Let's All Stop Saying "White Whine"


We need a less problematic phrase to describe the times when we find ourselves complaining about silly things. (But let’s not stop making fun of ourselves for complaining about silly things.)

“This is so White Whine, but I’m having the worst day because the housekeeper was two hours late and I had to go to a cafe where they didn’t have outlets.”

– Me, three weeks ago.

“This is really White Whine, but they were playing that horrible Train song at the gym so loud today that I couldn’t even hear my Nerdist podcast.”

– Me, two weeks ago.

“My wallet’s too small for all my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight!”

– Chandler Bing, Friends, a million years ago.

People have always complained about problems that aren’t really problems. (Probably.) But only recently have we developed the self-awareness to regularly make fun of ourselves when we do it. This is a good thing, because everyone hates a person who complains about the little inconveniences that come with living a comfortable lifestyle without acknowledging its absurdity. And we all have our own levels — as a renter, I will hate anyone who uses the word “contractor” in pretty much any context, and the me of just a few years ago would be like “housekeeper what? STFU future me!”

Terms like “White Whine,” which came into the vernacular a few years ago with a website of the same name give us the shorthand to acknowledge that the “problem” we’re complaining about is ridiculous, while still allowing us to get it out to the people who know us best. (That late housekeeper really messed up my workflow!) But lately I’ve started to feel weird about it, the way I used to feel weird about saying “white trash” (I’ve switched to calling the willfully ignorant people who dominate my Southern hometown the slightly less problematic “rednecks.” Yes, I know I shouldn’t be calling them any names at all, Mom.)

It’s not a big deal or anything but I just think we need a new term. Having a housekeeper (or a contractor, or problems deciding on a $250/roll wallpaper for the foyer) aren’t inherently “white” things at all. The phrase was intended to make fun of white people who do this, but aren’t we beyond that now? We need a new phrase. I’m not saying it’s racist or that anyone has been running around using it with malice in their hearts, but it’s just kind of awkward. Let’s figure out a new term. (But not “First World Problems,” which commenter Ailatan pointed out last night is problematic for its own different reasons.)

So, “Rich Whine,” anyone?

(I would like to be the first to point out that this entire post itself is a total White Whine.)

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