Comments: 17
BrokenTune 4 weeks ago
Yes, yes, it did. I cracked me up.
Mike Finn 4 weeks ago
The current usage of slut emerged in England during the 1960s
Before that it meant something closer to slatternly.
BrokenTune 4 weeks ago
Ah, I was wondering at which point in time the usage changed (but couldn't exactly Google this while at work).
Tannat 4 weeks ago
That's good to know. I wasn't aware of the change in usage (or had forgotten, which amounts to the same thing).
Murder by Death 4 weeks ago
Thanks Mike - I wonder that I've never seen it before now, but perhaps there's a gap in my historical reading (not a fan of the 60's or 70's from a cultural perspective) that neatly coincides with the usage shift.
Same thing as with reading the expression "he (or she!) ejaculated" in pre-WWII fiction. It just used to mean "comment spontaneously (and loudly)" ...
It jarred me too; I thought I'd heard the wrong word, until she repeated it another couple of times. And then I figured it meant something very different, but forgot to follow up. So thank you for reminding me!
Katherine Whitehorn wrote an article in The Observer in 1963 about being a 'slut'. "Have you ever taken anything out of the dirty-clothes basket because it had become, relatively, the cleaner thing? Changed stockings in a taxi? Could you try on clothes in any shop, any time, without worrying about your underclothes? How many things are in the wrong room—cups in the study, boots in the kitchen?"

https://uploads.guim.co.uk/2018/10/10/Whitehorn_sluts.jpg
BrokenTune 4 weeks ago
That's brilliant. Whitehorn sounds sounds like a lot of fun to be around.
Her weekly column in The Observer was great. She was definitely a role model for my mum. She once wrote an update to the article with details of letters she'd received from women who also identified as sluts. One woman said she realised she was one when she found herself cleaning the kitchen table with a kitten.
Mike Finn 4 weeks ago
Great link. I learned to cook using her 'Cooking In A Bedsit'. It's still in print. My wife just bought me a newcopy so we could try out some of the old dishes.
Moonlight Reader 4 weeks ago
Is a bedsit basically a studio apartment? I've seen that expression used in older British fiction & I've always wondered what it was.
Mike Finn 4 weeks ago
A bedsit is a room in a house rather than an apartment. The last one I lived in was a bedroom in a Victorian house. The landlady had the ground floor the four bedrooms on the other two floors were rented to four different people. We all shared one bathroom. My room had a small sink, a hotring, a kettle, a toaster, a bed, a wardrobe and an armchair. No TV. No phone. No fridge (except the windoledge in winter). Some bedsits have access to a shared kitchen but most didn't. Cooking in a bedsit meant no foodprep area, no oven and no more than two rings.

These days, bedsits are less common as there are whole new set of rules about multi-occupancy houses.
Moonlight Reader 4 weeks ago
Oh! I don't think that we really do that in my neck of the woods - people rent houses with shared common areas, or studios, which typically have a small but complete kitchen and private bath, but a room with a sort of mini-kitchen and shared bath would be extremely unusual.
Murder by Death 4 weeks ago
The shared bathroom is still ... not unheard of, I'll say, in some British inns. I stayed in a gorgeous, rambling inn run by a boating club in the Lake District that had shared bathrooms for most of their rooms. We had a sink, but for everything else you waited your turn with your fellow guests. It was a fun experience for a first timer, but I imagine if I'd stayed more than a couple of nights the charm would have worn off really quick.
Murder by Death 4 weeks ago
@Books, hockey: I love this article. She's describing me to down to a 'T' - right down to, in fact, throwing pillows at a door to shut it. :D
@MR: It is -- or at least, in the interwar and postwar decades, was -- a consequence of pre-war two-, three- or four-storey houses built for the use of just one (well-to-do) family being converted into buildings occupied by multiple parties. (The situations in Britain and Germany were similar in that respect.) Typically there would only have been one kitchen -- if you were lucky, it was on the ground floor instead of in the basement, so at least the party living on the ground floor would have the use of that kitchen, but everything else would be separate rooms, each with minimal cooking facilities if any and a door giving out onto the main hallway, which would also house the bathroom ... unless, of course, somebody had put in the substantial amount of money it took to create separate, distinct apartments (with walls and doors being adjusted / newly put in, and with newly-created / plumbed / wired kitchens and bathrooms of their own).

When my parents got divorced and my mom and I moved to the Bonn area so we could be close to my grandparents, we moved into a similar style arrangement: Our landlords occupied the second and third floors of the house (which had separate kitchens and bathrooms), whereas we had the ground floor -- a full apartment as far as rooms were concerned (with our own kitchen and bathroom, too), but our hallway was the shared hallway of the house. Obviously these days nobody would want to live like that anymore unless there was virtually no alternative at all, but in a time when -- particularly in large towns like Berlin (where we had moved away from) -- bathrooms in the hallway were still the norm rather than the exception in converted pre-war buildings, it was not considered inacceptable.

@MbD: You still get that sort of arrangement on the European continent too on occasion (as you probably know). It's becoming rarer because people are increasingly demanding full ensuite bathrooms even in smaller hotels, but it still exists. Same in Britain in B&Bs -- many have ensuite bathrooms these days, but it's a substantial investment, so you still see a fair number of B&Bs that will either have ensuite bathrooms in only some but not all of their rooms, or no ensuite bathrooms at all.