Let George Do It

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Fri Mar 23 00:29:38 UTC 2007

Here is the story I heard.  I have absolutely no evidence backing it up, so it may easily be an etymythology, but here goes:

"George" is a specific man, namely George Pullman, the inventor of the sleeping car.  Sleeping cars were manned by porters, who in memory of Mr. Pullman were generally addressed as "George".  Hence, "let George [the porter] do it."

If this story be true, there is a race-relations side to it, since Pullman porter is an occupation that was traditionally held by blacks.  (The original appearance of Rochester on the Jack Benny show was as a Pullman porter---he proved so popular that he was made a regular as Jack's Plautuseque butler.)

OT:  on the subject of "man-":  in 1968, in a discussion about a notoriously amorous secretary in our office, someone asked "What is the female equivalent of a "ladies' man"?  A "man's lady"?".  Also circa 1980 someone I knew defined "mandate" as "Margaret Thatcher thinks she has one", to which someone else responded "Don't let her husband find out!"

    - Jim Landau

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