The Correct Word For Thongs Is “Jandals” And I Won’t Hear Otherwise

Literally the WHOLE WORLD outside Australia thinks that calling them “thongs” is straight up cooked.

thongs versus jandals

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Welcome to Junkee’s most pure column: Heartfelt Rants About Extremely Petty Gripes, where very funny people get mildly peeved about something stupid, such as thongs versus jandals.

I’m generally a very cheerful person. My mum always taught me to look for the positive, and I do. They see the storm clouds, while I see the chance to bust out my gold glittery gumboots.

Once upon a time I thought this was a good trait, but many people (read: my dearest friends) have repeatedly assured me that my eternal optimism is grating, and indeed fallacious in the hellfire of 2018.

Hey, things might be bad in Canberra/the White House/the planet generally — but the only way is up, guys!

So when I started brainstorming a list of my petty gripes for this column, I struggled.

Don’t get me wrong, plenty of trivial things annoy me … but I find it hard to move past my knee jerk reaction to them.

For example: my friend Steve loves to go to comedy gigs with me, but I spend most of the time praying the comic will bomb so I don’t have to hear his affected, way-too-loud “look at me, I totally get the joke!” laugh. SHUT UP, STEVE, THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU.

But then, I inhale, I exhale, and as a performer myself I mentally thank people like Steve for attending live gigs at all.

I wanted to put another example of something trivial that annoys me here, but I literally can’t think of anything. Slow walkers? But then again, I walk slowly sometimes. This is hard.

Blame it on over-zealous primary school teachers, or the fact I grew up on a diet of Shirley Temple and Doris Day, but I just don’t like sitting in the feeling of being annoyed.

So, I guess I won’t write this column and instead I’ll pop down to the beach for a lovely day of relaxation and sunshine. Sorry. I’ll just grab my hat and jandals — oh. OH. Hold up. There it is. Hoo boy. An active love meditation isn’t going to save me now.

Sorry, Doris. Strap in.

Thongs Versus Jandals

Do you have an extra butt on your feet? No? Then WHY do you call them “thongs”, Australia?

“Thongs”. I feel sick just typing it.

Look, Australia has been very good to me, and I’m very grateful to it. I arrived in Sydney as a wide-eyed transfer student, and have stayed for almost a decade. I love it here.

Except for a few jokes about how often I shave my feet (because all Kiwis are hobbits, obvi), I’ve had a great time.

I’ve picked up an Aussie accent. I no longer flinch at cockroaches. I have an Australian passport. I can pretend you actually have a shot at winning the Bledisloe. You know, cute Australian things. But it doesn’t matter how Aussie I become. No, no.

Even if I slowly morph into Crocodile Dundee himself, I will never, ever say “thongs”: the word is jandals.

Jandals Is An Objectively Adorable Word

Jandals. Say it aloud. Right now — try it. “Jandals”.

What a delightful word. No one can be sad when they’re talking about jandals. Why would you not use this word? Do you hate joy? It’s adorable, and it makes sense.

It’s short for “Japanese sandals”, and the term has been trademarked in New Zealand since 1957, because it’s important to protect what is sacred. Speaking of sacred, National Jandal Day usually falls in December — not long to go!

Feel free to change your ways, use the correct terminology and show the humble jandal some respect.


Thongs means something different to what you think it means.

Spoiler alert Australia: Sisqo’s classic is not a song about a foot fetish. Thongs. Are. Underwear. And louder for the people at the back: THONGS. ARE. UNDERWEAR.

And I don’t wear underwear on my feet. Okay, sure, jandals do look a bit like g-strings for your feet, but let’s have some class, shall we?

View this post on Instagram

Sexy socks and jandal look

A post shared by Dame Valerie Adams (@valerieadams84) on

And no, this isn’t some cute Kiwi-Hobbit thing, this is a world thing: literally the WHOLE WORLD outside Australia thinks that calling them “thongs” is straight up cooked. AMERICANS feel superior to you over this and look at you in disgust and confusion. Americans. Come on, people!

It’s simple: you go to the beach, you wear your jandals and togs, you grab a nice drink from the chilly bin — oh god, the chilly bin! You shouldn’t call them eskys! Yeah, I know it’s a brand name, but it’s short for Eskimo! It shouldn’t be up to brands to choose cultural nicknames. Besides, Australia, your racism game is already strong. You don’t need this.

“Chilly bin” is not only yet another adorable and satisfying phrase, it makes total sense: a bin that will keep the contents chilly. I need to find a Bridie-sized chilly bin right now because my blood is boiling.
You can keep pretending you invented the pavlova and you can keep claiming Russell Crowe, but I will defend the word jandals until the day I die. Which might be soon, because my housemate is hulkishly enraged that I’ve attacked her sacred footwear.

God defend New Zealand. I need a cuppa.

Bridie Connell is an actor, writer, and has appeared on Tonightly With Tom Ballard and Whose Line Is It Anyway.