So, when I was teaching, we used to have to make kids read out loud at the beginning of the year, mostly to just get a bead on how fluent they were at reading. Sometimes this really helped-- the kids who flat out couldn't keep up could, at a decent school, get help, and if an entire class had difficulties right off the bat, you knew how to attack your material, and how slow you needed to go.
One of the first things you get, though, as you're having kids do this (for points! Always for points!) is how often stuff that looks like it should be pronounced one way, is actually pronounced an entirely different way. (As Squish just said, looking over my shoulder, "It's like 'physical' suddenly has a P-H, when it sounds like it should have an F!")
I was sympathetic when kids had this problem-- I told them about how I read Alice in Wonderland when I was in the 4th grade, and for a year, I called people "Idots!" because that's how I thought we pronounced "idiot". (You may laugh. You may even kid me about "idots". The sting is gone now.)
Anyway... fast forward a couple of years to when Chicken was in sixth grade and the popular girl clique was giving her hell.
She called them "blondies". "She's a blondie, so she doesn't like me."
"Blondie? Why do you call them blondies?"
"Because they're blondies!" (As in "DUH, Mom, how could you not know that?")
Now I got it then-- the aryan girl's club in our area is particularly vicious, and although my family looks like white people, we are frequently not white enough for all the the militantly white people in our suburb. We don't like country, we enjoy reading, we love John Stewart and think the "No-Bama" stickers people have on the back of their cars here are racist, tacky, and ignorant, especially with the confederate flag. So all the blonde girls with highlights in the 6th grade and Victoria Secret boobs and high aspirations to become pregnant right out of high school were not going to be Chicken's peer group, bless their stunted, blighted souls. (Mommy is still upset about her little girl getting food thrown at her as she walked down the hallways of Junior High, can you tell? Fucking bullies. I hope they all have the same strain of herpes.)
Anyway, "blondies" they were-- but I never knew where that term came from.
Until Squish used it today. "Yes, so-and-so is a blondie, but she's really very nice, and there's only a couple of them in our school."
Maybe it was context. Squish's school has a more diverse mix of students, and she mentioned that.
Maybe it was seven years of being edited professionally and finally figuring out the difference between blond and blonde was the difference between male and female.
Whatever it was, I finally got it.
The hated girls in Chicken's junior high and the nice girl in Squish's grade school were BLONDES.
Look at the word.
And there you go. I know where Chicken got that term ten years ago, and I know where Squish got it now.
Lord, do I feel like an idot!