Richly hirsute

Wilson Gray wilson.gray at RCN.COM
Tue Jan 25 19:38:44 UTC 2005

On Jan 25, 2005, at 1:41 PM, neil wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       neil <neil at TYPOG.CO.UK>
> Subject:      Re: Richly hirsute
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> on 24/1/05 5:26 pm, Arnold M. Zwicky at zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU wrote:
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>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>> Subject:      Re: Richly hirsute
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> --> -
>> 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
>>>> ass.
>>>> 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,
>>>> 1969?
>> 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".)
> 'Dick' doesn't even get a mention in 'The Anonymous Pornographic Genre:
> Language, Sequences, Plots, Publishing and Pressures', Other Scholars,
> New
> York,  Number 1, April 1973 - though the writers do observe that:
> "Prick is
> obsolete because of its popular usage denoting stupidity, foolishness."
> I take it that the unfamiliar word below is another porn-writer's
> attempt at
> erudition. Not in my 2-vol Shorter Oxford, but I presume it means
> 'sheep's-eyes'.
> 'With a supreme effort she managed to shift her gaze from Dick's arm
> [under
> Rene's skirt]; as she looked at Rene's face and saw the agnuopic stare
> of
> those green eyes and the wet, parted lips, she received confirmation
> of the
> woman's enjoyment.'
> - Marty Machlia, 'Electric Swap', Greenleaf Classics, San Diego, 1970,
> 129

My word! This stuff makes "Ten-Four: Sex Life of a Cop"  from ca.1960
read like Shakespeare!

For those of us who learned our English south of the Mason-Dixon Line,
continually having to remember to read "cock" as "dick" renders the
former *far* less erotic than "dick," I'd wager. All pornographers
should be forced to use "love muzzle." Then, even when it's
overcorrected to "love muscle," it's still less jarring than the
Northern "misuse" of "cock."

-Wilson Gray

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