A Linguistic, Antropological Study of “Goin Out’ for the Nerd in All of Us

In my work as a freelance anthropologist (yes, I just gave myself that title), I’ve discovered an interesting phenomenon that people refer to as ‘goin out’.

**Note: it’s a social blunder to pronounce the ‘g’ at the end of ‘going’ when using the word in this context. You’ll be ousted as a person-who-doesn’t-get-out-much. It’s probably also a blunder to use blunder. You’ll immediately be identified as someone who is clearly not with it. **

In common parlance, this phrase would be used on a Friday or Saturday night. As in, ‘We’re goin out tonight.” This usually involves traveling to a large metropolitan area (‘large’ being relative the population of your current location) and visiting restaurants or bars that are open late into the evening.

A woman chooses an outfit based on style and gives no thought to its compatibility for nursing. Sensible shoes are left at home in favor of stylish shoes with high heels that will cause pain to the lower back, calves, and the sciatic nerve.

Dancing and drinking are acceptable activities for going out. Knitting, sewing, and talking about your most recent cloth diapering mishap are not acceptable activities.

Most people who engage in this activity are in their 20s and early 30s but people at other stages of life may also partake in evening festivities.

I’ve never been good at goin out. For years, I’ve worn sensible shoes, referred to my book bag as my purse, and tried to get to bed early on a Friday night.

On the very last day of 2015, I decided it was time to experiment with going out again. I searched my closet long and hard to find an outfit suitable for said activity. Boot-leg jeans and zip-up hoodie? Comfortable but no, not a good idea. Short skirt over leggings paired with boots? I think this has promise.

Leaving my knitting bag at home, I joined two very dear friends (one of whom happens to be my life’s partner) for a night out on the town. We found a quiet restaurant (I know this is not exactly what you call ‘nightlife’) and settled in to talk about our hopes for the year and engage in the necessary countdown to midnight.

(Gird your loins for a self-help-ish, personal-fulfillment, the-stuff-of-Hallmark-film sentiment): for me, the night was a starting point for changes I wanted to make this year – celebrating, getting out more, and enjoying my life (which obviously means more sewing). I embraced the fact that I don’t tend to enjoy your typical nightlife but made sure I didn’t spend New Years going to bed early so I could be productive the next day.

I created vague sewing goals: mostly, my goal is to make sure I keep at it. I’m happy to report that as of October, I’ve kept at it nearly each week.

A lot of that sewing has been practice: muslins for projects I want to do, practice with cheap fabrics I have on hand. These practice pieces don’t make for the most glamorous photography but they’ve been an important part of my learning curve that will (hopefully) produce more glamour in the future.

Here’s a trial run for a knit version of this top:


The beginning of a practice session: creating a pattern from a (threadbare) t-shirt:


More to come…

Footnote: I do not recommend freelance anthropology for two reasons: (1) it does not pay

(2) you are in danger of being labeled a pseudo-intellectual

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