Bussing on Valentine’s Day

A buss is still a kiss ...

I remember being a brash youngster in the 1980s. Wherever my friends I gathered—be it in our parents’ living rooms or in the church’s fellowship hall—we would engage in raucous sessions when we took light-hearted jabs at each other. They were like roasts, and we called the whole thing “bussing.”  I think it’s spelled that way, but who’s really the authority on urban slang from the 1980s?

Decades later, my inner literary geek took a much larger role in my life, thankfully, and I’ve taken to checking the Web site http://www.dictionary.com frequently, for the word of the day. (I even have the app on my iPod touch.) Wouldn’t you know it, but Sunday’s word was “buss,” as in “to kiss.”

The word bridges cultures in an interesting way, I think. First the word “buss” develops somewhere along the line in the English language and then falls out of popular use. Then a bunch of Black kids from north Jersey resurrect it, only they use it to express the way they sometimes rag on each other.

When I explained the word to Hubby this morning, we had to share a smooch in honor of our favorite noun of the moment. (OK, so we are both word geeks. There are worse things to be in life!) It is also perfect for St. Valentine’s Day. For all of today, therefore, and maybe a while afterward, Hubby and I won’t kiss like almost everyone else. We’ll buss instead.


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