In my capacity as a writer of tedious home-improvement articles, I find myself using Word’s handy thesaurus function. A lot. While looking for synonyms for “tacky”, I was reminded of this delightful word: tawdry.
Dictionary. com offers this definition: “Showy but cheap and of poor quality”, with possible connotations of being “shameful and indecent”. I think that sums it up pretty well.
In the end, I stuck with “tacky” – I was referring to popular perceptions of wallpaper, and tawdry seemed a little too strong. Still, I was reminded of how much I like this word.
Here are some things that are tawdry:
Western purses. I love them. I want one.
Child beauty pageants. Also see Dance Moms, a reality show I’ve never seen, but which features girls as young as eight in full makeup, semi-nude, doing burlesque routines. Tawdry.
For that matter… pretty much every reality show, ever.
Televangelism. ‘Nuff said.
Quinceanera cakes. These celebratory treats often look like the aspirational palaces of up-and-coming drug lords. Which brings me to…
The aspirational palaces of up-and-coming drug lords. Nothing says “new money” like tiers, cupolas and cascading staircases.
“Sexy”-anything Halloween costumes. Ugh. Unless it’s something creative like “sexy mailbox”, “sexy Soviet dissident”, “sexy giant salamander”. Then I guess it would be clever and winsome.
Dogs wearing clothing. As if the poor thing wasn’t unfortunate looking enough already…