Tuesday, 23 May 2006

Sex with everything

What do the following have in common?
A revolutionary design for affordable houses, a cerise-coloured back-pack, the music of Chopin, a dual-fuel oven and THREE of the gardens at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.
The answer is that over the past week or two I have seen or heard all these things mentioned in the media with the adjective sexy attached.
The OED gives two meanings: a. Concerned with or engrossed in sex, and b. Sexually attractive or provocative, sexually exciting. But it adds also fig. (figurative), which I suppose suggests that it can be applied to virtually anything and has thus become a meaningless cliché.
It is now just an aid to lazy writers and commentators who are saying: “I use this sleek modern word in any context to suggest that I am rather sophisticated although actually I do so because I am too lazy to think of an appropriate adjective”.
It is interesting, in a dull sort of way, that the very first recorded use of the word in print was in 1925, in La Nouvelle Revue Française:
"Depuis que Joyce a publié un livre qu'ils croient ‘sexy’ cet état d'esprit n'a pas d'équivalent français on s'en empare..que sa méthode sert de modèle à des gens qui..se disent surréalistes.

5 comments:

PerfectlyVocal said...

The word sexy has also made it's way into the health care setting. Services are now described as sexy or not sexy, depending on how much funding they attract; so services to midwifery and babies are sexy, whilst elderly medicine isn't. It's a dreadful use of the word.

PerfectlyVocal said...

aaagh - has made ITS way - no apostrophe!

Tony said...

Just a slip. Dinna fash yersel'.
Thank you for your apt addition to my rant.

Ruth said...

I think it's called 'blog-whoring', putting 'sex' in the title is guaranteed to increase your stats. You've been rumbled.

Tony said...

I never meant it, miss, honest.
Of course, putting it in the text of posts also has the effect of increasing hits and comments (see here).
Twenty-seven of the 415 posts in OMF contain the word sex, though with no sinister motive. One can't get away from it, can one?