X marrying Y <> Y marrying X?

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Sep 11 15:28:21 UTC 2007

On 9/11/07, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> At 2:44 PM +0000 9/11/07, ronbutters at AOL.COM wrote:
> >One would think this would have applied to sodomy laws as well, but
> >I know of at least 2 cases of consentual sex in which the man was
> >found guilty and the woman was not.
> But as President Clinton taught us, "have sex with"--in at least one
> sodomy-relevant context--is not a symmetric predicate even if "marry"
> is.  After all, he explained, Monica Lewinsky had sex with him, but
> not vice versa.

Was that really how it all went down (so to speak)? My recollection
was that both parties tried to claim that the relevant acts didn't
constitute "having sex", so there was no asymmetry. Let's go to the


LEWINSKY: We didn't have sex, Linda.

TRIPP: Well, what do you call it?

LEWINSKY: We fooled around.


LEWINSKY: Not sex.

TRIPP: Oh, I don't know. I think if you go to if you go to orgasm,
that's having sex.

LEWINSKY: No, it's not.

TRIPP: Yes it is.

LEWINSKY: No it's not. It's

TRIPP: It's not having

LEWINSKY: Having sex is having intercourse.

TRIPP: Oh, you've been around him too long. That's his


TRIPP: rationale.

LEWINSKY: That's well, that's my then I've had sex with a lot more people.

TRIPP: Oh? (Laughing).

LEWINSKY: Having sex is having intercourse. That's how most people would

TRIPP: Oh, so (REDACTED) jobs and all of that don't count?

LEWINSKY: They don't count.

TRIPP: Oh? Well, see? You have to inform me

LEWINSKY: Those are guys that you just fool around with.

... TRIPP: You mean it's less personal to give a (REDACTED) job than
to have intercourse?

LEWINSKY: No, not necessarily. Sometimes. It depends.

TRIPP: I guess it depends.

LEWINSKY: It really depends.

TRIPP: Yeah, I'm getting an education late in life.

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

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