The Poseur’s Guide to Speaking Hawaiian is specifically for those type of people who never actually go to Hawaii, but claim to have. You can increase the believability of your outlandish claims by becoming a poseur who talks the talk. Don’t worry about walking the walk, but it wouldn’t hurt to grab some hula lessons down at the Learning Annex.
Since most people who have never been to Hawaii are likely to ask you about the state’s most famous cuisine choice, it makes sense to start your poseur’s education here. Poi is a pasty treat made from pounded taro that has been allowed to ever so slightly ferment. The primary taste is a kind of sickly sour and thickness varies considerably for this purple passion of Hawaiians.
The poseur should be aware that this is the title of a song by Cowboy Nation and that the Kinman brothers used to front Rank and File back in the 80s and were members of The Dils in the 70s. Just in case it comes up. Paniolo is a song by Hawaiian cowboys because, well, that’s what a paniolo is.
It’s just a pineapple. A very fancy word for pineapple.
What the poseur seeks above all else. Akamai is a Hawaiian term meaning smart in a way that is both clever and wise. As in, “You’re so akamai…and old.”
The poseur who seeks to convince others that he has actually been to Hawaii needs to know about the Kona Wind just in case you come across someone who actually has been to the 50th state. Kona Wind comes from the south, make the air so humid you could almost drink it through a straw and comes across the leeward side of the Hawaiian island. People will ask you is it true that Hawaii is such a tropical paradise that you don’t even need air conditioning. Your answer should be something along the lines of “That’s true until the Kona Wind blows from the south at which point your tropical paradise feels more like New Orleans.”
Pu Pu: Okay, it’s not what you think. Pu Pu is merely an appetizer of hors d’oeuvers that can range from Ritz cracks to raw fish. Make the nightlift of Hawaii come to poseur life by discussing which nightclub offered the bets Pu Pu platters.
Aloha: Okay, you know that Aloha means both hello and goodbye, so your poseur attitude might want to make a reference to a famous Beatles song. What you may not know about Aloha is that it can be used as a parting greeting conferred best wishes upon someone and it can be also be used as reference to the kind of romantic love that is publicly expressed in so many places in Hawaii.
Kai: Kai can make the difference between success and failure as a poseur. Hawaiian businesses routinely make use of this funny word (the K sound is the funniest in the English language, don’t ya know) and if you spent all that time in Hawaii that you are pretending you did and didn’t ask what kai means, you will be viewed as either a liar or idiot. Let’s say 70/30. Kai is the Hawaiian word for the sea, which means so very much to the natives, residents, tourists and Jim Nabors.
Pudge: Pudge is a fish that controls the weather. It is considered proper to give pudge a peanut butter sandwich, but for Pele’s sake don’t give him a tuna sandwich. He’s a fish. That would be…an abomination.