1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

The following are excerpts from a reprint of an 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue: A Dictionary  of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence, which was in itself based on a dictionary by Francis Grose. {Bibliography}

I skimmed through the entire book, and picked out all the terms for sodomites, which I assume referred to gay men.  They may also refer to hetero sodomy, I don’t know enough to say.

Sadly, there were no terms for lesbians.  There are enough vulgar terms here for women’s lady-parts that we can create our own synonyms for “tribade”, if you wish.  But we’ll save that for another post.

Back Gammon Player

A sodomite.

Back Door



[From the Italian diletto, q.d. a woman’s delight; or from our word dally, q.d. a thing to play withal.] Penis-succedaneus, called in Lombardy Passo Tempo. Bailey.


A sodomite. To indorse with a cudgel; to drub or beat a man over the back with a stick, to lay CANE upon Abel.

Madge Culls

Sodomites. Cant.


A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite.

Windward Passage

One who uses or navigates the windward passage; a sodomite.


How to Raise a Lesbian Daughter, Part 2

I love this book.  I found it at one of the sidewalk tables on sixth avenue between 4th and 8th streets, Manhattan. One can find the most amazing books there, AND one can bargain with the men selling them.

Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know About Homosexuality by Peter and Barbara Wyden, copyright 1968

Step 2: Marry your daughter to a jealous swinger.

“…she was so anxious to get away from home that she fled into marriage to a 22-year-old who proved to be mentally disturbed.  He was so jealous of other men that he introduced his wife to lesbians and encouraged her to be intimate with them.  After nine years of acutely unhappy marriage, this wife obtained a divorce and became exclusively lesbian.” (pg. 77)

And about mothers like this woman’s:

“These mothers may go out of their way to undermine the daughter’s feelings of femininity- perhaps by deliberately not dressing them in pretty or girlish clothes…these mothers often openly prefer the brother of a prehomosexual daughter. ”  (pg. 78)

Good memories from Greece

We bought this postcard in Athens, and it has been on our fridge ever since.  I thought that since we are moving soon I should preserve it for posterity.  It’s just so great.

Recommended Blogs

I just found two cool blogs, so in addition to adding them to the links at the side, I’m going to highlight them here.

Susan Herr of Brooklyn, an obviously stylish and fabulous woman of Park Slope, Brooklyn, has just started DapperQ: Transgressing Men’s Fashion.  I’m already a big fan.

And then there is The Queerest Places: A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Historical Sites. You know I’m a sucker for data-gathering and  pre-gay-rights history.

I’m also a regular reader of Genderfork.  Sarah Dopp & Co. post several times daily; a mix of photographs, reader interviews, and reader comments and questions.  I’ve learned a lot about the trans community from this blog.  Plus, the eye candy never hurts.

Pop-culture commentator Dorothy Snarker provides a seemingly endless stream of witty writing and photos of hot gay women.  Dorothy Surrenders.  Read it.

Hidden, but still there

As the social history dilettante that I am, I come across little tidbits of lesbian history all the time.  It’s all just too great not to share.  I hope you enjoy, and if you have anything of your own, please do submit it.

1971: “What Gay Women Wear” [Part 2]

continued from my last post….

Susan Walsh agrees with the women’s liberation analysis that consumerism oppresses women.  To counter this in her own life, she wears a lot of hand-me-downs, supplemented with Salvation Army buys, and even rips off a little something from a chain store once in awhile.

Jilly Bray (photo left) [Ed.: photo forthcoming, I haven’t scanned it yet] sees it differently.  She digs shopping for clothes.  “I shop in Europe a lot,” she says.  “Here I go to Abercrombie’s and Brooks Brothers.  But I’ll pick up odds and ends at a dime store too.”  Jill agrees with her sisters that pants are more comfortable for whatever you’re doing.  “I don’t have any skirts,” Jill announces rather proudly, “and I don’t intend to wear them my whole life.

By no means do all Jill’s friends share her no-skirt dictum.  Michelle Yeoman, for instance, a leather craftsman and a part owner of Goblin’s Market, a San Francisco boutique says: “I don’t mind wearing a dress on social occasions or in the summer when it’s hot.”

About dressing for her job, Susan Walsh says: “I refinish some antiques, and when we have some rich people coming around my boss wants me to wear a dress.  I object for two reasons.  One, I’m not comfortable refinishing furniture in a dress.  Two– a political reason– wearing a dress implies the uniform of opressed women.  A dress shows your legs; you wear it to attract men and I don’t want to.  I told my boss I didn’t want to have to worry about my dress flying up and he said, ‘I personally find it delightful to have a woman’s dress fly up.’  I asked him, “Do you find it delightful to have a man’s pants fall down?”

Clothes are politics.

Gay women aren’t interested in attracting men and they don’t dig the sidewalk comments a short skirt often draws.  Nancy says, “I feel conspicuous, vulnerable, flirtatious in a skirt.  When I’m out in public I try to be as inconspicuous as possible.”

Susan Ellard agrees that her clothes are likely to be baggier when she’s out delivering mail than when she’s visiting with friends.

By this logic the Midi and the gaucho should appeal to gay women.  Almost everyone we talked to said they loved the look, but no one actually owned either one.

Wanda is famous among her friends for her Girl Scout Uniform.  When she wears a dress she likes “something as a-sexual as possible.  Sort of a Catholic girl’s school uniform like jumpers and sweaters. I’m not ready to dress like I’m out there in the world being fucked over.  Women would approve of the way I dress more than men.”

That’s what it’s all about for gay women.  It has long been said that women dress for each other– competitively– but what do they wear to attract each other?

For Susan Walsh “getting all dyked up” means her shiny boots and “Salvation Army-tailored, snazzy, comfortable clothes.”

Dixie used to wear her hair short but now lets it frame her face at jawbone length.  “Long hair has a softening effect on the features.  I don’t like to see a woman who wants to look like a man.  I hate Frisco jeans and I hate capri outfits too.  A woman looks best as herself without trying to look like some dumb man.”

To be continued…