"What are you doing in _those_ underwear?" [NT]

Baker, John M. JMB at STRADLEY.COM
Thu Apr 29 21:45:42 UTC 2010

        Gay = homosexual is well-attested by 1941, so that meaning
certainly cannot be ruled out on chronological grounds in 1938.  The OED
includes this among a number of pre-1941 citations of uncertain meaning.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Garson O'Toole
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 3:44 PM
Subject: Re: "What are you doing in _those_ underwear?" [NT]

Ron Butters wrote:
> What Cary Grant said was "gay," which in the 1930s ddn't mean
'homosexual' or (arguably) 'transvestite' but was associated with skimpy
garments worn by burlesque dancing-girls. Of course, he was wearing
Hepburn's nigjtclothes, not her undergarments. And his questioner said
"clothes," not "underwear"!

Here is a link to a YouTube clip of the relevant scene with Cary Grant
in Bringing Up Baby together with an except of dialog from IMDB.


Mrs. Random: Well who are you?
David Huxley: I don't know. I'm not quite myself today.
Mrs. Random: Well, you look perfectly idiotic in those clothes.
David Huxley: These aren't my clothes.
Mrs. Random: Well, where are your clothes?
David Huxley: I've lost my clothes!
Mrs. Random: But why are you wearing *these* clothes?
David Huxley: Because I just went gay all of a sudden!
Mrs. Random: Now see here young man, stop this nonsense. What are you
David Huxley: I'm sitting in the middle of 42nd Street waiting for a

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list