catnip for the ladies

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 23 12:56:51 UTC 2014

A recent _Vanity Fair_ quoted Ava Gardner in the 1980s as describing Mickey
Rooney as "catnip for the ladies." (No, I am not making this up.)

659,000 Google strikes.


1943 _Billboard_  (Jan. 9) 20: Frank Sinatra....Boyish appearance and
mannerisms all catnip for the ladies.

1949 Parke Cummings, in _Collier's Mag._  (Nov. 12) 59 : Everybody on the
street knew that the big tenor was said to be catnip for the ladies, so the
women writers would snicker and ask Willie if he couldn't sneak them into
Kirk's dressing room some dark night.

1952 _Elyria [O.] Chronicle Telegram_ (June 12) 36:
It is mighty nice to have put 50 years away and hear that you are just now
becoming catnip for the ladies, but the sad truth is that you never hear
this until you are 50 years old.

1962 _Blytheville [Ark.] Courier News_ (March 8) 6: The darkly handsome
[George] Maharas [sic]..."busted out" of New York's Hell's Kitchen to
become catnip for the ladies.

Cf. later(?) "feline" attached to femininity.  And of course the P-word
(perhaps a preconscious influence on all this?).

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the

The American Dialect Society -

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