My mother embarrassed me to death at a funeral one time. She remarked to a friend that when I was a young lad I used to have a lot of boyfriends at the house. My brother picked this up and laughed like a jackass, knowing full well that Mom didn’t understand what she was saying in context of the language today. To her way of thinking, I had friends who were boys, thus I had boy friends.
Certain English words have morphed, all in a single generation into language my mother and her peers wouldn’t understand.
When I was a kid it was not a social or moral issue to be gay. In fact we had fagots piled behind the woodshed. My mother often said that my uncle Dan was queer. Dad agreed and said,
“Well, he does act a little queer sometimes, like the time he sold his boy to the Gypsies.”
Every morning as she sipped her black coffee, she would tap a fag out of the pack, light up and take a drag on it. If she smiled I knew she was going to have a gay day.
Of course my father used words that would “weird out” some people if they heard it today. When he told me, “Go get me a hoe” I didn’t hit the street looking for lusty women. Dikes (or Dykes) held back water and butch was a style of haircut for men.
Walt Disney made fairies come to life, fruit was what we picked off trees. Often my dad would say a man was “light on his feet” referring to a boxer. A queen ruled a country, drag usually referred to racing a car or pulling something along.
We sang Christmas carols such as “Deck The Halls” with a line that goes, “Don we now our gay apparel” and ate fruit cake during the holidays. The only thing I remember that sucked was the vacuum cleaner. And only the wind “blowed.”
I wonder why the language has taken so many words regarding sexual preference and redefined them? Is there any other group that has brought about such a transformation of language? I don’t think so. Everyone is pigeon-holed into a class whether they like it or not. And every class has its pejorative slang, some from the outside, some self imposed.