Graffiti from God: Your Wednesday Word of the Week


By Carrie Sanders

Graffiti from God- SWANK

Seen in Los Angeles

Apparently there is a nationwide graffiti ring in America that consists of 3 taggers known as Bowser, Swank, and Repos. They have left their marks on public and private buildings from San Francisco to New York, and call themselves “CTD”, which stands for “Costing Tax Dollars.” It’s vandalism as grassroots political action and there is a huge following of Bowzer x Swank on Reddit and other media platforms.

Typically I don’t research the graffiti I capture and interpret, but as they have some renown I wanted to clarify that I am aware of their politics and aim. My take to “SWANK” is worlds away from global activism but rather a personal explication based on the unique place in the romantic world that I find myself in.

The 80’s acronym “Yuppie” (young urban professional) may be out of date but it’s widespread use spawned many other shorthand terms in US culture. My favorite phrase when I was married, child-free by choice, and making a fair amount of money was THINKER- Two High Incomes No Kids Early Retirement. But alas, my husband was not a thinker by any definition- he traded that life in to join the midlife crisis men’s club, LIARS- Lost In Asia, Reinforcing Stereotypes.

Which brings us to SWANK. I recently heard this as an acronym for Second Wife And No Kids. Let’s explore the acronym-mystic message of SWANK. Thinking about my life, I expect that I will fall into this category at some point in the future. At 42, the three card draw in my hand makes motherhood a very unlikely proposition- my age, endometriosis, and the fact that I left one of my ovaries in a landfill in Shanghai. In some circles of Peter Pan types that are repelled by any sort of responsibility (I am talking to you, men of Portland, Oregon), this makes me a sort of a golden goose in the dating world. No step kids to deal with! No baby daddies! And I look pretty good for my age to boot. It’s a niche I don’t particularly like, but I have the market covered.

Of course my male cohorts come with their own baggage. I fully expect my future partner will be divorced, like me, and to be completely honest I am not thrilled with the idea of being a step mom to young kids. Mostly I think I would be incredibly jealous that the man I am with shared something as special as bringing a soul into this world with another person, and sad that I couldn’t do this amazing thing with someone I really love. Truth be told, though, I have always been a bit ambivalent about having kids and I am not tormented by the idea of life without having them. I guess I am looking for a SHANK for my SWANK.

And let me just tag this on-Taking inventory and identifying what you want is a step toward living with intention. As the therapists say, you’ve got to name it to claim it. Being open to the evolution and changes in your relationship expectations is exercising self awareness- a political action of its own kind.


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