Vital statistics: size means everything in lexicography. If I request my database to deliver up those terms which, out of the 1500 that slang has amassed for fucking and the 2500 that are available to mean ‘drunk’, I find that it offers me 72 overlaps. These are not invariably homonyms, in many cases, it is a matter of disparate phrases stemming from a common root, but the material remains. To fuddle and to get sloppy (perfect synonyms both); to wear the beard (cunnilingus), to have a crumb in one’s beard (to be drunk), hot-backed (randy), hot-headed (drunk); bit of tit (the female), off one’s tits (the drunk), banged up to the eyes (both). The ring is the anus or vagina, the ring-prigger (i.e. pricker) was a drunk. But drunken copulations are not all. The penis is on hand with 33 more: the pickle, both a state of drunkenness and the sturdy member; the vagina adds another 17: the orifice is the cellar, to be in the cellar is to be drunk. The anus ten: it is the ditch (as is the vagina), to be in that is again to have drink taken. The buttocks nine, the breasts eight, and the testicles three. There is a role for the humble gam: she is legless, you get one over. Venereal problems add ten more: The dose, usually to be avoided, is a fuck, it is also as much as one can drink. Bacchanalian fluids mingle with bodily ones: semen is good for five drunken terms, urine for four, blood for seven, vomit for eight. To get wet is to drink, to get it wet to dip the wick. The orgasm lets loose five: one shoots one’s load, one also gets one on, fellatio eight, cunnilingus seven although drinking at the fuzzy cup may be enjoyed quite sober, and masturbation 19.
So what are we seeing? Not, I fear, much in the way of a positive aspect to the links between drink and sex. Slang does not do positive. Doesn’t do erotic, really. In fact not at all. Slang does sex. Holes, poles: silly pricks, stupid cunts. And all those drunks. There are supposedly “sexy” names for cocktails (itself screaming for a punning origin but there are still only guesses as to its source) — “sex on the beach”, “slippery nipple”, “cocksucking cowboy”, “long slow comfortable screw against the wall” — my age must be showing: they stimulate nothing but yearnings for a quiet night in.
Pissed (and let us not forget bladdered) provides the entry-level conjunction of drink and sex. It is, after all, the urino-genital area. It might be asked quite why pissed means drunk. One can be drunk without pissing (for a while), one can piss without drink, (although some form of liquid is usually necessary). Gin mixed with marmalade topped up with boiling water was known as piss-quick. More fun than running the tap. Pissed as a cunt. Pissed as arseholes. Golden showers meet the porcelain god. Don’t go there unless you know the way. Urolagniappe.
We are already cut, let us then stumble to the chase. What does link the sexed-up and the saturated is their shared imagery of violence. There’s plain old fucked, often as fucked up. Or wankered, cunted, butt-whipped, arseholed, off your nob, off your tits, ripped to the tits, knocked up, belted, whipped. If drunkenness does reach for the erotic it seems to be its masochistic variety. But it is not of itself erotic. Of course there’s the desire outrunning performance stuff, and errors promoted by what the young term beer goggles (which are not the same thing and linked only by the foolish delusions that drink creates) and yes, it can lead to sex.
Sloshed means drunk, slosh sex is what follows. Strange beds and even stranger faces. Bits of strange. Or to no sex but only frustration, shame and embarrassment all round. Hers the night before, his on the morning after. Or would that be vice versa?
Is it something Brit? The French have relatively few terms for drunk. But then they don’t seem to need to. National epitome Commissaire Maigret, incapable of passing a page without a glass, invariably gets his man, or woman (as did his creator Simenon, though money, not drink, did that trick). They can say con without blushing, though enculé (nothing more than sod round ours) seems to stir something deep and dark. Back we go to arseholed.
Juiced, well-oiled, stiff. Stiff. At last.
There’s a subtext here isn’t there? Can’t get it up if we haven’t got it down first. Nor is the legless drunken female that thrilling. Convenient, perhaps, but liquor leads to loquacity and worse to throwing the voice and Don Juan, who has just possibly sniffed the barmaid’s apron himself, lacks aptitude for mop or bucket. Oh the sexism.
Follow Jonathon Green aka Mr Slang @MisterSlang