Sandbag: [verb] (sánd bāg) – to drop age/bracket categories in order to artificially elevate one’s relative status. Sandbaggers are typically mediocre/unimpressive individuals who failed/couldn’t cut it in their own peer group, and consequently reposition themselves in situations where their inadequacies are diminished.
Synonyms: Cradle-robber, washout
Background: Like many college students with a verbal Mandarin Chinese background but patchy reading/writing comprehension, I took a year of Chinese to fulfill my language requirement. Since there are so many college students with similar backgrounds, most schools offer a first year course specifically for the verbally-fluent-but-functionally-illiter
ate. Without fail, in every class of supposedly illiterate students, there are a few with perfect reading/writing comprehension who sneak in by playing dumb on the language placement test (thus ensuring that they will not be placed at a more advanced course appropriate to their real ability) with the intent of guaranteeing themselves an easy ‘A.’ My class was no exception – we counted six slackers who goofed around, blew off homework assignments and ignored study groups but nonetheless scored perfect marks on tests and quizzes on account of their existing knowledge. They became referred to collectively as ‘sandbaggers,’ by the rest of the students – from the fact that sandbags are used to artificially weigh down a hot-air balloon and keep it pinned below its natural elevation.
Over time, 'sandbagger' expanded in usage from labeling despised language-class slackers to more generalized descriptions other situations with the same dynamic. Specifically, the term is extensively used in the context of sexual/mate selection discussions, as “sexual sandbagger.” Sexual sandbaggers include unattractive Americans with zero interest in Russian language/culture who visit Russia with the intent of waving their U.S. Passports at poverty-stricken Russian women desperate to marry out of their country. Other variations include the utterly mediocre middle-aged man who failed to connect with/attract women his own age, and wind up chasing impressionable young girls and wowing them with his “worldliness” and “sophistication” that only elicits a dismissive laugh from his peers.
Usage: "Your sister is smart, pretty and finishing her PhD – why does she persist in carrying on with this college-dropout chronically unemployed sandbagger boyfriend as if he was the best prospect she could find?"
"I’d ask her out, but she’s way too young and I have no interest in sandbagging just because I needed a date."