The Age of the Euphemism

EuphemismsNicola here with a X rated blog post about the use of euphemism in romance and other novels. Read no further if you are of a delicate disposition! The topic first arose in my mind because my dh returned from a visit to the tailor feeling a little perplexed. He had been asked "which way he dressed." This wasn't a phrase either of us had come across before so I looked it up and discovered it was a euphemism, designed to save both the tailor and the client embarrassment during a trouser fitting.

This got me thinking – and chatting to the other Wenches about euphemisms in books. Ah, I remember those days if the 1970s when I was in my early teens and had discovered the works of Barbara Cartland. Not only did her heroines have plenty of ellipses in their breathless speech, there were also lots of … in the vague description of the act of love itself. Sometimes it was so vague that I totally missed what was going on. In other cases I believed that making love literally involved floating up to heaven on a pink cloud.

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