A few months ago I was in London, staying at the home of one of my daughter’s friends. It was a delightful neighborhood, somewhat yuppified, with lots of young families living in row houses that dated back a century or more. The sidewalks were busy with young mothers pushing babies in prams and strollers. Joan (my hostess) told me that as a group, those moms are referred to as “yummy mummies.” Joan was one such mummy herself. That appellation for these women seemed very apt, because an hour’s walk would provide sightings of dozens of very lovely women with infants or toddlers, and their loveliness made it easy to understand the clear connection between their yumminess and their mumminess.

Closer to home, I’ve been in contact with a lot of women who have taken up art as a hobby. My wife is one of them, and all the women I’ve met who are sharing her enthusiasm are passionate about learning the countless things that can be learned about drawing, or putting paint on canvas and paper. But it’s not only the art they all seem to love. These women are all avid about art supplies. It has opened a whole new vista of shopping possibilities, and hardly a week goes by now that a package doesn’t come in the mail through Amazon, from Cheap Joe’s art supplies, or one of the other outfits that thrives on the compulsion of budding artists to own every tool of the trade. Some of these women refer to themselves as “brush whores,” a term I both understand and rather like for its honesty and self-awareness.

Finally, I recently watched a couple of very attractive young women in wheelchairs interviewed on TV because they are featured on a new reality show called Push Girls. As they responded to questions, it was impossible not to be impressed by their courage, their lack of self-pity, and their ample resources of character. The interviewer asked them if there were fetishistic men attracted to them precisely because of their disability. They both responded in that instantaneous way people do when someone has raised a subject they know very well. “Oh yes,” they both said, almost in unison. “We call them chair chasers.”

Man, I just love language! How elastically it adapts, and how creatively we use it to expand our understanding and to express our burgeoning reality.


  1. Murray Suid says:

    I don’t get the connection between “whore”–a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet–and someone who is an art tool enthusiast/collector.

    Is the implication that whores enthusiastically collect Johns or love fucking? Or are we supposed to imagine that amateur artists hope to become big-buck-earning art celebrities?

    To my mind, whore has a very negative connotation. Do the women see their art interest as being negative?