When I was a little girl, it was bad form for a middle-class lass to play Brown Girl in the Ring and actually wine when she had to “show them her motion,” as the game instructs. Today, that kind of mild schoolgirl wining is passé. I’ve seen tiny tots wine down to the ground at Carnival time, displaying a wondrous nonchalance to how far we’ve come in just twenty years.
Jamette culture is truly ascendant. The word jamette comes from the patois “diameter,” meaning someone from the fringes, a socially unacceptable person. Well, what’s on the fringes depends on your centre. Wining, which was once jamette behaviour, is not only acceptable now, it’s celebrated.
At Carnival, people of all colours and social strata engage in wining. To wine, if you don’t know, is to move your hips and waist in a “winding” motion, hence the name. The dance is peculiar to calypso, although someone with real skill and dedication could wine to any kind of music.
I have identified roughly twenty terms associated with wining. There are few words in our language, this lilting thing that is Trini, with such versatility. Wining not only has fine and delicate gradations — degrees of wine, as it were — but has come to have particular resonance as a metaphorical act. Wining, in metaphor, is an act of insouciance, of superiority. I didn’t just beat you; I wine in your face.
The actual wine, the thing done typically between a man and a woman, to music, at a party, has come to mean so much more than what it is. How a wine is carried out could portend the start or the end of something, or indicate a person’s stature or lack of it. For, even with the democratisation of jamette culture, a real enthusiastic, no-holds-barred, down-to-the-ground wine reveals you as either an artist or a member of the working class. The converse, the barely-there social wine, marks the pretender to class and status.
You’ll hear these wining terms in calypso and soca (I love when calypsonian David Rudder sings, “She do a dollar wine on the party line”, in the classic “Ballad of Hulsie X”), but increasingly they are creeping into everyday language.
Wine up: to wine vigorously
Wine down: to wine while lowering the bottom to the ground in a squat
Wine around: to wine in a circular motion, or to move around while wining
Tief a wine: to creep up behind or in front of someone and wine on them surreptitiously
Take a wine: to boldly do same
Give (someone) a wine: to allow someone to wine on you; a pity wine
Wine back: to actively participate in a wine initiated by someone else
Wine to (music): self-explanatory
Small wine: a short wine
Hard wine: a particularly vigorous wine, usually on someone
Slow wine: a wine to a slow song, or on every other beat
Sweet wine: a wine that feels good, arousing
Dutty wine: a wine with bad intentions, a true jamette wine, uninhibitedly sexual
Rough wine: wining fast and hard, usually with someone
Social wine: a polite, non-sexual wine, done by someone who either can’t wine well or who wants people to think they’re too high-class to wine well
Stiff wine: an awkward wine lacking the fluidity of spine that characterises a fine wine
Tourist wine: the half-a-beat-out-of-time and amateurish wine practised by tourists who don’t know the art
Dollar wine (after Colin Lucas’s 1991 hit “Dollar”): to wine from left to right, then back to front. The song lyric invites you to put a one-cent piece in your left pocket, five-cent in your right, ten-cent in your back pocket, and a dollar in front under your belt; then you thrust your hips in the following pattern: cent, five-cent, ten-cent, dollar
Wine in time: correct wining, done to the dominant beat of the music
Wine out of time: incorrect wining, done to the offbeat or no beat at all
Walk and wine: in a display of sauciness or impertinence, or overt sexuality, a woman (or man, usually gay) may walk while shaking her bottom
Wine on (someone): to wine against someone, either facing them or from behind
Wine in (someone’s) face: metaphorical. To trounce, to lord it over someone
Wine off (one’s something): to wine so hard that something surely must be broken
Just a wine: Though a wine could mean more, sometimes it is just dancing and nothing else.