Cheburashka (чебурашка)

Cheburashka (чебурашка) is a slang to refer to young gay boys, including minors. The origin of this expression is found in the name of one of the main characters in a series of children’s stories by the writer Eduard Uspensky, which began in 1966 with the publication of The Crocodile Gena and his friends, and which would later become cartoons.

As we have read, it seems that this expression phonetically resembles the Russian expression to define something stiff and limited in movements, such as the rolly-polly toy, those vertical dolls that no matter how much you knock them down, they always return to their vertical position. In the first chapter, this strange animal with big ears traveled hidden in a fruit box. When the box reached its destination, and the grocer discovered it, he exclaimed, you’re so dumb чебурашка! because the little animal, due to numbness, fell from the box to the floor. So this exclamation becomes its name. 

Photograph of the Cheburashka doll

Cheburashka, the Russian twink. Photo by Martin Abegglen used under CC BY-SA 2.0, resized and optimized.

We recently received an e-mail asking for an equivalent Russian term to the twink of the English language. If there is one, it would be Cheburashka. This expression, pronounced as chiburrasca, would have all the fundamental elements that twink has, as the association with childhood and lack of substance. The only missing thing would be a sweet Russian bun with that name so that the equivalence would be perfect.

This fictional character was the mascot of the Athens 2004 Olympic team, which also accompanied the Russian team in those of Turin 2006.

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