I’ve been out of commission this week due to the planning of a large business reception that took place last night. A few big-name Canadian socialites attended (one of the sons of arguably Canada’s most famous Prime Minister–no, not the universally reviled Ben Mulroney), and the hors d’oeuvres abounded. I was in my sharpest suit, teeth freshly shined and ready for some hardcore liaising and schmoozing, two honed skills I’ll step up to defend if anyone wants to challenge… that’s what I thought.
Anyway, I must say, all of my office co-workers (there’s only 8 of us, I being one of only two gentlemen) were cleaned up very nicely. People were looking good, in short. Lo and behold, out comes the “Nick, you look very spiffy tonight.”
Can someone, anyone please explain to me the genesis of this word, “spiffy”? Is it a compliment, or is it a way of pointing out the obvious, that someone is dressed up in a more fancy way than they would normally dress? Is it for people who don’t want to go as committal as “you look handome” or “nice suit”?
If somebody looks good, you tell them that. The end. Don’t worry, it wont be misconstrued as romantic intention or unwanted flattery. It won’t lead to a chain reaction of sexual tension that will culminate with you or I spread eagle over the paper shredder (the ramifications of which are astounding in and of themselves). And it certainly won’t lead to anything more than a “thank you”.
But if you tell me I look spiffy, I’m more tempted to say either “I know” or stay silent, causing an awkward silence that may once again lead to the paper shredder.