Someone took me to task recently on Twitter for using the word “chump.”
The exchange went something like this: “I’m not a chump! A chump means stupid person. My wayward husband is the chump!”
I replied that chump means a gullible person — someone who was conned, played for a fool.
Then I looked it up on Webster’s and sure enough —
Full Definition of CHUMP
Examples of CHUMP
- <the guy trying to unload that used car must have thought that I was a chump>
Origin of CHUMP
A person who is easy to trick. See, the reason I like “chump” is that inherent in the meaning is the maliciousness of a con — a malevolent person who is out to fool the unsuspecting. I also like the word because using it hits certain emotional high notes — do not be fooled again! Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of! And yes — don’t be stupid!
Now, of course, every loving spouse is a chump because trust makes us unsuspecting. It’s not stupid to trust someone, especially your spouse. But (as chumps) it IS stupid to trust someone who is a villain. And once someone is exposed as a villain (a cheater), you’d be a fool to trust them again.
So, guys, chump works for me. I MUCH prefer it over the soppy “betrayed spouse.” We are more than our victimhood. Chump is hopefully a temporary condition. You see the con, you’re on to it, you stop being a chump. Betrayed spouse to me seems forever burdened by the modifier “betrayed.” You’re never a “former” betrayed spouse. Nope, betrayed you were and betrayed you shall remain.
And don’t even get me started on “wayward.” I’ve ranted about it before, but suffice it to say, I prefer the unvarnished “cheater.” Language matters. I like calling a thing a thing.
Another reason I like the word “chump” is because it’s a way of owning our own sweet stupidity. The way we attribute good intentions to everyone, our “love all the hurt away” super optimism. Our naiveté. And it’s also a way of owning our experience, taking a mild slur “chump” — and empowering it. (Although, yeah, I don’t like the word “empower” much, but I can’t think of a better word right now.) I was CHUMPED. That cheater must’ve thought I was an IDIOT to take that kind of bullshit.
After I explained my word choice in a 140 characters or less, the person came on to say that her wayward husband WAS fooled — by the other woman.
Geez. I really hate the narrative common in unicorn circles that the Real Problem Here Is Predatory Other Women.
Do they exist? Of course. Should they matter? No, not if your spouse has boundaries and respect for you.
Look, even if some cheater dude was helpless in the face of another woman’s charms, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he CONNED you. He still lied, and gaslighted, and cheated — and played YOU for the fool.
So Twitter lady, whoever you are — you’re a chump. I’m sorry. Join the club.