Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The difference between the willies and the heebie-jeebies

Sorry if this gives you the willies

At dance class tonight, Peter led us through a Japanese foot massage. At one point we were using our fingers to rotate individual toes in circles and I noticed Lainie making a face.

"Why are you grimacing?" I asked.

"This gives me the willies," she said.

"It gives me the heebie-jeebies," said Peter.

"Which is worse: the willies or the heebie-jeebies?" I asked.

Ian spoke up with a certainty that surprised me. "The heebie-jeebies."

"What's the difference?"

"You can run away from the willies, but the heebie-jeebies can follow you anywhere."

4 comments:

zoom! said...

I don't get the willies or the heebie-jeebies but every now and then I get the creeps.

David Scrimshaw said...

I was speaking with the other Dave tonight (yes, we still talk); and he contended that the creeps fall between the willies and the heebie-jeebies.

But I suspect the creeps are worse than the heebie-jeebies. The creeps don't just follow you around; they try to talk to you.

zoom! said...

The creeps get under your skin - there's no escaping them.

other Dave said...

It seems there is considerable debate about the differences between the creeps, the willies, and the heebie-jeebies.

From what I've recently read it seems clear that there is general consensus that the willies are the entry level feeling of uneasiness one can feel about a certain person or thing. This feeling can escalate to either the creeps or the heebie-jeebies depending how serious the circumstance. If you feel genuinely concerned, you get the creeps. If you are feeling more light-hearted and not personally threatened about the situation but still serioulsly uneasy, you've got the heebie-jeebies.

Usage example:
"That Lavalife guy, who knows where I work, gives me the creeps."

"That Tom Cruise, he gives me the heebie-jeebies."