Don’t Call It Frisco

December 13, 2007 at 1:29 pm 12 comments

It pains me to admit, but my mother was right.  Certainly not the first time, but this time when she was right, it was on something that I never thought possible.  My mom, in this instance, was more “with it” than I was.  That’s right, Lynette, the Urban hipster. 

I was on the phone with my mother last week and in speaking of the city in which I now lived, I used the term, “Frisco.”  It’s a real term, I’ve heard people use it, heck Frank Sinatra uses it in a song!  But my mom said, “Oh, honey, NO, no no!  Don’t EVER call it Frisco!!!  You can call it “San Francisco” and you can call it “The City,” but NOTHING else.  ESPECIALLY not Frisco.  No. NO!”   I was intrigued by this conversation as my mother is ANYTHING but urban, only going into “The City” of Chicago unless it was to see a play or have dinner at my apartment.  So didn’t fully believe my mother, afterall, she moved away from San Francisco 30 years ago, and has NEVER out-hipped me in all my life. 

Alas, it was weighing on my mind, and ever since she said it, I’ve made sure to not say “Frisco” just in case she was right.  Well, dammit, she is.  I just did a little internet reconnaissance and found COUNTLESS articles and blogs speaking to this very subject.  Needless to say, my heart sank a little bit, realizing how appalled my mother must have been when she heard me utter the “F” word (which is how they rerfer to the word “Frisco” in this article)

There is even a Laundromat in “The City” with the name “Don’t Call It Frisco Laundromat” 

One little online lecture explains:  “Those outside the confines of being natives wouldn’t know the difference. BUT, if you use it in the company of someone born in the mid-1950’s or earlier, you might get their ire up.”  That explains a lot.  Lynette WAS born earlier.

  So what have I learned, under watchful eye of my urban hipster mother (gone suburban housewife), was confirmed here.  “When you refer to San Francisco as “Frisco” or “San Fran,” you’re making yourself sound as an outsider.  No one here calls it that, and those abbreviations grate on our ears.  We say “San Francisco” or “The City.”  Oh my goodness, Lynette’s lecture, almost verbatim!

You were right, Mom, I was wrong.  Thanks for making sure I didn’t drop the “F-word” around San Francisco natives.


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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lowdogg  |  December 13, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Wow. I had no idea. I wonder how badly I outed myself on my visit to “The City.”

  • 2. Melissa Caress  |  December 13, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    same goes for “Cali” it’s usually those people from Utah using the term. Sure there’s the song “Goin’ back to Cali” but I think that’s the time anyone is allowed to say it.

  • 3. JL  |  December 13, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Lynette never fails to impress.

    Does anyone in The Windy City ever refer to it as “Chicaggy”, a la Calamity Jane (starring Doris Day)? Probably not…

  • 4. Stephanie  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    At least you can admit that she’s right. It takes a big person to do that.

  • 5. Mari & Derek  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I will have to applaud your mom when I see her at church on Sunday. As a native of the Bay Area, the “F” word is a definite no no =). Hope you are enjoying one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

  • 6. Lindsay  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    No, JL. Not Chicaggy. Although Chicago pronounced our way is basically ChicAgo. Not chicaugo. Downtown. But others love to call it the Windy City and ChiTown. Whatever you call it, it’s My Kind of Town. And by the way, Go Mom!

  • 7. Lindsay  |  December 14, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    LeMare, I just read your post to mom, urban hipster gone suburban housewife who has not joined the internet revolution. After giggling when I read the word “dammit” she listened to the rest and said, “She is so amazing! Print that off! I’ve got a call. I can’t talk.” So I’m off to print it for mother, because emailing wouldn’t do any good either.

  • 8. Sportsattitude  |  December 14, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    In the Philly area, we do refer to Chicago most often as “ChiTown”…but I have heard “Chicaugo” on occasion. As for San Francisco, generally it’s just called “San Fran” or…God forbid…”Frisco.” I hear a LOT of “Frisco.” Perhaps this will be overlooked in light of the fact Philadelphia has been spotlighted as being the heaviest, ugliest, most rude major city region going. How COULD we possibly know or even be expected to render any justice to “The City?”

  • 9. Lindsay  |  December 17, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Hey, Philly’s down to earth, and I love that! And we in Chicago aren’t as sensitive as the San Franciscans!

  • 10. pancho  |  December 18, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    It’s okay to call it frisco!

  • 11. bobtuce  |  July 10, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Think you know all there is to know about San Francisco? Take
    the Don’t Call It Frisco Test at HelloQuizzy

  • 12. kim jonsson  |  January 11, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    “Balderdash,” Caen wrote. “The toughest guys on the old S.F. waterfront, neither rubes nor tourists, called it Frisco, and no effete journalist would have tried to correct them.”

    The reality is, SF was a blue collar town and Frisco Hells’ Angels took them name to represent themselves. Frank Sinatra sang about it and generations of blue collar locals use it with pride. Hell, if it was good enough for Frank, it’s good enough for me.


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