Sociolinguistc rule?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 23 01:15:16 UTC 2009

When grossly-obscene black slang or jargon that doesn't have one of
the words, "fuck" or "shit," in it leaps the color bar, it become
merely hip.

When, in a discussion of the word, "cock" = penis, I suggested a
possible connection of this via "cock" = tap through "tap a keg of
beer" to BE "tap that ass" (in cases like this, _that_ is some kind of
intensifier that's something like a spoken nudge and a wink: "You
gnome sane, right? Heh! Heh! I'm talking about fuckin' that heifer!").
At the time, I was practically in a cold sweat, because "tap that ass"
is considered to be truly obscene, filthy, and disgusting language
whose existence women aren't even supposed to be aware of. Unless they
be who'es, of course. This is the one of the stonest bits of stone
guy, men's-room talk, utter gutterspeak.

So, I'm watching a scene in a re-run of Bones in which two white men,
a white woman, and a woman of unclear race are discussing "dating,"
about which word I'll have more to say, below. Finally, one of the men
expostulates, "This is no time to be talking about _tapping ass_!"

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

Way back when, "dating" meant asking your best girl out for banana and
a movie, followed by a little cuddling, maybe even a hand on her
thigh, if you had a car and got lucky.

Then there was the other "dating." If wasn't nothing else happening,
you might decide to show up on the set and cop a taste of strange. In
the old days on the corner, a casual glance was insufficient to
separate the "nice girls" from the "business girls." (These phrases I
picked up from English-speaking - practically everybody in Amsterdam -
Dutch. I've never heard these phrases, here in The World, where a
similar situation held true.) But. no problema, of course. The
business girls would approach you and ask, "You wanna date with me?" I
have never been able to parse this. Is it, "Do you want a date with
me?" or is it, "Do you want to date with me?"

IAC, there's now a direct connection between the words, "dating" and
"fucking." BTW, I'm not claiming that the current situation originated
by way of the situation described. I mean it only as an anecdote
describing one situation in which "date" was coincidentally used as a
cover-word for "fuck," as in the current language.

As they say on The Judges:

Q. How long have you-all been involved in a sexual relationship?

A. Well, we first met at a New Year's Eve party, but we didn't start
dating till three weeks later and then he moved into my apartment. We
stopped dating in November, but he wouldn't move out and wouldn't pay
no rent. Just stayed sleeping on the couch.
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

The American Dialect Society -

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