Hard Cheese

Apparently, in the 1960s in the UK, when people wanted to say something like “suck it up” or “get over yourself,” they’d say “hard cheese.”

I think it’s really pretty. I now also feel like having some cheese.

12 thoughts on “Hard Cheese

  1. “hard cheese”

    I don’t know if I’ve heard that one… I have heard of brits just saying “bad luck!” as a supposed expression of sympathy (which sounds to me more than a little like a taunt and not something I’d say to someone).

    One of the few british expressions I’ve taken over in recent years has been “can’t be arsed to X” because ‘be assed to’ doesn’t make any sense….

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    1. It’s all in how you say it. “Oh, bad luck!” said in a sympathetic tone and with a little grimace definitely works as an expression of sympathy for me (expat Brit). I’ve use it over here in the US on more than one occasion… perhaps I shouldn’t have?

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      1. “perhaps I shouldn’t have?”

        I learned of that expression listening to some Polish people who’d been on scholarship or exchange in the UK in the 1980s…. the difference in mealtimes and eating habits meant they were always hungry (a well known phenomenon since hunger is as much about eating times and particular foods as it is about having “enough” to eat form a physiological perspective) and the institutionally provided meals…. were not very filling. When they told an authority figure this, hoping for some sympathy… they heard “Bad luck!” and were stunned enough that they didn’t say anything else (and they didn’t have anything like enough money to buy extra food for themselves so they got used to being hungrier in the UK than they’d been in crisis stricken Poland).

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        1. Are you sure the authority figure didn’t reply “tough luck!” (which sounds more appropriate to the situation and is more akin to “hard cheese”)? “Bad luck!” doesn’t seem right for that exchange…

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          1. For years, I have read your avatar as “social dendrite.” It’s only when you capitalized the C that I noticed it wasn’t “social.” Amazing.

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            1. You’re not the only one 😉 I lower-cased it this time too but (unusually) was typing the comment on my phone and it autocorrected it. I am both social and in SoCal, so I never minded 😉

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  2. Not only in the 1960s… I am familiar with the expression and I was born in the late 1970s. It might tickle you to know that the expression has also evolved into “tough cheddar!” Mmmm, going to cut myself a slice right now 😀

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  3. “tough titties”

    I can’t think of any context in which “tough titties” would be an expression of sympathy…. expressions evolve but for me it sounds like a jr high school taunt…

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  4. Ah, but you have not lived until you have experienced the joy of Government Cheese.

    Hard, low moisture, crumbles all too easily when you try to slice, doesn’t slice well at all in fact, and does not make good sandwiches.

    If you’re on the dole, maybe someone’s taught you how to make cheese sauce out of it with some of the milk you also receive.

    Otherwise, suck it up, pleb, it’s crumbly hard cheese for you.

    Someone gifted me with a slice of the US Government Cheese variant many years ago.

    The US improves on the hard cheese model by hybridising Velveeta “cheese food product” with hard Government Cheese, making a cheese that slices better but is still not all that enjoyable on sandwiches.

    It will however make a really good cheese sauce if you melt it slowly, or at least that’s my take on it.

    I didn’t ask for another slice to test this theory.

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