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I need a non-sexist, non-sexualized aternative instead of "Calm your tits."


Clarification: The question comes from the parent of a pre-teen with Tourette Syndrome. The parent (me) needs some alternatives that will appeal to said pre-teen, but which will be less offensive to the parent, in the style of habit reversal.

The alternative should not be gender specific.

It needs to be something that a 12yo would find at least slightly funny.


Update: "Don't get droopy, Snoopy," is working pretty well as a transition phrase.

  • 6
    Calm your jets is common enough. Strange to take an uncommon (at least I never heard it), sexist remark and ask for a gender-neutral counterpart when there are already so many that are more common... It's kind of like asking "What's another way of saying 'colder than a witch's tit' without gender?" – anongoodnurse Jul 24 '15 at 6:02
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's spam. The meme has been bounced around the internet and made in into the Urban Dictionary. Look there for alternatives. BTW ngram shows zero hits. So calm your tits; don't throw a fit; just quit bothering us with this s#%t. – Brian Hitchcock Jul 24 '15 at 6:26
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    Not spam. The question comes from the parent of a pre-teen. The parent (me) needs some alternatives that will appeal to said pre-teen, but which will be less offensive to the parent. And please don't tell me to just discipline the child. He has Tourette Syndrome. – aparente001 Jul 24 '15 at 14:02
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    It should be possible to find a normal expression as " Don't get excited" for this low-level and vulgar expression by using the dictionary. – rogermue Jul 28 '15 at 8:22
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    Just in reply to the second commenter: This is definitely a common phrase. I don't know why ngrams has so few hits; but it's very common where I grew up (Alaska) and fairly common where I currently live (Chicago); and I have a similar problem to the original poster, although from the other side. (as in, it's been a major part of my vocabulary for my entire life as an idiomatic alternative to ‘calm down’; and I'm just now realizing it's misogynistic and offensive.) – ELLIOTTCABLE Nov 15 '15 at 16:18

14 Answers 14

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+50

I recommend trying something sing-songy and verging on nonsense, in hopes that the very doggerel aspect of it will have catchy appeal to a 12-year-old. For example:

Easy-peasy, don't be sleazy.

or

Keep cool and don't drool.

Both of these have, besides goofy rhymes, a vaguely suggestive component ("sleazy" and "drool") that seems indefinitely subversive without actually being particularly offensive. Unfortunately, my first suggestion might do better with an 8- to 10-year-old than with a 12-year-old, and the second one can easily mutate into "Keep a cool tool, fool," which uses tool in a sexually ambiguous way and in fact is part of a longer piece of junkyard rhyme that removes any ambiguity in that regard.

Another option might be

Don't lose your fuse.

which recommends (kind of) against metaphorically blowing up.

Not so very long ago, every 12-year-old under the spell of The Simpsons delighted in quoting Bart Simpson's catch-phrase "Don't have a cow, man!" on the least provocation. But fashion being what it is, you might have to subject your child to weekly marathons of early-season episodes of The Simpsons to get buy-in from him on that wording—and it still might not happen.

In any case, I wish you luck in your search for an inoffensive alternative to the catchphrase that you are currently struggling against.

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  • You are on the right track, @SvenYargs. The fuse phrase is promising, but it would work better with one more word at the end. This child responds strongly to rhythm and rhyme. Something like "Don't lose your fuse, muse." – aparente001 Jul 28 '15 at 5:53
  • You've given me the idea of "Keep your cool, fool", but this makes a little too much sense maybe. "Chill your shorts"? – aparente001 Jul 28 '15 at 5:56
  • I just realized that the cow is too evocative of the tits. – aparente001 Jul 28 '15 at 5:56
  • Keep your _____ (something) _____ on. Have to be careful here with the items of clothing. Hat? Would connect well to "About a week ago" - where you take your hat off and toss it behind you. (Current popular song.) – aparente001 Jul 28 '15 at 5:58
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    @Jake Regier, unfortunately, we're there already. Tourette's is driven by hormones and the coprolalia is starting to take off. But the expression "calm your tits" tends to get expressed directly to me, and it gets on my nerves, so I want to offer an alternative. – aparente001 Jul 28 '15 at 23:00
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If you wanted to be gender-sensitive, you could say to males, Calm your mits. or Calm your man-tits.

