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So just what is Swagger?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by prekosifa

New words are forming all the time and one which has really got me confused is the word ‘swagger’. I’d say it has impressed me because I was told by a girl my eldest daughter’s age that I had ‘swagger’, and it was definitely a good thing. I took the compliment on the chin and wore a smile for the rest of the day. But the more I thought about it the more I realised that I didn’t know just what this swagger was or what qualities I had that enabled me to get it in the first place. Was it something you were born with or grew into? And did all of my friends have it? Can girls have it? Or is it called something different for the female of the species. So many questions…so little time to find out, but a good starting point is always the dictionary, and I m not talking Oxford or Collins, I am talking etymology. You see to understand a word, you have to really know where it came from, what made up its root. So it was with the internet at my fingertips that I embarked on my epic journey of discovery.

Conjuring up images of a drunken pirates illicit booty, (that’s ‘swag’ by the way),  it would appear that its origins are not too far away.
swag•ger (sw g r) v. swag•gered, swag•ger•ing, swag•gers v.intr.
1. To walk or conduct oneself with an insolent or arrogant air; strut.2. To brag; boast.
v.tr.To browbeat or bully (someone).n 1. A swaggering movement or gait. 2. Boastful or conceited expression; braggadocio.
All the ways that you would describe a pirate, meaning both Capt Jack Sparrow and Johnny Depp have swagger.

But these definitions are a little dated even if they are basically correct because ‘Swagger’ in today’s language has turned into something good, something to aspire to having, something that all the heads on the street think they have though many come up short and it is more than being arrogant and boastful. The Urban dictionary, which allows people to illicit there own definitions and opinions had over 50 definitions for the term had the following to say

‘How one presents him or herself to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the person’s walk’.

‘A person’s style- they way they walk, talk, dress’.

‘Poised, sassiness that can’t be touched. It may be in the walk or it may be in the talk, but there is no doubt it means you own the room and you have that natural charisma. Basically, one with swagger dominates at life’

‘A way of walking, normally showing authority. To swagger is to walk with presence. There are several different kinds of swagger…
The Tesco Bag Swagger – to walk with clenched fists at waist height while swaying as though carrying heavy grocery bags in each hand.

The Terminator – To walk as though rigid, with no swaying whatsoever and as though an android on a mission.

DnGaf – ¨Do not give a fuck¨ swagger – To walk without a care in the world, people get in your way… not a problem!’

And the list goes on and on and on, perhaps because this is a relatively new take on an old expression. With the many different definitions that exist, there appears to be certain things that hold true throughout all of them. so we could say that a combination of things need to be present to have swagger?

Attitude – And not just any attitude. Its a ‘I don’t give a fuck’ kind of thing. It’s not attached, it’s not concerned but it is passionate and it is unforgiving. Its the kind of attitude that makes you succeed in any scenario but best of all, it doesn’t even matter if you fail.

Style – more than just the clothes you wear, it is more about how you wear, the clothes you wear. When i was younger my older bro always use to tell me to ‘wear the clothes – don’t let them wear you’. This problem explains why 2 people can rock teh same outfit and have totally different results

Presence – Being able to walk in the room and be noticed by everyone before you say a word. Gives the suggestion that you exude some kind of magnetism, some energy or force that people react positively to.

Confidence – With confidence, the very essence of your being becomes someone who is cocksure, cool, calm and collected. But more importantly, in control even when they appear not to be

So who do we see as having swagger? Can women have it? And can anyone get it?
Well in the celebrity realm the list is endless, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Tyrese, Harry Connick Jr, and even Johnny Vaughan the radio presenter, Women like Angelina Jolie, Thandie Newton, J-Lo, Madonna and that girl from 90210, (although feminine swagger may present with a mix of diva-ness).

You see the more I looked into it, the more I realised that swagger isn’t just one thing, and because it is a combination and what works for one guy may not work for another. So in addition tot he 3 elements above, there are two more things that should be included,

Self Belief and Ownership
The person with swagger appears to have a huge amount of self belief that is the backbone to the above qualities and more importantly perhaps the indidual takes ownership of this and all of the other qualities.

So can anyone get it?

I would love to say yes but then that wouldn’t make me one of the special few and in truth I don’t know if it is that simple

So what do i think?
I think swagger is something else entirely. I think it is an unseen energy, a electromagnetic field that surrounds the individual and from which great things can happen. And this energy field protects the occupant giving him the feeling of invincibility, perhaps. Or maybe that is the stuff of dreams and science fiction. It works for me though and would explain why it is so hard to pinpoint but so easy to recognise.

And when all of these qualities are put together it gives us the ‘special’ walk, the unmissable smile and the likeability factor that makes us recognise this quality even in people we may dislike. The fact that now it is seen as a good thing whereas in the past it originally wasn’t does make me think though. Then again swagger conjures up this image of being your own boss and not taking orders from anyone. Something that a pirate definitely as and something that, in today’s world of Govt control and powerless populations, is an attractive and extremely desirable quality.

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