            And so ended my all-too-brief-foray into the world of having an ironic nickname.  I was as devastated as one can be over something so ridiculous and meaningless.

            One can only imagine my ecstasy when a couple of weeks further into the future, a glimmer of hope appeared on the horizon. Because of the whole nickname debacle, I  couldn’t help but click on a video about a new cultural trend called “rawdogging flights.”  (Though please know, I clicked with much trepidation.)  I was relieved to find that the term raw dogging in the story meant only to fly deviceless and without any sort of entertainment.  Hope was born when I read one of the comments on the story. 

            “maybe even more interesting than people doing this on flights is ‘rawdogging’ entering the mainstream lexicon as an acceptable verb. Lol.”

            Dare I dream that my beloved nickname might be resurrected?  And without the contamination of its original abhorrent meaning?  It never occurred to me that this phrase might mainstream (mostly because I live entirely outside the mainstream and never have any idea of what will mainstream).  I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought it possible.  After all, “suck it!” somehow mainstreamed and its original meaning is a billion times more obvious.

            It is from this flicker of hope that I am endeavoring to achieve making “raw dogging” a conventionally accepted verb as quickly as possible.  My strategy is simple: to encourage as many people in my sphere of influence to start using this verb as much as possible in both real-life situations as well as on social media.

            Here are some possible uses that can be easily slipped into everyday conversation or made into posts:

  •             “I raw dogged it in the kitchen tonight.  No cookbooks, no online recipes, no calling my mother.  Just me, a bunch of ingredients and my wherewithal to combine them in such a manner as to produce a delectable meal.”
  •             “I raw dogged it under the hood tonight.  No Chilton’s manual, no Youtube videos.  Just me, my engine and the fortitude to find the problem and reanimate my automobile.”
  •             “I’m raw dogging my lawn this year.  No weed and feed, no Roundup, no grub control.  Just me, my sickle mower and whatever mother nature sends my way.”

            Please don’t limit oneself to these suggestions.  The potential uses of this verb are applicable to an unlimited array of situations.  One only needs a little imagination and determination to work raw dog into daily communication.  I’m convinced that, with enough people participating in this campaign and if we are consistent with our attempts, raw dog will be an American colloquialism by Christmas.  Such timing would allow me to wear apparel monogrammed with my beloved ironic nickname to family gatherings and my husband’s work Christmas functions without eliciting double takes or getting shamed on social media.

            The world of the vulgar has co-opted nearly half of the American English vernacular to use as synonyms for the male genitalia alone.  I think it’s high time we take one of their phrases and turn it nice.

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