"sloppy seconds"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 15 21:03:57 UTC 2008

FWIW, your analysis seems right to me. When I first heard the phrase,
it referred to what all  participants other than the first stud got in
"pulling 'the train.'" I heard it in the context of the act of rape.
However, in Amsterdam, I saw plenty of instances of "the train" being
pulled that didn't involve having the woman against her will. The
"coaches" of the train were usually dumb swabbies - they were always
in uniform - who either had no idea that they were in a sexual
paradise or had no time to waste availing themselves of the local

Among my friends, the concept of "sloppy seconds" was mythological in
any case, to say the least, there being no train-pulling group of
rapists either among us or known to us. By the time that we had
graduated from high school, the term was obsolete. The phrase was
unused in the military, though I did once hear tell of the act having
been perpetrated against a German woman by GI's from my post. But
*not* from my unit.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Mon, Dec 15, 2008 at 1:37 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
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> Poster:       Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      "sloppy seconds"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> a while back, but still of linguistic interest.  (pointed out to me,
> separately, by Victor Steinbok and Jonathan Falk.)
> first the story...
> Avery suspended indefinitely for comments related to ex-girlfriends
> ESPN.com news services
> Updated: December 3, 2008, 6:29 PM ET
> [Sean] Avery was punished indefinitely by commissioner Gary Bettman
> for using a crude term about his former girlfriends now dating other
> hockey players. Bettman acted within hours, in time to keep Avery out
> of the Dallas Stars' game against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
> Avery's inflammatory line came following a morning skate in Calgary,
> Alberta. Reporters were waiting to speak with Avery about disparaging
> remarks he'd made last month about Flames star Jarome Iginla when
> Avery walked over to the group and asked if there was a camera
> present. When told there was, he said, "I'm just going to say one
> thing."
> "I'm really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada," the Ontario
> native said. "I just want to comment on how it's become like a common
> thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I
> don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight." He then
> walked out of the locker room.
> Avery's ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert of the television show
> "24" and the movie "Old School," is dating Calgary defenseman Dion
> Phaneuf; she had been romantically linked to Mike Komisarek of the
> Montreal Canadiens. Avery also dated Rachel Hunter, the former Sports
> Illustrated swimsuit cover model and actress who is now the girlfriend
> of Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll.
> .....
> then, of course, the apology (though not directly to the ex-
> girlfriends or the players they are now dating)...
> Stars LW Avery issues apology for televised comments about ex-
> girlfriends
> Associated Press
> Updated: December 4, 2008, 1:22 AM ET
> DALLAS -- Suspended Dallas Stars agitator Sean Avery flew to New York
> on Wednesday for a meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and
> gave a likely sample of what he'll say by apologizing for comments
> about his former girlfriends.
> "I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-color remarks to the
> press yesterday from Calgary," Avery said. "I should not have made
> those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate.
> "It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now
> acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary
> embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in
> the past [possibly an indirect reference to the other players and
> Avery's former girlfriends they dated].
> "I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the
> commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars
> management and ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on
> and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I
> took it too far."
> .....
> several things to comment on here, in particular the gravity with
> which Avery's crude talk was treated by the NHL brass and the lameness
> of the apology (though lame apologies like this one pretty much follow
> a script, as we've noted many times on Language Log).  but my main
> interest is in Avery's use of "sloppy seconds".
> the Urban Dictionary  --
>   http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sloppy+seconds
> --
> has several entries that get at the core use.  this one (#3) is the
> most decorous (it does give a nominal expression a verb definition,
> but that's a common feature of UD definitions): "To engage in sexual
> intercouse where ejaculation has previously ocurred in the orifice by
> another male within a short time frame. The sperm and semem [sic] is
> then used as a natural lubrication by the second male. Although the
> term may be used to describe both vaginal and anal intercourse with a
> male or female, it is traditionally used to describe vaginal
> intercourse."
> definition #2 provides a sense extension: "Any decrease in provision
> size or quality do [sic] to a hiearchical ranking among men."  with an
> illustrative example: "When the fraternity entered the bar the bothers
> were allowed to pick dates first while the pledges got sloppy
> seconds."  that's essentially 'second choice(s)' (but restricted here
> to male-ranking contexts).
> a somewhat different extension appears in definition #5: "Alas, this
> word has now leaked into general usage and people are taking it to
> mean 'ill-fitting hand-me-downs'."  that's essentially 'second-hand
> item(s)'.
> i take this sense (which i wasn't familiar with until the Avery thing
> came around) to be close to Avery's sense, though Avery's use was
> clearly sexual, and the items in question are women.  so the
> substitutes "ex-girlfriends" and "former girlfriends" aren't really
> accurate -- unless you understand "my girlfriend" to mean 'woman i am
> screwing'.
> all these extensions shift from "sloppy seconds" (a mass expression)
> denoting an activity, primarily in "get/have sloppy seconds", to
> "sloppy seconds" (a count expression) denoting a woman (or women), as
> in Avery's "fall in love with my sloppy seconds" 'fall in love with
> women i have screwed'.
> meanwhile, there's Sloppy Seconds ("a Ramones-influenced punk band
> from Indianapolis that started in the mid-1980s", according to
> wikipedia), the 2006 movie Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (with
> "seconds", 'second helping'), the 2008 movie Feast II: Sloppy Seconds,
> a card game Sloppy Seconds (in which the object is: "Score the SECOND
> most number of points of each suit in each hand"), references to re-
> makes of movies as "sloppy seconds", references to plagiarizations as
> "sloppy seconds", and goodness knows what else.
> and, of course, guys blogging that they'd be happy to take Sean
> Avery's sloppy seconds.
> by the way, the NYT didn't shy away from "sloppy seconds" in this
> movie review (of Vicky Cristina Barcelona) from 8/20/08:
> Sloppy Seconds
> Woody Allen fails to capitalize on a threesome with his sexy act
> By Armond White
> ... Rebecca Hall plays Vicky, the brunet BFF of Scarlett Johansson's
> Cristina (the Iberian spelling goes unexplained). These sisterly
> American tourists are seduced by a suave Spanish painter, Juan Antonio
> (Javier Bardem, another Woody draftee cashing in on his recent
> celebrity). Vicky drops her pants, then her Yankee prudery, unlike
> thrill-seeker Cristina who insists to Juan Antonio, "You have to
> seduce me."
> Through this sneaky, sloppy-seconds friendship, Allen pretends
> complexity but merely confuses basic emotions.
> .....
> arnold
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