Why I prefer ass
August 27, 2014 • Glenn Murray
I said “ass” on Google+ recently
In a recent Google+ post, I asked this question:
“Is it OK to charge my nexus 7 (2013) on my galaxy s4 charger? I think the packaging says only use the nexus charger, but I don’t know if they’re just covering their ass…”
And one of my friends replied with this
“Any micro USB charger should work, they might just charge at different rates.
Also, don’t we say arse here?”
Is he right? Do we say “arse” here in Australia?
Short answer is yes. “Ass” is the American spelling, and “arse” is the British/Australian spelling.
But I still prefer “ass”
For better or worse, this is a distinction I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. (My excuse is I just wrote a whole heap of copy for butt-plugs and leather clothing targeting the gay market!) And after all that thought, I’ve decided to use “ass” most of the time. I think it’s a combination of things:
It works with more American terms
Some of the words we use with “arse/ass” are kinda US words. Like “bad-ass”. I haven’t seen “bad-arse” written before. So I would use “bad-ass”.
It’s more figurative
If I happen to use “arse” and “bad-ass” in the same document, some people (like anyone reading this post! 😉 would wonder about the inconsistency. So I have to try to anticipate how they’d think it through.
Although I haven’t tested or researched this, I have a vague suspicion that “ass” is more likely to be read as a more generic term, more figurative. e.g. “Covering your ass” means protecting yourself in some way. I know the context determines the precise meaning, but there’s that sort of general overtone.
“Arse”, on the other hand, tends to be more of an anatomical term, I think. People tend to read it as butt or arsehole. (You’ll notice I used “arsehole” there, instead of “asshole”, because I think the former tends to be read as “anus” and the latter as “dickhead”. Similar logic…)
Remember that butt-plug / gay leather copy I wrote? I used “arse”, “ass” and “bad-ass” in it.
“Arse” to mean arsehole:
“If you’ve ever dreamt of claiming Brent Everett’s arse, today’s your lucky day.”
“Ass” to mean butt:
You’ve got an ass worth looking at, so why not showcase it?”
“Bad-ass” to mean ‘Sons of Anarchy’ bad-boy style:
“Available in both zip and button fly, these Mister B genuine leather jeans are at once bad-ass and great-ass.”
Now imagine if I’d tried to use only “arse” or only “ass” in all these examples. I don’t think it would be quite right for an Australian audience…
Do you prefer ass or arse?
Please comment with your preference. And let us know why.