From ‘mama grizzly’ to fantasy cougar?

Sarah Palin: Cougar-licious?

I got an e-mail today from a representative with Cougared.com, “the leading cougar dating website” (I didn’t even know cougar dating websites existed!) telling me that the site has released the results of a recent survey of “cubs” (younger men who date — or want to date — older women). And according to The Cub Report (Seriously, that’s what they called the report on the survey results), “high-powered political hockey mom” Sarah Palin is their “ultimate fantasy cougar woman.”

Palin won out over a “short list” of candidates that included “cougar icons” Demi Moore, Courteney Cox, Madonna, Kim Cattrall and Janice Dickinson — and apparently, even the folks who run the website were astounded, since they wrote in their press release: “The surprise finding was one of several fascinating revelations” to come out of the survey that was “designed to get inside the mind of the modern younger man.”

Here are some of those other “fascinating revelations” (Comments in parentheses are mine, not the website’s or the report’s):

• The perfect age range for a cougar is 41-45 (even if I were straight and tried, I couldn’t be a prime cougar because I am too old).

• 1 in 5 cougar chases have gotten together with a friend’s mother (Eeeeeewwww! That is just wrong!).

• 2/3s say the media and celebrities have an effect; it is “officially less socially awkward” to date an older woman thanks to the media’s coverage of cougars.

• The biggest turn-on for the younger men is maturity (as opposed, I guess to possibly bigger bank accounts?).

• 19 percent have been “cougared” by an older boss or co-worker.

• Only 8 percent said they were looking for a sugar mama. And …

• 80 percent said they wouldn’t necessarily object if their own mothers became cougars.

(Okay, those last two …. let’s just say, I’m not really buying those two.)

—  admin

Will we let our gay language die off?

Polari — a mixture of Italian, Romany and Yiddish with some backward-spelled English sprinkled in — is a unique piece of the history of LGBT culture

Hardy Haberman Flagging Left

CAMP
DOLLY OMI PALONES | The Austin Babtist Women know how to camp it up. Have you ever told someone about the “campy” drag show you saw at the club? Or maybe you recommended that “butch” lesbian mechanic who did such a great job repairing your car? If so, then you have spoken Polari.

It almost knocked my ogle fakes off my eek when I aunt nelled that the bona omis and palones at Cambridge University reported Polari was in danger of dying out. Without Polari, cackle about that fantabulosa trade you vardered — you know. the omi with the vogue in his screech and the bona basket? — would never be the same.

Before you go blaming the editor for that previous unintelligible paragraph, I assure you it was mostly proper English with a smattering of Polari sprinkled in to make it understandable only by those in the know.

Polari (from the Italian parlare, “to talk”) is an old slang language that was used by actors, circus and carnival folk and the gay subculture of Brittain. It comes from a strange mix of Italian, Romany and Yiddish, with a few odd backward-spelled words added here and there.

Though it started in England, many words color the vernacular still used today in our own LGBT culture.

The term “camp” is Polari for “exaggerated.” Our expression “rough trade” also descends from this slang.

It was a colorful way for gay people to communicate without being overheard in potentially unfriendly surroundings.

But why should I care if this archaic slang dies out or not? Well, Polari is part of our heritage, every bit as much as the Stonewall Riots and Harvey Milk.

Next time you hear someone use the terms “chicken” for a younger man, or “butch” for a masculine woman or man, they are using elements of Polari. If you have ever admired a “basket” or “zhooshed” your hair, you are using remnants of that near-dead language that have seeped into our daily lexicon.

It might seem like a small thing, but I find myself fascinated with it and feel the LGBT community and culture will be a little poorer if it fades away.

So in the interest of proving the linguists at Cambridge University wrong, I offer a compiled list of useful Polari words:

Ajax — close by
Aunt nells — ears
Auntie nelly fakes — earrings
Basket — the bulge of a man’s crotch
Batts — shoes
Bijou — small
Bod — body
Bona — good
Bungery — bar, pub
Butch — masculine
Camp — effeminate or exaggerated
Capello — hat
Carsey — toilet
Chicken — young boy
Charpering omi — policeman
Cottage — public restroom
Cottaging — do the math!
Crimper — hairdresser
Cove — friend
Dish — attractive male backside
Dolly — pretty, pleasant
Drag — clothes, esp. women’s clothes
Eek — face (abbreviation of ecaf which is face backwards)
Feele — young
Feele omi — young man
Naff — bad
Ogle — eye
Ogle fakes — Glasses
Omi — man
Omi palone — effeminate man
Palone — woman
Palare — to talk
Riah — hair (backwards)
Slap — makeup
Troll — walk or wander or cruise
Vada — to walk or wander
Vogue — cigarette
Walloper — dancer
Zhoosh — fix or tidy up.

Now go out and troll off to some bona bijou bungery and palare with your coves.

If you are interested in more details on Polari, check out Paul Baker’s book, Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas