Do You Bonk, Shag or Screw?byPussyrider©
"America and Britain are two nations divided by a common language". So said George Bernard Shaw. Or possibly Oscar Wilde. Or was it Winston Churchill? Anyway, there's a lot of truth in this statement, and it's something I'm never more aware of than when I'm writing a submission to Literotica. (Mark Twain maybe?)
For those poor deprived souls not yet familiar with my work(!), I've now had 70 stories published on the website, with a couple more pending as I write. I was a slow starter: my first story appeared in October 2004, my next two weren't until October 2006. Since then though I've been quite prolific. My characters have been male, female, straight, gay, young, old, related and complete strangers, willing participants, predators and victims, and one was a three-inch high plastic doll who really does sit by my computer at work. I normally write in the first person as I find it easiest that way to get into the character's head. (As an old-style British socialist, it's amused me a couple of times when readers have accused me of being a signed-up member of the Republican Party.) My stories range from pretty good (especially the romances, I feel), through the mediocre to, yes I freely admit it, the bloody awful (but still fun to write). To some of the readers who've been quite vitriolic about the bad ones, all I can say is, chill out guys, it's all just a bit of fun right? If you don't like my stuff, there are plenty of alternatives out there.
Generally my stories come to me rather than me searching for them, and are pretty much written in my head before I commit finger to keyboard. (For example, I was inspired to write one, which has been pretty well received, in the aftermath of the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto.) I have a fairly vivid imagination, and don't have too much trouble writing them. (Amazingly enough, as a middle-aged bloke, I've never actually experienced a big meaty cock penetrating my pussy -- not in this lifetime, anyway!) But the one thing that does give me pause for thought is language itself. For example, I just referred to myself as a 'bloke'. I know that word's at least as common in Australia as it is here in Britain, but a huge number of Americans read Literotica, and has anyone used the word there since Paul Hogan?
Being British myself, with experience of living in London and Scotland, naturally enough most of my lead characters are British. The first time I experimented with an American lead -- a London-based lesbian -- I did so just to legitimately have the word 'pantyhose' come out of the mouth of one of my people. Nobody in the UK uses that word, but I did it after a couple of mild criticisms of my use of the word 'tights'. But then, if it was good enough for Mel Brooks in his Robin Hood homage...(More of pantyhose later.) From memory I've written two American leads, and one significant Canadian character, but all either based in Britain or in a battlefield in France. With Yanks I have fun trying to write the story in 'American' -- so colour becomes color, trousers become pants etc. I wouldn't have the nerve to try to write a North American on their home territory, never having lived there from day-to-day. (Having said that, I have recently submitted a story about a German living in post-war Berlin. But I kept the setting fairly general, and hopefully most English reading people with enough first-hand knowledge to criticise my evocation of that city in 1948 are either long dead, or banned by their nurse from the excitement of logging in to Literotica.)
I've written a couple of stories in very toned down Scots dialect, and I think I got away with it. But generally my characters speak with English accents, and use standard English sexual terms -- arse (not ass), shag (as in the title of one of my recent works), bollocks etc. But that's the problem -- for the most part they are very much English words.
Actually, as far as I can remember I've never used 'bollocks', because I believe it's virtually unknown in the USA. (I don't know about Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the 'English speaking' world.) For the uninitiated, it is a reference to the testicles. An early album by The Sex Pistols was called Never Mind The Bollocks, but did that make it across the Atlantic? I have no idea. A British comedian, Jasper Carrott, used to tell a story of an American woman overhearing him using the word and asking what it meant. In embarrassment, he told her it was the English word for zits (not a common word over here in those far off days). He then had visions of her entering a chemist's shop (drugstore) and asking "Excuse me, do you have anything for these bollocks on my face?"
Of course, that's quite an easy one to get round, 'balls' being a fairly universal term. Others are less so. A word I have definitely never used in a story is 'fanny'. A fair number of my characters are working class British lads, and fanny is a term they would be quite likely to use at some point for a vagina. However, I avoid it because, as far as I'm aware, the primary use of it in the States is in reference to the arse/ass/bottom/bum/tush. I wouldn't want to give the false impression that a disproportionate number of my characters are performing anal sex. When I do refer to the backside I feel fairly safe using the term bum, trusting that my readers won't assume my character has suddenly abandoned the beautiful young naked woman in front of him in order to have sex with a hobo.
