Proverb enlargement!

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Jan 26 14:22:46 UTC 2010

1964  Phyllis Kronhausen and Eberhrd Kronhausen, _The Sexually Responsive Woman_ (New York: Grove) 75 (quoting a therapy client): "Someone said the size doesn't matter, but it certainly seems to matter to _me_. The times I came nearest to orgasm were all with men who were rather well endowed" (italics as shown).

1977  Lonnie Myers, "Size Does Matter," _Penthouse Forum_ 6, no. 4 (Jan.). The saying, with the emphatic auxiliary verb _does_, probably originated as a rebuttal of the proverb "SIZE doesn't matter"--as a so-called "counter-proverb."

"Counter-proverb" is a term that paremiologists sometimes use to designate an overt negation or sententious-sounding rebuttal of a proverb--an explicit denial of the proverb's asserted truth. Not infrequently, counter-proverbs become proverbs in their own right.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 08:58:56 -0500
>From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> (on behalf of Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>)>
>I was reminded of the following by the "size of the boat and the motion of
>the ocean."  (Not to mention the leer at the pier, the feel of the keel, the
>cast of the mast, the mannin' of the cannon, the slide of the tide, the
>swish of the fish, the slam of the clam, the droop of the poop, and
>the likely shock at the doc. How could anyone let those go to waste?.)
>For some years I've heard TV newswomen (not men) exclaim jokingly whenever
>context allows, "Size matters!" and "Size does matter!"
>It's become a cliche' (or a proverb, whatever).  That's my point.
>Well, younguns, I guaran*******tee you that you could not have exclaimed
>that on national TV, regardless of context, before (I'm guessing now) the
>late '80s or early '90s.
>A GB search (not easy) seems to turn up no reliable ex. of either form (with
>or without "does") other than in focused industrial applications, before
>ca1969.  That was about the time that the Sexual Revolution revved into high
>media gear. And no outright proverbial interjections ("Size does matter!")
>till 1984 - in _Ms._ magazine.
>ISTR, around 1972, discussions among female college students about the rival
>cliche' (possibly popularized in Alex Comfort's bestseller about doing it)
>that "size doesn't matter."
>Does anyone doubt that the proverb started out as a focused
>counterclaim?  And that everybody knows it?  (That may not be true of robot
>antiquarians of the 22nd Century. See
>Most Freudianly fascinating is that "Size doesn't matter!"  has *never*
>become a generally applied proverb.

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