Let's All Stop Saying "White Whine"

Illustration for article titled Let's All Stop Saying "White Whine"

We need a less problematic phrase to describe the times when we find ourselves complaining about silly things. (But let's not stop making fun of ourselves for complaining about silly things.)

"This is so White Whine, but I'm having the worst day because the housekeeper was two hours late and I had to go to a cafe where they didn't have outlets."


- Me, three weeks ago.

"This is really White Whine, but they were playing that horrible Train song at the gym so loud today that I couldn't even hear my Nerdist podcast."

- Me, two weeks ago.

"My wallet's too small for all my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight!"

- Chandler Bing, Friends, a million years ago.

People have always complained about problems that aren't really problems. (Probably.) But only recently have we developed the self-awareness to regularly make fun of ourselves when we do it. This is a good thing, because everyone hates a person who complains about the little inconveniences that come with living a comfortable lifestyle without acknowledging its absurdity. And we all have our own levels — as a renter, I will hate anyone who uses the word "contractor" in pretty much any context, and the me of just a few years ago would be like "housekeeper what? STFU future me!"

Terms like "White Whine," which came into the vernacular a few years ago with a website of the same name give us the shorthand to acknowledge that the "problem" we're complaining about is ridiculous, while still allowing us to get it out to the people who know us best. (That late housekeeper really messed up my workflow!) But lately I've started to feel weird about it, the way I used to feel weird about saying "white trash" (I've switched to calling the willfully ignorant people who dominate my Southern hometown the slightly less problematic "rednecks." Yes, I know I shouldn't be calling them any names at all, Mom.)

It's not a big deal or anything but I just think we need a new term. Having a housekeeper (or a contractor, or problems deciding on a $250/roll wallpaper for the foyer) aren't inherently "white" things at all. The phrase was intended to make fun of white people who do this, but aren't we beyond that now? We need a new phrase. I'm not saying it's racist or that anyone has been running around using it with malice in their hearts, but it's just kind of awkward. Let's figure out a new term. (But not "First World Problems," which commenter Ailatan pointed out last night is problematic for its own different reasons.)


So, "Rich Whine," anyone?

(I would like to be the first to point out that this entire post itself is a total White Whine.)




Never heard of the phrase "white whine" before. Sounds stupid. "First world problems," however, I don't get the deal with why that's so bad, but that's because I use it to refer to something completely different that what most people seem to be thinking? Like, I use it to describe somebody complaining to the effect of, "Ugh, I wish mr. boss man would buy better coffee for the break room. I can't stand how bitter it is, I'm going to have to walk all the way to Coffee Shop That's 2 Blocks Away." From what I've read hear and in the linked comment/responses, it seems like a lot of people here have only heard it used for stuff like "I'm so lonely," or "I only got 4 hours of sleep last night." Which... doesn't make any sense to me.

My favorite recent "first world problem" was a friend complaining that the new microwave worked too well and her food was too hot and she couldn't eat it yet but ugggggh she was so hungry. It's like... oh no, the expensive technostove works TOO WELL, you might have to wait 30 seconds before eating, rough fucking life! And you don't say it condescendingly, you say, "aww, first world problems," and then you both laugh and remember that stupid shit like that is not actually a problem, we're just so used to having shit easy that we find any reason to complain.