The alternative versions work:

  1. Take a chill pill.
  2. Calm down!
  3. Woah, there.
  4. Woah, Nelly! Naayyy! (like a horse)
  5. Chill.

More alternatives can be found here.

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  • Number 4 is my favorite, albeit the least common. :) – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 17:14
  • The link doesn't help at all, @Tkdestroyer2, but thanks for trying. It really needs to have some of the silliness that appeals to 12yo boys. ... I hesitate to suggest "Take a chill pill." It has a bit of the right tone, but in this case I'd rather find something else, because my child does actually sometimes have to take a chill pill (a small dose of a benzodiazepine), e.g. when tics or OCD symptoms are so strong they're keeping him up all night. – aparente001 Jul 24 '15 at 21:54
  • @aparente001 Well, good luck. – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 21:56
  • The closest I've gotten is "Don't get your underpants in a twist." I think the original is knickers, shorts or panties. But I want to get him away from gender specificity, and from sexual organs. I need a phrase that a 12yo would find at least slightly funny, though. – aparente001 Jul 24 '15 at 21:58
  • I think that'll work. I still remember that "Under there!" - "Under where?" - "lol you said underwear" joke – Tyler Kropp Jul 24 '15 at 22:16
5

Cool your jets. Simple, similar, safe.

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5

The most genuinely annoying thing to be told - but highly amusing to everyone else - as you're blowing a gasket, by a young person is:

  • Chillax, man!

This portmanteau of chill and relax is quite snappy and you'll also actually hear it around. This has no sexual connotation but is useful for the speaker because it makes them look cool and drives the person they're saying it to up the wall (or can make them, laugh if they're not genuinely losing it).

We tend to say Man in this way to everybody regardless of gender, so I doubt it would ever be considered gender specific in a derogatory way. However, you'd be able to lose the man, keep quite a close fit to the original, and have a rhyme if you you substitute in a random name for man:

  • Chillax, Max!

Hopefully, the excruciatingly annoying Chillax and the rhyme, in combination with being able to call someone the wrong name while they're flying off the handle, will appeal.

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    Note that Max can be used for both men and women :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Aug 3 '15 at 11:30
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    Very nice! In the relative scheme of things, I would rather hear this than Calm your Tits. – aparente001 Aug 3 '15 at 12:09
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Regarding your mention above that “Keep it droopy, Snoopy" would permit your son to make a (less offensive) connection between tits and drooping, with the hope that he'll be able to branch out from there, you could also consider, for a similar reason and with a similar hope, the following expression for “relax[ing] and stay[ing] cool”:

Hang loose, [Mother Goose]

(The Free Dictionary, with “Mother Goose” added);

or a variation thereof:

Keep it (‘em?) loose, Mother Goose.

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  • Cute! The only problem is that it's gender specific. – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 3:58
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Maybe it matches less the situation described, but I like very much a sentence: 'Hold your horses'

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  • Sorry, not creative enough, i.e. not out of the box enough, for this child. It's sort of old hat. – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 3:59
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........ Slow your roll, turbo.

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  • This has the right sort of tone. Bad luck, that it won't work for us. A slightly older boy with Tourette Syndrome that we met at a conference had a head-rolling tic and his parents had come up with a self-esteem-building phrase, "That's just the way John rolls." I think my son will remember that. I don't want the new phrase to have a connection to TS. – aparente001 Jul 31 '15 at 4:04
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cool your boots

Edit to add Cool your boots, sunshine sunshine is often used somewhat ironically here, as they're often not being a ray of sunshine!

Very generic!

calm down petal

Has the same offensive feeling, especially when used against an alpha male type getting angry!

