[Ads-l] "Fish Without a Bicycle" Quote

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Oct 8 15:46:04 EDT 2016


I took a break from wondering whether I have to make a quotation about grabbing women "by the pussy" as my Quotation of the Year to revisit one of my favorite quotes of the past half-century.


Bill Mullins has pushed the earliest documented example of "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" back to June 5, 1976.  Garson O'Toole pushed the earliest attestation of the similar "[A] woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" back to May 5, 1976.


I have now found the following item in the Sydney Morning Herald, 25 Jan. 1975 (Newspapers.com): "We found this anonymous contribution to International Women's Year on a wall at Forest Lodge: 'A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.'"  The provenance of this discovery perhaps gives more credibility to the claim that Australian educator, journalist, and politician Irina Dunn originated "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" by writing it as graffiti in Sydney, Australia in 1970.


Fred Shapiro

Editor

YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS


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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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