February 28, 2015

Dirty Etymology: Snatch

I love dirty words. I mean, I fucking love them. There is something about cussing—that little naughty thrill, the peek-over-your-shoulder-to-see-if-anyone's-listening delight—that I have never gotten over. Yesterday, I was at a grocery store that was playing satellite radio (I assume)—and a song came on that used the word "fuck" twice. (I can't remember the song title. It was a rock song with a radio/non-radio edit.) I seemed to be the only one who noticed. And yeah, I was thrilled.

But for some reason, only recently did I develop an addiction to learning where the words come from.

Today's word of choice? Snatch.

How did I land on this word? Honestly, I have no idea. Let me insert that many of the articles and websites I visited stated that this was one of the ugliest words for pussy. No, they didn't say pussy. I made that up. But site after site said this was a nasty term. Almost—but not quite—as bad as cunt.

You guys are going to laugh at me. I didn't know it was derogatory. I love the word.

The noun dates to 1300 and referred to a "trap" or a "snare." The use for female genitalia dates to either 1903 or 1864. I adore facts like that. Why those two dates? Who knows?

Apparently, a "snatch" had already been in play as a term for a quickie. Oh, my. I like this. We could do a collection called 69 Snatches. Ha! Who's in?

One article then praised terms like "jade gates" and "cinnabar cave." But you know? I can't personally imagine using either term in my own writing. (Quick check. 541 files of mine contain the word snatch. 0 files of mine contain "jade gate.")

I lifted her skirt and nuzzled my wife's snatch.
I lifted her skirt and nuzzled my wife's cinnabar cave.

Sounds like a new flavor of coffee drink. But it's early. I may have coffee on the brain.

Wait a second. Now, I have tripped over an anti-male site that says "snatch" reflects in men a fear and loathing for the vagina. Which—honestly—is something I have never run into with my men of choice. All of my lovers have seemed to really like vaginas.

Today's research has brought me to a list of alternate words that made me swoon: fanny, pie, quim, peach, box... And that squeal you just heard was because I fell into a book called The Vagina: A Literary and Cultural History by Emma L. E. Rees. This goes immediately on my to-buy list!

But sadly, I have failed you. I can't find the original use in literature. Sometimes I get lucky, and sometimes I strike out.

If you're following along, we've done:

Pardon My French—oh, I'm having a morning. I just wrote "pardon my friend" by accident.
The History of the Douchebag
The History of the Dick

What will I land on next? Who fucking knows?


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