Compendium Lists Sexy Queer Terms and Their Origins

Monday Magazine | August 7, 2004
In a first-year writing class, I remember doing an exercise where we had to bring in 10 words of lingo exclusive to a certain profession and then use them in a poem; I chose truckers. I’ve always had a thing for truckers. Everybody knows the likes of “10-4” and “handle,” but finding wonderful phrases like “cash register” (tollbooth), “cloak” (nightfall) and “bird dog” (radar detector) was quite fun. The most surprising thing I discovered was that a very common phrase had taken on new meaning: “Good buddy” was once literally translated, but has more recently become a code-name for homosexual.

After success with "The Bald Headed Hermit & The Artichoke," author Allan Peterkin has taken the idea of the erotic thesaurus one step further. The terms found in his previous compendium of erotic slang were nothing short of amusing, but now with "Outbursts: A Queer Erotic Thesaurus," Peterkin is delving even further into language that would make Roget blush in public . . . but would also make his “membrum virile” stand at attention in private. Though all of the listings and definitions in "Outbursts" are not exclusive to the queer world, most of them have roots in gay culture -- and just like trends in fashion and so much other pop culture, gay slang is also being adopted by the straight world. From clever terms for the abdomen (“Abdominal Snowman” or “bay windows”) to the voyeur (“mixoscopic” or “peek freak”) and all points in between, Peterkin defines “fun bags,” “Principal Skinner,” “speaking genitalese,” “dilly boy,” “canyon yodeling,” “Irish confetti” and “painter’s eyes”—to name just a few. Don’t worry if some of these are unfamiliar to you; they all get explained in varying degrees of detail. And for those of you who just like to look at the purdy pictures, Outbursts features a great assortment of vintage erotic images, dating from 1910 onward, giving a better idea of a “banana hammock,” the “map of Tasmania” and “making the bald man cry.”

All in all, "Outbursts" makes for an interesting read, no matter what your purpose. (It could just be for a laugh or to spice up your book report on the thinly-veiled homosexual references in Dr. Seuss.) But the real beauty of this book is to put it on your bedside table so the next time you and your “biscuit roller” are engaging in a little “smile like a donut” you can use some fun new terms to say how his “solicitor general” makes your “barking spider” go wild.

Monday Magazine

Founded in 1975 to provide a critical voice in Victoria's political and cultural communities, Monday Magazine continues to shake British Columbia's conservative capital city with tell-it- like-it-is features and reviews. Targeting educated, active adults and Victoria's growing youth market, Monday...
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