"Beard" = 'cover story' without gay/straight context

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Jan 5 03:52:11 UTC 2005

At 7:20 PM -0800 1/4/05, Dave Wilton wrote:
>It was the season four episode, in Act II of "Fear, Itself." The script is
>dated 8 Oct 1999. The episode was first broadcast 28 Oct 1999:
>"BUFFY  Oh, he was such a pain! Twelve years old and I can't go
>trick-or-treating by myself.
>"[They're both laughing now.]
>"JOYCE  He wanted to keep you safe.
>"BUFFY  Nuh-uh, he wanted the candy. I was only the beard."
>--Dave Wilton
>   dave at wilton.net
>   http://www.wilton.net
It may be worth noting that the gambling uses of "beard" predate that
of the opposite-sex-companion one in HDAS, although obviously the
1971 citation of the latter in Bruce Rodgers's _Queens' Vernacular_
reflects prevailing usage (he has "known in Las Vegas mid-60's" for
that use, which he defines as 'a woman who dates homosexual men to
help them socially; to date a women to prevent suspicion of being
homosexual').   The gambling uses go back to 1955 in print but was
apparently extant much earlier:

"T. Betts", _Across the Board_ 15 [ref. to ca 1920]: I played horses,
using men as betting commissioners, or "beards" as they were called
at the race track.

op. cit., 171:  He needed a beard on this coup; he never could have
bought it on his own.


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