We're all familiar with that at-times painful disconnect between our mouths and our rational thought. After all, if there's one thing we're really good at as humans, it's embarrassing ourselves via a slip of the tongue. Cue the "don't say it" meme, and the Internet's current obsession with it.
drunk as shit at a party My brain: Don't say it Dont say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it me: put country roads on— duck (@duck) 1542087562.0
Waiter: *enjoy your meal* My brain- Don't say it Dont say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say i… https://t.co/e8ZN7fCgzK— Dartunorro D. Clark (@Dartunorro D. Clark) 1541955263.0
*Gets in taxi* My brain: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… https://t.co/oHVWCZVkh8— George Aylett 🌍 (@George Aylett 🌍) 1541614461.0
*sees road work ahead sign* my brain: don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say i… https://t.co/Y91RKLUrvk— maddie ♒︎ (@maddie ♒︎) 1541932123.0
Everywhere you turn, there seems to be another person (or brand) using the meme to joke about impulse ordering, drunk decision-making, or painfully predictable small talk. And as someone with chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, I spent a good two hours hard-relating to every minor social faux pas described in the "don't say it" search results. But while I was scrolling, I also couldn't help but notice that the same type of joke was popping up over and over again. And even weirder, it seemed like it was almost always a young woman making it.
Amongst innumerable, light-hearted cracks about supersizing your fries and dad-level cornball jokes were a large number of women going viral for making very similar jokes about their tendency to apologize for literally everything. From the classic "sorry for saying sorry" move to joking about scenarios in which they apologized for little more than existing, women far and wide banded together via an observation that, while nothing new, was probably one of the more relatable quips to emerge from the "don't say it" phenomenon.
*does nothing wrong* Don’t say it Don’t say it Don’t say it Don’t say it Don’t say it Don’t say it Don’t say it D… https://t.co/nFkKGYs5p1— xena (@xena) 1542223346.0
someone: “stop saying sorry you did nothing wrong” My brain- Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say… https://t.co/l7bugR1zom— taryn (@taryn) 1542159082.0
me: expresses any type of emotions don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it d… https://t.co/DjEKyUxKvc— millie (@millie) 1542042836.0
person: *does something rude to me* me: don't say it don't say it don't say it don't say it don't say it don't sa… https://t.co/TUBYJBtUCr— Alanna (@Alanna) 1542155051.0
them: “stop apologizing for everything” *my brain* don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it me: “sorry!!”— annemarie🌙 (@annemarie🌙) 1542223569.0
But amidst the myriad of ways this format could be used, why were so many women immediately drawn to the same exact observation? And moreover, why do they continue to be unified by their habit of outwardly chastising ourselves, even if they know better? In that sense, perhaps "don't say it" is the perfect meme format for this. After all, what's more cringeworthy than continuing to adhere to the societally dictated desire to placate and please literally everyone but yourself?
It should go without saying that our tendency to shoulder the guilt of everyone else's burden or defer to the needs of others is a perennial problem. And while many of us will still apologize at inappropriate times as a knee-jerk reaction, at least this meme is somewhat of an acknowledgment that many young women are aware of the toxicity of this ingrained thought process. Hopefully, this also means they're beginning to catch themselves mid-apology, but the fact that it also continues to resonate with hundreds of thousands of people shows we still have a long way to go. But, again, recognition is definitely a start. So, in the meantime, I guess the only thing we can do is to keep retweeting and stop apologizing. Maybe that is, unless a Freudian slip is involved.
Welcome to "Internet Explorer," a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter's finest roasts, "Internet Explorer" is here to keep you up-to-date with the web's current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.