“A girl in every port, and a port in every girl.” -- Anon
I overheard a Squid say that to a Grunt when I was an ankle-biter. It took me years to get the joke. It may say something about my predilections that I believed the “port in every girl” was of the fermented grape variety long before I realized it referred to the hoo-ha, the velvet purse, the tuna trap, the creaming vortex. (Jebus, really? A vortex? One word: Kegel.)
“Why, she’s crazier than a Cooter.” -- Mom
Bless my mother’s Ab-a-lama heart and her quirky sayings. Die-hard Dukes of Hazzard fans usually nod when that particular favorite is uttered. Everyone else snickers. I was in high school when I had to explain Harry Cooter was not the mischievous mechanic’s cousin, and should anyone ask if she’d like to visit Cooter’s Garage, she ought to politely decline. Her mildly disconcerted expression prompted me to further dance around the direct translation. Carpet cleaning? Pearl Fishing? Kissing the bunny? Tasting the taco?
“Generally speaking, it is in love as it is in war, where the longest weapon carries it.” – John Leland, Fanny Hill
I love euphemisms and innuendo. My hat’s off to the slyly bawdy. There is a real art to describing anatomy and sex in ways that do little more than titillate while falling far short of being vulgar. Sure, time goes a long way to neutralizing the once profane. The evolution of language allows us to view certain words and phrases without affront. We look back on tawdry Victorian-esq prose with giggle and a grin. Bubbies? Arses? Glimpses of stockings? Tributes to Venus? These days, even Byron is considered … tame.
“Hey, look at the tits on that one.”
“You think his sausage comes in its original wrapper?”
“I bet a pinkie could get stuck up that ass.”
If some second cousins of those comments were directed at me, I’d want to bathe with Brillo and brine. As a writer, I use that type of speech to make the character come across as a jackass. As a chick very much in touch with her disrespectful crotch-grabbing self, I can loll in the gutters with the best of ‘em. Why not? It’s easy to be base and crass. Does that make me a hypocrite? Nah. I’m aware that saying those things makes me an asshat, which is why I choose my timing and audience carefully. I’m not planning on banging, bumping fuzzies, donning a hunchback, or reversing the cowboy with any of my fellow cretins.
“His penis twitched under close inspection.”
“Her vagina was pink and moist.”
“His perineum was softer than his testicles.”
Gee, thanks, doc. I’ll grab my prescription for that frontal lobotomy on the way out. Clinical speech slams down an emotional barrier. It forces distance – something that’s extremely useful when counting the ceiling tiles at one’s OBGyn’s office. Male anatomy doesn’t have as many, erm, distancing terms – Penis, scrotum, glans, and testis. Okay, okay, I’ll give you Corpus cavernosum and Corpus spongiosum (both of which sound like some sort of Zombie birth-control). The parts of a woman’s genitalia are clearly named by men who never wanted the words uttered in public. Let’s start with Vagina and go from there -- Vulva, Prepuce of Clitoris, Pudendal Cleft, Frenulum, Urethral Orifice, etc. Give me a prim quim over a Swedish car any day.
“I'd like to stop with my baby tonight, and blow my top with my baby tonight,
but I'd be a flop with my baby tonight, cause it's too darn hot”
– Cole Porter, “Too Darn Hot” from Kiss Me, Kate
Props go to the artists of language. Yes, I’m ranking songwriters/lyricists right up there with poets and novelists. The masters are the ones who can cram three or five different meanings into a single phrase. Broadway song-meisters are some of the best at this. Rock and Rollers, well, they’re pretty good at taking slang and adding a sexual twist.
“Shake for me girl. I want to be your backdoor man.” – Robert Plant, Whole Lotta Love
Come on, we all know that means without having to think too hard, right? RIGHT? Well, what if Bon Scott made a similar offer? Is it really a similar offer?
“Pick up the phone, leave her alone/ It’s time you made a stand
For a fee, I’m happy to be / Your backdoor man” – AC/DC, Dirty Deeds
This, this is where euphemisms get really entertaining. If you think you’ve hired a hitman and a strapping dude with an affinity for anal sex arrives ... well, guess who’s going to get the bigger surprise. The guy with the stiffer package? The pistol with the longer barrel? The shooter who blues their gun better? The one who’s quicker on the draw or slower?
Come on down to the gutters and spend awhile getting in touch with your sniggering youth. There’s plenty of room, and new euphemisms just waiting to be formed. Pride isn’t welcome, prudes either.
“Whoever named it ‘necking’ was a poor judge of anatomy.” – Groucho Marx