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Previously: Code words for lesbianism in classic films.

If you hear any of the following words or phrases used to describe a male character in a movie made before 1970, odds are good that they’re trying to tell you about a homosexual, a real boarding-school afternooner, someone who eats his dinner in a restaurant, a fellow who walks down the shady side of the street.




Wears a hat of someone else’s choosing


A sunset lover

Smooth elbows

A man with specific mannerisms

Sleeps diagonally

A perplexment

Rides the carousel

An evening botanist

Classically athletic


Wears a light wristwatch

Gives a careful handshake

Gives too much change for a dollar

A fluent swimmer

A keen-eyed birdwatcher

Fond of his mother


Built on an uncertain foundation


A real jackdaw

Avowed bachelor

A gentleman of the piers

Born with the caul


An aesthete

In the way of uncles

He throws a party with an open guest list

Son of the moon

A boy from Eton

Always rings twice

Has a silk bathrobe

Not quite up-to-code

He hitchhikes instead of taking the bus

Stays ahead of the game

A skillful mountain climber

Salutes another flag

An upside-down chimney-sweep

Special comedy credit to left-handed whisperer Connor Goldsmith.

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