It's unfortunate that there doesn't seem to be a website on the Internet which provides international translations of sexual slang. I've occasionally considered starting one. (If anyone does know of one, please pass it onto me.) I've found a couple of sites translating the terms escorts use in their ads. I was motivated by wanting to find out what 'hard sports' meant, but then wished I hadn't. (Trust me, it's vile.) Nothing on sex terms though, except for the occasional Wikipedia entry. Another word I don't often use is 'shag' -- here in Britain at least it has a double meaning, one being a cliff-dwelling bird also known as the green cormorant. By far the most common understanding of the term, however, is as a reference to copulation. I feel a little more confident about using this post--Austin Powers ('The Spy Who Shagged Me') but still try to limit it. As for bonk, well, forget it. This was brought home to me years ago, when Boris Becker had his 16-second affair with a waitress, who subsequently gave birth to his child, in a cupboard in a London restaurant. The British press, with their love of alliteration, started referring to him as 'Bonking Boris', and he hadn't the faintest idea what they meant.
One area where I'm a bit stumped is in the act of masturbation of the male penis. By far the most common words for this in the English language are 'wank' and 'toss', giving rise to the insults 'wanker' and 'tosser'. But I'm not at all sure how well understood they are in America. Do our former colonial cousins even have a slang term for this, other than the rather unimaginative 'hand job'? After all, I'm sure even many American readers would acknowledge that your country has produced its fair share of wankers over the years, from the White House downwards. Not that we in Britain have anything to be smug about -- I mean, Tony Blair, what a tosser! I have used the terms in a few stories, but usually with pretty clear indications of what the act involves.
And when you've bonked, or been wanked, what is the substance you actually ejaculate? A good old English word, but again one that probably doesn't travel well, is 'spunk'. (Generations of schoolboys have grown up guffawing at black and white British war films as some Trevor Howard type gazes admiringly at a hero American who's fighting alongside the Brits for no cerdible reason and delivers the immortal line "My God, the man's got spunk.") Obviously, apart from the biologically correct sperm, there are alternatives such as jizz and the related jism, but after that one tends to find onseself turning towards rather more, well, delicate terms - love juice, nectar (usually the female's excretions) or even (oh God) 'my seed'.
Of course, it's not only the sexual act itself which causes linguistic difficulties. Clothing is a prime example. Remember pantyhose? To Brits of my age with a fairly good memory, they are a product that was briefly popular in the '70s -- sort of pink or yellow women's cotton panties with stockings sewn onto the legs. As I said before, nobody here would use the term today to refer to the all-in-one nylon leg garments that women commonly wear, but I worry a bit about using the term 'tights', unavoidable as it often is. (This ain't California, dude -- a British headmistress being seduced by a teenage pupil isn't going bare-legged, especially for nine of the twelve months of our sub-Arctic climate.)
Panties -- now there's a word that actually annoys me. I got feedback saying 'knickers' is a word not used in America, and 'panties' is the commonly used term. To me, that's how a six-year old might refer to her undergarments. I wouldn't say that no adult British woman would use the word, but she'd be a pretty prissy one, and she'd be referring to some flimsy silk Janet Reger thing, not the sensible Marks & Spencer type most women wear on a daily basis. They're knickers, and that's what 93 per cent of adults in this country would be most likely to call them. No, I'm sorry, I draw the line in the sand on this one. I do use the word 'panties' occasionally, with a bitter taste in my mouth, but for the most part knickers are knickers and will remain so in my stories. (Look, when someone's gliding them down a woman's legs it can't be that difficult to work out what they are, especially in a country which has a sports team called the New York Knickerbockers!)
There are hundreds of similar examples of course. When I'm hot I wear shorts, which I drop to reveal my pants; an American would drop their pants to reveal their shorts. (I'm not even going to get into Australian strides -- so to speak.) As I've said, I do try, at the very least, to give the more international reader a clue as to the nature of the strange body part or piece of clothing which has just been revealed. But, I can't have a South London plumber, for example, say "I dropped my pants and shorts, and pulled off her panties while she gave me a hand job" and keep it real.
So there it is. Well, toodle pip from London Tahn, me old cock, gawd luv us, yer a toff an' no mistake guv'nor. And, by the way, nice fanny you've got in yer knickers there, fancy a quick bonk?