Me: A what?
Risa: A bilch. My friend today told me that her sister keeps calling her a total bilch. What is that supposed to mean?
Me: Do you mean a bitch?
Risa: Yes! A BITCH!
Me: (sigh. stall. sigh.)
As I climbed into bed, I was dissatisfied with the over simplicity of my answer. The B-word is loaded with meanings, as we all know. "Bitch" is what women get called when they have power and aren't afraid to use it, even if it's used for good. It's what girls and women get called by others who are jealous of their looks, money, small waist or Ivy League smarts. It's what we get called when we are decisive and use clear directives rather than making our sentences sound like questions (i.e. "When I grow up, like, I think I want to possibly create a revolution and run the world?") It's what girls get called when they say no to a second date; won't help someone cheat on a test; don't share the favorite dessert they've been waiting for all day with the rest of the group. "Bitch" is pretty much a catch-all word for anyone with female parts whose behavior is getting in the way of someone else's needs...and we haven't even gotten to the verb definition yet.
In the end, it'd be easier to explain to Risa the hardcore swear words, such as the F-bomb, which may be crude, but is at least pure in its meaning.
I'm certain Risa and I will be revisiting the "bitch" conversation down the road with all its insidious complexities. It just didn't feel time yet. What do you think?