[Ads-l] Quote: You don=?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=99t_?=pay them to come; you pay them to leave

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 15 17:56:11 UTC 2020

I received a request to examine a quotation about prostitution that
has been attributed to the actors Charlie Sheen and Jack Nicholson. I
found that Nigel Rees had asked about the saying in the October 2012
issue of his newsletter:

[Begin excerpt from the newsletter of Nigel Rees]
'You don’t pay a prostitute for sex: you pay them to leave afterward'
- widely-attributed to Dashiell Hammett, but a source? (Q4393) And
surely he would have written 'call girl' or 'hooker'?
[End excerpt]

The QI website now has an article on this topic:

The earliest evidence I located was a partial match ascribed
posthumously to actor Clark Gable by the journalist Adela Rogers St.
Johns in 1979.

[ref] 1979 (Copyright 1978), Love, Laughter and Tears: My Hollywood
Story by Adela Rogers St. Johns, Chapter 8: The Magnificent Gable,
Quote Page 316 and 317, A Signet Book: New American Library, New York.
(Verified with scans) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
His attitude was fairly simple, as he explained it to me one day when
he confessed that the lady I had seen leaving was, indeed, an
expensive import from Madam Frances’ establishment.

“Why would you do a thing like that,” I said, “when all you have to do
is whistle? Or grin?”

“That’s why,” he said. “I can pay her to go away. The others stay
around, want a big romance, movie lovemaking. I do not want to be the
world’s great lover and I don’t like being put on that spot.”
[End excerpt]

Additional early citations and feedback welcome

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

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