As per my comments, petal is comparing them to a delicate flower petal, so again used somewhat ironically as it's a great phrase to use when someone is boiling over in rage. By using an affectionate term for them, it suggests that you find their words like a cute mewing of a kitten ;-)

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  • I like cool your boots but it needs a comma and another word after it. I hope someone can make a suggestion. ... I don't understand petal. Is that some new slang I'm not familiar with, perhaps? – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 14:22
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    Perhaps, cool your boots, sunshine? petal as in the petal off a flower. So it's very much a belittling phrase, by comparing them to a delicate flower. – RemarkLima Aug 1 '15 at 15:04
  • Is petal a Britishism? I've never heard it here in the northeast U.S. – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 20:45
  • Almost certainly I'd think! – RemarkLima Aug 1 '15 at 21:07
  • I like Sunshine as a name for the parent to call the child, but I don't think it works as a suggestion for the child to call the parent. – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 22:50
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The question is a bit unclear, but I am assuming that the request is for the parent to have suggestions for better phrases for the teen to use? In that case, the dynamic of teen/parent interaction is key. If the kid is saying "calm your tits" and knows it bothers their parents, then that alone may be reason for them to keep using it! Had a similar situation with my teenager who went through a period of calling things he didn't like "gay". All appeals to reason did not work - at all. Frustrating the heck out of him by acting totally oblivious and responding with protracted sessions of questions wore him down.

Gay? It doesn't look happy? Does it make YOU happy? Oh? You mean homosexual? So you're saying its perfectly fine just different than you? Oh - you mean it's cool like my buddy Jeff who is DEFINITELY gay? Is it just gay? Or is it lesbian too? I mean, it's just not clear what you're trying to say...

He found another phrase all on his own.

Calm my tits? I've worked hard for these man-boobs and I have really excitable nipples. Is that a problem? Your mom actually likes that about my boobs. I'm real fond of hers too. Always have been...

Having a teens parents go on about how much they appreciate each other sexually aught to clear up that phrase in a BIG hurry!

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  • I edited the question to try to make it clearer. I'm glad to hear the approach you describe worked with your teenager but it won't work with my tween because of the Tourette's. – aparente001 Aug 3 '15 at 14:55
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Keep your shorts on or keep your hair on.

Going off your suggestion 'Keep your _____ (something) _____ on.'

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0

I would suggest "give your chest a rest". It retains the idiom, takes away the offensive word and adds a humorous touch by way of the rhyme.

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  • Thanks for trying to help me out but this is still gender-specific, and it's so closely related to the original tits phrase that I'll still be perceiving that lascivious giggle and get annoyed. As a parent of a Tourette child I have to do what I can to build up my tolerance of a lot of nonsense -- so if I can eliminate a few particularly offensive phrases I'll have an easy time staying cool. – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 20:48
  • Don't blow your fuse? – Joost Kiefte Aug 1 '15 at 21:11
  • Don't rattle your pram? – Joost Kiefte Aug 1 '15 at 21:11
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    don't lose your fuse. If you pronounce this with a Scottish accent it rhymes, can't go wrong. – Joost Kiefte Aug 1 '15 at 22:57
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    It seems that the OP would like you to edit your answer and include this last suggestion. However, users are rejecting his suggested edits in the review queue. I checked before giving the thumbs up, but I'm in the minority. If you wouldn't mind, please add "don't blow your fuse" and "don't rattle your pram". Thanks. NB. Don't lose your fuse has already been suggested by Sven Yargs. – Mari-Lou A Aug 2 '15 at 15:17
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This suggestion is going to sound cheesy but I must say take it easy (Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary). It taken to mean please relax, as an imperative suggestion to remain calm depending on the context, making it easy to incorporate into the vocabulary. It is also nice because it is almost as short as the phrase it's replacing, "Calm your tits!" which is only one syllable shorter.

It also has special signification to the admirers of the japanese computer game series known as Touhou Project by Zun. Although the original games are fairly innocent, it should be forewarned that some of the admirers are immature, vulgar, derisive and talented people, who sometimes create obscene art. You would probably need to supervise his direct access to Touhou subject matter if he became interesting in it.

