Being a dag

I have a compliment I direct towards my closest friends. I call them ‘dag’.

Now ‘dag‘ is an Australian term referring to a piece of poo left hanging from a sheep’s bottom when caught up in the wool of their tail.

Hardly an endearing term for one’s friends?

Well, ‘dag’ has had many transitions.

It really caught on in the late 70s here and I can remember in high school being called ‘dag’ with the kind of derogatory tone akin to ‘waste of space’. It was not good to be seen as a ‘dag’. In the horrid, narrow-minded, heirachical social stench of bullying, ‘dags’ were seen as a ‘deserving target’ but conformist non-conformist sheep who saw themselves as ‘trendy’, ‘cool’, ‘in’ which today is the compliments of ‘wicked’ and ’sick’ (go figure).

Anyway, one tried one’s best to avoid being various kinds of ‘dag’… the white sock dag, the top-button-done-up dag, the wrong music dag, the you’ve-got-no-friends dag, the oh-how-embarassing dag, the you-really-don’t get-it dag, the you-really-are inexperienced dag, the are-they-really-your-parents dag, the you-like-what!? dag, the those-colors-and styles-really clash dag, the that-went-out-with-the-ark dag, the general all round hopeless dag, the…. yes, right, I agree, how totally tedious, narrow, prescriptive and a strangulation of all that makes life more interesting than these silly boxes – diversity.

But we still have these ideals of what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ and someone keeps lapping up the media brainwash that ‘in’ is what we should seek.

I decided long ago that freezing to death in fashion was totally illogical and that having people sleep with you who you didn’t like, let alone love, just to be ’someone’ was a pretty sad statement not about oneself, but about the cultural and conformistly non-conformist counter-culture messages that made one think that was ‘right’ in the first place. I learned that it was non-sensical if not insane to inhale formaldehyde, lead and pesticides or pay the corporations who laughed at the stupidity of those who paid them for the privilege of killing themselves via cigarettes. I concluded that I wouldn’t become more beautiful by eating certain brands of chocolate bar or more popular by adding further brain impairment via abuse of illicit drugs to a brain already fairly fried before birth. In other words, I was destined to be hopelessly ‘daggy’ so I might as well embrace it, make the best of it… and I think I’ve done an OK job of it too.

So, somewhere along the way, I learned to love my inner ‘dag’ and be moved by and value and celebrate those who also couldn’t help but be their fantastically daggy selves. So ‘dag’ has a good meaning too. It means ’someone real’ who is hopelessly individual, however simple, however unfashionable, however odd that may be. Long live ‘dagdom’ and may many enjoy ‘dagging’ and not worry if they ‘dag out’ their associates, their peers. At the end of the day, it is not ‘dags’ who failed to ‘catch on’, it was the ‘dags’ who failed to baa-aa like the conformist and conformistly non-conformist counter cultures alike.

An American friend, Bev Nero, sent me a bracelet she’d lovingly made with the word ‘d-a-g’ on it. I wasn’t sure I was proud enough of my dagdom to actually wear it as a name bracelet but where it I did, and it was empowering.

She then sent me a T-shirt on the back of which read ‘best dag pal’.

Now, wow, that would have had a few eggs and tomatoes thrown at me in high school I expect, but I wear it proudly out and about. I hope that if I’m a poster child for anything its for the cause of the hopeless dag and how wonderfully cool it is to just ‘be’ without worrying who is going to judge or exclude you because at least you accept and include yourself.

Happy dagging.


Donna Williams

bestselling author, artist, songwriter and all round proud dag.

Donna Williams *)
Ever the naughty Autie.

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