As a non-native English speaker (writer), I take my reality-show-watching very seriously. Where else can I update my language skills - from a book?? Bitch, please. The other day I heard a woman on E! speak about ankle strap shoes and she said that "women with curvier legs should avoid wide ankle straps at all times". The words and images emitted by the TV usually just float by and get deflected like my brain is a non-stick pan but this time those "curvier legs" stuck in my mind. What the fuck does CURVIER legs mean?! Are they crooked? No, that can't be it. Are they somehow deformed? No, that can't be either... Oooooh, I know. She meant fat. She used a euphemism for fat, trying to be polite and cute. Euphemism schmeuphemism, whatever. How do I know that's called a euphemism? Because thanks to my studies, my euphemism journey started a long time ago...
At the university during my... I can't even remember what year it was, my student years are pretty much a big blur, but that's not important at the moment. At the university, one of the classes taught by a Dexter-looking guy (and I don't mean Dexter from the TV series, I mean Dexter from the Dexter's Laboratory cartoon because the guy only wore black dress pants, a white button up and a black knit vest every day all year long) covered euphemisms. I and a couple of other people had to make a presentation about the topic and as it happened, I went out the night before our presentation. When I walked into the classroom the next day, I was very tired and still slightly drunk. Despite the odds, everything went smoothly and when it was time for a discussion, the professor and I started chatting away like two BFFs - about euphemisms. After the lecture was over, one of the classmates came up to me and said: "You're really into this euphemism stuff, you were so engaged in the conversion with him!" I mean... With a bunch of vodka atoms still buzzing around my head, everything seemed interesting. Even euphemisms! Let me see, if I can make them interesting sans intoxicating substances as well.
Euphemisms are indirect, non-offensive words and expressions used instead of something that might be considered offensive or unpleasant. Therefore it's no wonder that there's a sea of euphemisms for sex, vomiting, genitals, death, masturbation, toilet, basically everything and anything prudes say they don't like but secretly adore just as much as the rest of us. You might think that a euphemism is the same thing as a politically correct term, but it's not. If I give you the derogatory word "colored" and the word "black" to compare, what do you think "black" is? A politically correct expression or a euphemism? I'll give you a second to think... Think, damn it! If your guess is a politically correct term, then you're right. If you thought it's a euphemism, that would mean you think there's something wrong with being an African-American so you need a euphemism to make it sound better and you couldn't be more wrong. Black is just a politically correct term and not a euphemism, so don't confuse the two. But enough with the boring stuff, let's move on to the fun part.
I've taken the time and gathered some of the more entertaining and clever euphemisms and here they are:
- negative patient outcome (death)
- chronologically challenged (late)
- comfort woman (prostitute)
- economical with the truth (liar)
- domestic engineer (maid)
- restricted in growth (short)
- hide the sausage (have sex)
- armed intervention (military attack)
- well-hung (having a large penis)
- built for comfort not speed (fat)
- lady of the night (prostitute)
- bathroom tissue (toilet paper)
- cum-catcher (prostitute)
- pearl necklace (sperm ejaculated on a woman's neck and/or cleavage)
- pavement pizza (vomit)
- to drive the porcelain bus (vomit)
- to taste the rainbow (vomit)
- to ride the cotton pony (menstruate)
- shark week (menstruation)
- dishonorable discharge from the Uterine Navy (menstruation)
- anal hot chocolate (diarrhea)
- hippoglottamus (fat)
- golden shower (the act of peeing on someone for sexual pleasure)
- rainbow shower (the act of vomiting on someone for sexual pleasure)
- to grow a tail (to defecate)
- number 3 (ejaculation)
- cockpit (vagina)
Even though these might seem uncommon, euphemisms are more widely used than you think, because people just love to beat around the bush. Plus-size, escort service, exotic dancer, gentlemen's club and adult entertainment are all just "prettier" expressions for fat, prostitution, stripper, strip club and pornography, but somehow it all sounds better if you say "A plus-size lady escorted a man to a gentlemen's club to see an exotic show." Yeah, right. And I'm sure he gave her a nice pearl necklace after they had enjoyed some adult entertainment in their hotel room.
Hopefully I've managed to portray the fun side of euphemisms with this selection of examples. But none of the above, not even my Dexter-like professor, pavement pizza or cum-catcher triggered the need for writing this post. So whom (or what) do you have to thank for this insightful and undoubtedly life changing piece of writing? None other than a bottle of lubricant. Yup, that's right - lube. A few days ago, I was looking for my bottle of lube and when I found it, I started reading the label (I don't know who decides to read when put in a situation which calls for some lubricant, but apparently I do). The label read: personal moisturizer. Really? Personal moisturizer? So next time when I run out of my night cream, I can just moisturize my face with my personal moisturizer? Too much beating makes the bush unrecognizable, euphemism coiners, think about that.
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