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If You Aren’t Talking About Butts, Stop Saying Anal

Andrea Capodilupo


When I was in high school, I wrote ‘final’ in such horrendous penmanship that my history teacher circled it in bright red ink and said, “this looks like anal.” ANAL. I was horrified. I did not want to talk about buttholes in US history. 


Ever since then, the word anal has haunted my waking and subconscious life. Co-workers complain about ‘anal’ bosses. Neat-freak friends describe themselves as ‘anal.’  I have to hold in every urge to not let my eyes glass over as a coping technique and nod my head in understanding.


But I’m sick of nodding my head to the word anal. I’ve taken it too many times. I’m done with it. And you should be too. Have you heard these phrases far too many times:


“She’s so anal.” 


“I’m so anal, I had to clean my entire apartment all weekend.”


“My boss is so anal about everything.”


If so, join me to fight this anti-anal war. I’m not talking about anal anal. I’m talking about anal to mean uptight, or neat people.


Let me get this straight: Are anal people butt-ish? A pain in the neck maybe, a micro-manager, but an anus? 


You tell me your boss is anal, and I imagine him as a big buttcheek shaped cloud in the sky looking down, saying, “Close your tabs, Margorie!”


The first definition of anal in the Merriam Webster dictionary is “relative to the anal sphincter, or the anus!” Anal predominately means related to the anus. Are YOU a long lost cousin to the anus? A second cousin twice removed? I didn’t think so. You tell me you’re anal, and I imagine your head like a giant peach emoji.Given the influx in anal as a popular activity for some, a VERB, even, lets leave anal to the butt-related stuff. 


Yes, there is a second definition: “extremely overly neat.”How can anal mean anal AND overly neat? Have we gone mad? How can we be talking about butts and about cleanliness?  


It's true that words' meanings can change in a moment and even words spelled the same can mean many different things. Are we close? Will you close the door? This word always tripped me up in English. When I speak Spanish it's even worse, the word for straw in Colombia means penis in Mexico. That's one way to get an iced coffee with something extra.


So for the sake of non-English speakers alone, anal should be ousted from our lexicon, if only to help connect us better. No one should be subject to thinking you are a butthead for cleaning your home. 


Lets leave anal to the anuses and details to the neat guys. If you are neat, you are neat! Your boss may be overly focused on order. That’s great. It doesn’t make him a buttox. He might be a buttox for other reasons, but I’ll leave that to you two to figure it out. 


All in all, we’re all full of shit. The less reminders of that actual shit, the better.


If you enjoyed today’s moot, follow Andrea on Twitter and Instagram. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Association, Andrea’s charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, '“If You Aren’t Talking About Butts, Stop Saying Anal' in the style of Vincent van Gogh, Andrea's artist of choice.*

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