Apeccadillo is defined as a slight or minor fault, sin or offence. Interestingly, the plural form of the word, unlike ‘potato’, may be spelled with or without an ‘e’ – peccadillos or peccadilloes. The same does or does not apply, as My Dear Reader well knows, to dildos; some reference books list ‘dildoes’ as an e-too-far, whereas others embrace the extra ‘e’, in case you are into e-shopping on the Internet.
The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) observed, “The world loves a spice of wickedness.” It seems even then that people were willing to forgive peccadilloes as youthful foolishness or lapses of judgment. The willingness to overlook petty faults and minor offences existed long before English speakers borrowed a modified version of the Spanish pecadillo at the end of the 16th century. Spanish speakers distinguished the pecadillo, or ‘little sin’, from the more serious pecado, a ‘sin of magnitude’. And these Spanish terms can be traced back still further, to the Latin verb peccare, meaning ‘to sin’.
The usage of ‘pecker’ as slang for penis first appeared in America in 1902. It is unclear as to whether or not this usage derives from the use of a penis for sinning. One has to hope in all sincerity that the expression ‘first in the pecking order’ has nothing to do with the size of one’s genitalia but in these trumped-up days you cannot be sure of anything anymore.
I read recently that in Saint Lucia an honourable gentleman had been caught on camera with his pants down and his pecker up. It is interesting to note that such an authority as The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary quotes the example, “You’re doing very well. Keep it up!” as admonition to carry on the good work. But just a tic, back to Wadsworth for a sec! Old Henry furthermore observed, “It takes less time to do a thing right, than to explain why you did it wrong,” something the honourable gentleman should bear in mind.
But let’s get back to ‘keeping it up’. If by ‘it’ one means one’s ‘pecker’ then one would be keeping one’s pecker up, pecker being American English for penis which would, I assume, refer to one’s erect (how else?) pecker being up something, the something being in polite traditional usage a vagina, or in this age of same-sex liaisons some other orifice of choice. Now you, Dear Reader, have to understand that an erection is a funny thing, especially where peckers are concerned. You see, the British use the admonition “Keep your pecker up!” quite differently, to encourage someone who is down, sad, or depressed to raise their spirits, to be cheerful and not let adverse circumstances get them down.
There’s just one other point, a small one, I would like to mention while we are on the subject of an erection being a funny thing. By ‘funny,’ one does not necessarily mean ‘amusing’ even though a penis can be a great source of amusement when one is alone and needs to amuse oneself, if one is the possessor of a penis that is. Solo-sex is not of course restricted to peniles; vaginals enjoy it too. Couples also experience joys of varying types depending on the number of penises involved in their relationship.
One’s sexual behaviour is becoming more reminiscent of one’s eating habits with each passing day it seems. Carnivores eat meat, while vegetarians do not. Then there are vegans, and omnivores eat everything. On the sexual front there’s a lot more variety these days. There’s homosexual, which used to mean sex with someone of the same sex but has come to refer to male-upon-male sex exclusively, and now goes under the misnomer of gay sex that embraces homosex and lesbosex. Then of course there is bisex, tranniesex, the recently emerged transsex, and of course a-sex, which is what sex in many marriages turns out to be, sex without sex. We have sado-sex, sm-sex, bdsm-sex, anal-sex, vaginal sex, (a.k.a. vaggie-sex, not to be confused with veggie-sex that includes the use of cucumbers, carrots and bananas), groupsex and a host of others.
Brothels in Bangkok, Thailand, a country that named its capital after its main foreign earnings industry, the Sex Trade, have started handing out to their esteemed patrons menus that resemble those you get at Chinese restaurants, which simplifies the ordering procedure. In the bad, old days clients got what they were served. Later they introduced the buffet system where clients chose from a display of delicacies. If clients lusted after anything other than regular male-female sex they had to go to specialist establishments that catered for exclusive tastes. But now everything is much simpler at the ‘Fast Fuks’ as they are called. The client simply peruses the menu, makes a choice and orders, for example, “A number 9, 13, and 96 with Aromatic Dressing and Chocolate Sauce for two, please,” not forgetting to specify whether to have or to go!