[Ads-l] Looks like a little bridegroom on a wedding cake

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 18 05:25:18 UTC 2021

Laurence Horn wrote:
> Nice.  This descriptor brings to mind an analogous one,
> when George H. W. Bush (and perhaps also Al Gore)
> was regularly described as “every woman’s first husband”.

During the 1984 election Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro
challenged Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. A debate occurred
between the candidates for Vice President: Ferraro and Bush. An
article in "The Wall Street Journal" by Barbara Ehrenreich and Jane
O'Reilly discussed the debate. Bush was labelled "every woman's first
husband". This citation was the first match I found during a quick

Date: 1984 November 8
Newspaper: Wall Street Journal
Newspaper Location: New York
Article: They Didn't Really Intend Gerry to Have a Chance
Author: Barbara Ehrenreich and Jane O'Reilly
Quote Page 30, Column 6
Database: ProQuest

[Begin excerpt]
We didn’t need a real campaign to prove that a woman can run for vice
president, or better. While we held our breath and watched, she
debated the man who resembled every woman’s first husband and she
managed to do so without being too strident, too feminine, too
unfeminine, or apparently without even perspiring.
[End excerpt]

The remark continued to circulate in 1988.

Date: July 10, 1988
Newspaper: The Washington Post
Newspaper Location: Washington D.C.
Article: Sorry, George, But the Image Needs Work
Author: Curt Suplee
Quote Page 37, Column 1
Database: ProQuest

[Begin excerpt]
WIMP. WASP. WEENIE. Every woman’s first husband. Bland conformist.
These now shop-worn pejoratives are the essence of George Bush’s
"image problem" ...
[End excerpt]

The resonance of the expression is related to the number of divorces
in a society. The percentage of marriages ending in divorce has been
trending downward. The percentage of people who marry has also been
tending downward.

Website: Time magazine
Article: The Divorce Rate Is Dropping. That May Not Actually Be Good News
Author:  Belinda Luscombe
Time-stamp:  November 26, 2018 11:44 AM EST


[Begin excerpt]
Have you heard that statistic that half of all marriages will end in
divorce? It’s wrong. Even if that many marriages ever did disintegrate
at one point, they don’t now. Divorce is on the decline and has been
since the 1980s in America (when that 50% divorce statistic took
hold). Experts now put your chances of uncoupling at about 39% in the
[End excerpt]


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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list