However, although sometimes loathers make it gruesome, this is generally one of the overall more innocent fads amongst enthusiasts:


" The Yukkuri shiteitte ne!!! (ゆっくりしていってね!!!, often translated as "You should be taking it easy!!!" or "Take it easy") is a very common meme amongst the Touhou Project fandom, which involve giant, disfigured heads resembling those of Touhou characters, often referred to as "yukkuris". It originated on 2ch on October 13, 2007, when an anonymous user tried to replicate Shift JIS art of Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame, but failed horribly. However, another anonymous user thought the failed attempt was hilariously humorous and responded by drawing the infamous original picture. " [pics. omitted]


"Text content of Touhou Wiki is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, a.k.a. CC-BY-SA 3.0. "


Enthusiasts have much folklore regarding these amorphous heads and their legendarily irritating laziness. It has in ways superseded the popularity of their source materials

The relevance of this is that since this is related to a fad that's very popular amongst Japanese animation lovers, it should be relatively easy to get your son to pick up the phrase with amateur made "study materials" that might catch his interest. Well maybe, it's harder to find fully translated stuff. You'll want to download the pictures since some of the other pictures on Safebooru might be a inappropriate for a 12 year old. Limiting myself to pictures with the idiom of interest I can find:

Also this is probably not related to Yukkuris, except through coincidence but Hatsune Miku (Have you heard of her?) knows how to take it easy, although that is mostly in Japanese.

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    I doubt take it easy will appeal to the same American 12-year-old boy who was used to to saying "calm your tits" – Mari-Lou A Jul 31 '15 at 4:53
  • Perhaps it might not in the niche context I've highlighted (which was an in-joke amongst certain members of the older teen male demographic) but even if that is the case, it still might in one of many other ways. I've noticed "take it easy mofo" (or its uncensored equivalent) occasionally used as an alternative to "take it easy man", similar to how "calm your tits" is ultimately a (more frequent than I thought) alternative to "calm yourself down". If mofo is added, it doesn't solve the problem but the phrase can stand on its own and it is noted as Am. E. by Cambridge. – Tonepoet Jul 31 '15 at 17:27
  • @Tonepoet, you're right, I do need to steer clear of mofo. – aparente001 Aug 1 '15 at 4:00
  • I had a funny idea and swapped the order, resulting in Take it Easy, Cheesy. I might try this one. – aparente001 Aug 3 '15 at 5:01
  • Oh, I should of thought of that... I think I've even heard that one before. "Take it easy, peasy" too come to think of it. Good luck. – Tonepoet Aug 3 '15 at 5:48
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On 8/3 in the evening I ran the following past my son as proposals for him to use as a substitute phrase:

Take it easy, Cheesy

Don't lose your fuse

Cool your boots, dude

Keep it droopy, Snoopy

He rejected the first three, and corrected the last one. He feels it has to be

Don't get droopy, Snoopy

(I forgot to propose a couple of the good ones, e.g. Chillax, Max. I doubt he'll go for this, since there is a Max in our cast of characters.)

Back to don't get droopy. He is making a very clear connection to the original (tits) that I want to eliminate -- but now it's more subtle. I accepted this as a compromise.

With tourettic OCD, there's a strong need to repeat something, perform something (like putting a glass down on the table repeatedly), say something, until it feels right. So a substitute phrase won't work if it doesn't feel right to the individual.

On my part, I am trying to veto any phrase that gets my dander up. I can live with his droopy phrase because I know that when he's making fun of my droopy shape, he's doing it affectionately (we have a running family joke about this). Also note that I don't consider droopiness to be gender-specific -- maybe that's just me.

Since this is so subjective, I am going to award the bounty to the person(s) who helped me the most.

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1."Cool your heels." or 2."Cool your beans." The first referring to holding onto something or idea so strongly that it drags one, causing friction on dug-in heels, and the second referring to a hot pot of gaseous legumes that need to be cooled before being consumed eventhough the gas is still an inevitable side effect.

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