Hubba-hubba [Was: Aw, naw he di?n'!]
hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 18 07:19:12 UTC 2010
On Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 9:03 AM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Well-bred young women of the nineteenth century were taught never, never,
> never, to "talk to strange men on the street."
> Because said strangers, by trying to (in a later idiom) "make a pass," were
> betraying their own lack of breeding and a possible disposition toward
> sexual predation. Furthermore, given the mores of the time, trying to pick
> up a strange woman implied that one thought she was "no better than she
> should be" (i.e., a slut or lower). Â This was regarded as an extreme insult=
> There was an excellent chance than a "masher" was also a dangerous drunk or
> lunatic. Â Worse, he could be recruiting for a "white-slave ring."
> And as if that weren't enough cause for violent reactions, remember that
> women were expected to be a little bit hysterical when flustered, and that =
> drunk, a criminal, or a maniac would likely be deterred only by screams and
> At least that's my understanding of America's formerly endemic masher
> situation. We have quite gone beyond it.
I see. No one has ever explained it to me that way before. ;-)
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.
Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
idiotic or unworthy.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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