03 November 2005

Narrow Escapes

Blogger was down, earlier today. For a while I thought this meant I would actually have to make a start on NaNoWriMo and my mind was scrabbling round for memories and ways to write characters from my dim and distant past, such that they wouldn't be recognisable.

Narrow Escape #1: Blogger is back up. I can come and procrastinate play on here instead, and leave my hyperactive subconscious to mull over the other stuff.

Narrow Escape #2 isn't actually mine.

Part of my NaNoWriMo research involves finding realistic alternative names for the older generations involved, and I went off in search of popular baby names of the 1930s. All I could find (sigh, sob) were lifestyle resources, which obviously involved me having to save far too many pre and post war advertisments to disk, for later mutilation.

This is a snippet from a cartoon-strip advertisment encouraging you to reinvigorate your man by giving him lots of hot Horlicks. (Yes, yes, I saw that pun too, its too easy and beneath you. Get back in your box.) I'd forgotten that being 'fagged' was once a socially acceptable term for being very tired and this led me down a short but enjoyable trail for other examples, such as plum tuckered, or pooped out.

Historically, fag was the title given to any first year boy at certain British public schools. Each fag was assigned a master from the older boys and set to running errands; cleaning rugger boots etc. A fag was a personal servant. The system stemmed from the assertion that the best schools were turning out world leaders and that, in order to lead well, you first had to experience the other side of the equation. To be fagged out meant to be run ragged, exhausted.

Obviously it took only a very small leap in a very small and underprivileged mind to decide that servant boys at elitist, all-male schools must be slaves, more than that, ones that, erm, received the brunt of their masters' more personal whims. To call a gay man a fag was to suggest that he had masochistic tendencies and allowed himself to be used as a sex object; a slave, a whipping boy.

As a slang term, it has lost some of its power without the connection to its original meaning, but there is a more wide reaching and disturbing connotation that still underlies the use of this and other words.

The hidden assumption is not so much that homosexual love is wrong, because the insult depends on inferring a state of submission, of being on the feminine, receiving end of a sexual encounter. In my opinion, ladies, if your man refers to gays as fags, fairies, woofters, poofters or any of the increasingly moronic derogatory slang terms available, you can be sure of this: He sees a streak of feminity as despicable, as 'less' than male. If thats how he thinks, then no matter how he covers it, he sees total femininity as lower than low. If you are with a man like that, he thinks of you (always provided he thinks) as a 'receiving end', however you wish to take it. Thats my last stab at a double-triple-entendre for the day.

That kind of a man will also find lesbian love to be a hot turn on, not just because men are simple, visually stimulated creatures who think twice as many boobs & tubes must be twice the fun, but because he sees lesbians as somehow 'more' than female; a bit dangerous, a bit of a challenge, nearer equal. You know exactly where that puts you, in his mind.

Check it out. If you do have one like that, I would personally be inclined to wedge a potato up his exhaust and let him feeeel the frustration, and then get out, quick.

I forgot the second Narrow escape! (Always providing someone hasn't had one of their own after reading this far.)

I LOVE this SOLIDOX toothpaste advert. Click the picture to magnify. There are currently two products on the market of the same name; the first is (amazingly) the toothpaste. I suspect the formula has changed but it is apparently still produced somewhere in Norway. The second is something that comes as sticks in a tin, is sold in US hardware stores and can be explosive. Sorry, but when my search for knowledge leads me to a page on making bombs, I tend to get out quick. I mean, if the Police were to come round, I haven't even hoovered. Embarrassing.

Look at the 'miracle ingredient' in this: Ricinosulphate? What? As in Ricin?

Perhaps her teeth look so white because her gums are becoming incredibly pink? Perhaps she also lies when she opens her mouth, because she is having constant hallucinations?

Good grief.


doris said...

Ha-ha! Thank you for the tea break without the tea.

A fine cornucopia of thought generations.

It is the 3 November and you only have another 50,000 words to write for NoNoNaNa-NaNa. Pity you can't submit blog entries!

Badaunt said...

Old ads are WONDERFUL. There seemed to be so many sorts of miraculous cures for everything.

One time, when a grocery store was going to be demolished in my hometown near where I worked, I was chatting with one of the workers and he showed me a bottle of pills in a box he'd found stuck behind something. It had never been opened and had obviously been there for years. The label said,

"Pink Pills for Pale People."

They had pills for paleness! Isn't that wonderful?

(I just googled the Pink Pills, and they're FAMOUS. But there are two: Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People, and Pinkham's Pink Pills for Pale People. The Williams packet doesn't look familiar, so maybe it was the other one I saw, but I can't find a picture.)

bart said...

hey cheryl, you've procrastinated brilliantly... you're entering my league soon :D

i like old adverts too, if only to compare with the modern ones and see how life and perceptions have changed

see ya later, and good luck de-procrastinating ;-)

Ms Mac said...

Procrastinating is just so much more fun than actually oing what you're supposed to be doing.

Cheryl, my dear, you are a font of knowledge.... can you tell me about teaching your Grandmother to suck eggs? Where does that phrase come from?

Writer Mom said...

Good Lord, this was an incredible post. You do great work while procrastinating.
Can you have a character in your novel be a procrastinating novelist who digs up very interesting facts?

I look forward to the new Photoshopped thought bubbles for the ads.