Arnold M. Zwicky
zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Jan 24 17:26:48 UTC 2005
on Jan 24, 2005, at 8:49 AM, i wrote:
> On Jan 24, 2005, at 2:36 AM, neil quoted:
>> "Now," she murmured, sliding her hand down his back to his hirsute
>> She pulled at the firm, muscles of his rear, feeling the coarse,
>> affluent hair stiffen under her smooth palms.
>> -Alex Ayers, 'The Soldier's Wife', Greenleaf Classics, San Diego,
> ... arnold, marveling at the conflict in tone between "hirsute" and
probably the result of cycling through (near-)synonyms, a common
practice of inexperienced writers, of those who have been taught not to
repeat words (but haven't been taught to maintain a consistent tone),
and of writers in certain genres (for instance, porn/erotica). in two
sentences we have "ass" and "rear". "bottom":, "posterior",
"buttocks", "butt", etc. might well be lurking in the neighborhood.
"hirsute", meanwhile, looks like an elegant substitute for "hairy",
which in this context would a bit too vividly physical; "hairy ass"
would be right out, though "hirsute posterior" might have worked.
(eventually i'll report on some discussion from soc.motss a while back
on "cock" vs. "dick"; a number of americans reported that "cock" seemed
more sexual to them than "dick".)
arnold, noting the nice displacement in having the man's *hair* stiffen
under the woman's smooth palms
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