Horrid Words: Hunk

The word ‘hunk’ is greatly displeasing to me. It’s a vile word which conjures up all sorts of unimaginable horrors, so I’m at a loss as to why people use it to describe the chiselled good looks of a Captain America type.

For the past eleven years, I have worked in a medical laboratory. You really don’t want to know half the disgusting things I’ve seen – just let me assure you that people are really gross. Most of that time has been divided between anatomical pathology and microbiology. When we use the word ‘hunk’ to describe something (although hunk is not the generally used clinical term), the chances are that it’s a stinky wad of mucousy, odd-coloured, strangely shaped tissue/flesh, scale or slime. Not the sort of thing I want to associate with good looking men.

Don’t even get me started on the term ‘home grown hunk’. If you thought my description of hunk was gross, wait until you hear about the home grown variety. A home grown hunk sounds about as appetising to me as an old person’s festering, gangrenous, hairy, overly keratinised toenails. Actually, that’s pretty much what enters my mind when I hear that phrase. Ew.

If you do a Google Image search for hunk, twenty bazillion (that’s an actual number) pictures of oily, well muscled, shirtless (and sometimes pantsless) random men that I’ve never seen or heard of before show up, alongside pictures of Jason Momoa and Jensen Ackles (rightly so!) and inexplicably pictures of the Twilight and Gossip Girl twerps. Most of those dudes could be described in any number of ways without going anywhere near the word hunk and the images of festering petrie dishes of phlegm (except for the Twilight guy – he looks like he doesn’t know what a shower is).

So here is an exercise for you. Describe a traditionally good looking male, WITHOUT using the word hunk.

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3 thoughts on “Horrid Words: Hunk

  1. I would use either the phrase, “All American good looks,” Or, Well chiseled face, not an ounce of fat on his body, when describing either a hero or superhero that I’m going to write about.

    Interestingly, I only used the description, “A man in his prime, 6’3” on a good day, blonde, blue-eyed, dressed businesslike, at the end of his workday,” When describing myself for the lead role in the movie I’ve written. That was a tonal thing, I think. All I know is, this script has won awards, but they don’t tell you why you win, just that you have….

    • Those phrases accurately describe the type of man you’re writing about, so I get a clear picture of him in my mind.

      The second description, I get an image of a man who probably has a job that gets to him on occasion, although whether it’s from stress or emotion I can’t tell – but “6’3 on a good day” evokes an image of him being worn down at times and I assume it’s work related because of his attire.

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