One of the things I love about old movies, old songs, and detective novels from the likes of Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and Raymond Chandler, is the great vernacular. It further adds to the feel that the 30s and 40s is this cool, arcane world with its own reality, its own set of rules, and a language all its own.
Take Minnie the Moocher
(please). In the first three lines of the song we learn Minnie is not only a moocher, but also a “lowdown hoochie-coocher” and “the roughest and toughest frail.” In other words, Minnie was infamous for taking all she could get away with taking, as well as rough, tough and pretty slutty. You see, a moocher*
is someone who gloms on to whatever he or she can get, hoochie-coocher
means sexually promiscuous, a frail
is a woman, and lowdown
means, well, not so nice. (She also liked to “kick the gong around”; in other words, Minnie hearts opium.You see, “dame” is only one of many terms folks in the Great Depression had for the chromosomally Y-challenged half of the population. Here are some other words meaning female:Ankle (as a verb this means to walk)
Ace of Spades (widow)
Babe or Baby
Ball and Chain (wife…hmmm, sensing a pattern here)
Better Half (wife…that’s better)
Biddy (oddly enough, a young woman)
Bim or Bimbo
Blimp (stout woman)
Blister (Ugly or old woman)
Bundle of Rags (wife…sheesh)
Cookie Pusher (wealthy young woman)
Cuddle Cutie (prostitute)
Dawn Patrol (restaurant lingo for a young woman who regularly patronizes the joint very early in the morning)
Demi-Tasse or Demi-Rep (prostitute)
Doll or Dolly
Filly (young woman)
Floozie (not a compliment)
Frump (sloppy or critical woman)
Gid (young woman)
Golddigger (woman only after dough)
Herring (an incorruptible girl — Herring was the brand of safe that couldn’t be dynamited open )
High Jumper (young woman fond of liquor)
Iron Pants (chaste woman)
Jailbait (teenage girls)
Continue reading Words For Women: Get the Hang of 30s Slang
Sure, you can get an MBA, you can read Seth Godin religiously, you can webinar it up til the cows come home, but have you ever considered studying the marketing genius that lives under your very own roof?
I’m talking about your dog.
If you don’t have one, let me introduce you to one . . . → Read More: Your Dog is a Marketing Genius!
I didn’t think I’d ever be married, and I doubt anyone did either.
First, I am what people generously term, “a character.” (I don’t think I am, but maybe that’s the point.) Also, when you’re pushing fifty, live with 2 dogs and 4 parrots, your chances at finding Mr. Right, or Mr. Anyone, are, . . . → Read More: I Didn’t Want to Give Up, SO I Gave Up: How I Found My Husband
The 1940s and Depression era “girl reporter” embodies everything I could ever want to be. The very quintessence of dame-ness, she’s smart, savvy, confident, independent, and quick with the comeback. (She also looks pretty steppy in her fitted suit.) As adept at a snappy line as she is with a byline, . . . → Read More: Girl Crush on Girl Reporter (Wish MY Name Were “Torchy Blane”)
Lately I’ve been having all kinds of epiphanies up in here. Not “meaning of life” stuff, but staggeringly obvious insights that mostly annoy me with their tardy blatant-ness. Some are unimportant, of the “Hey, it is a soul-deadening waste of time to keep up with the Kardashians!” variety, but others are more substantive.
Ever . . . → Read More: If I Had a Ribbon Bow (aka Why I Need a 37th Little Black Dress)
I’ve written about low self-esteem before; I feel like a bit of an expert, a connoisseur even. I can spot lurking insecurities at 50 paces, which is why I’m always so flabbergasted when anyone says they’re surprised I’m not as confident as I appear.
Anyway, it’s a problem that casts a shadow over one’s . . . → Read More: Low Self-Esteem? Big Whoop.
There’s this show on USA Network called Fairly Legal (a hilarious take on barely legal, get it?) that I’ve only been able to stomach watching once or twice. But to be “fairly”, I came into watching the show with prejudicial feelings. Prejudicial feelings of the sort that made me want to throw a heavy object at . . . → Read More: Lawyer? I Barely Touched Her!
I have long been powerless against the cherry. Not the kind you eat, the kind you wear. For reasons not entirely clear to me, from time to time clothing manufacturers and designers put cherries on dresses, blouses, purses, barrettes, shoes and I don’t seem to be able to help buying these fruit-festooned garments. I’m . . . → Read More: I’ve Got a Cherry on My Back