The Difference an Education Can Make…

I’ve been listening to Mental As Anything a fair bit lately. One of my favourite songs – in my more mellow moments – is Dorothy Parker’s Hair. Which, sadly, I can’t find a YouTube clip for. Sigh.

Anyhow, it talks about what a vicious, sadistic theatre critic she was, and how ‘if she was alive, she’d be a friend of mine’. Awwww…

And awwwww was all I really thought… cute song, right?

Then a mate at work mentioned “a friend of Dorothy’s”. Huh? I said. Now, as per usual, Wikipedia is my friend.

In gay slang, a “friend of Dorothy” (occasionally abbreviated FOD) is a term for a gay man.[1] The phrase dates back to at least World War II, when homosexual acts were illegal in the United States. Stating that, or asking if, someone was a “friend of Dorothy” was a euphemism used for discussing sexual orientation without others knowing its meaning. The origin of the term is unknown and there are various theories.


Now, as I read on, I discovered that one theory as to the origin of the term is, in fact, Dorothy Parker – the exact same one as mentioned in the song. I knew she was a writer and a critic – I hadn’t realised she was also a civil rights activist.

So, that was interesting. But I still didn’t click until I listened to Dorothy Parker’s Hair again. Were the Mentals making a statement with this song? Are theyAm I the last person in Australia to have worked it out?

Oh, my poor brain.


6 Responses

  1. Wow, never knew that.

    You learn something everyday.

  2. I had no idea about any of that!

  3. I always thought “a friend of Dorothy” referred to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, what with rainbows, etc.

    “In the early 1980s, the Naval Investigative Service was investigating homosexuality in the Chicago area. Agents discovered that gay men sometimes referred to themselves as “friends of Dorothy.” Unaware of the historical meaning of the term, the NIS believed that a woman named Dorothy was at the center of a massive ring of homosexual military personnel. The NIS launched an enormous hunt for Dorothy, hoping to find her and convince her to reveal the names of gay servicemembers.”
    What a giggle!!!!!

  4. Things I learn reading blogs. That was all news to me.’

    ROFL at Jaynes comment 🙂

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