or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Saturday, July 16, 2005

There's the Rub

Here's a sentence from the Salon.com review of Don Roos' new movie Happy Endings:

"A persistently bored-looking woman (Lisa Kudrow) is blackmailed by a young documentary filmmaker (Jesse Bradford) who claims to have information about an abortion she allegedly had as a teenager; to appease him, she offers her masseuse-boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale) as a subject for the kid's movie, claiming he's really a sex worker who pleasures bored housewives."

And if you Google 'kudrow "happy endings" masseuse' you will find quite a few more hits that contain the same basic information: Lisa Kudrow's character has a masseuse boyfriend.

When the hell did this happen? When did we decide that anyone who strokes someone for a living is a masseuse? "Masseuse" is French noun, and in French, nouns have specific genders, and this gender is specifically female. There's a male version, "masseur": English inherited both words, and we use them accordingly. The character is clearly a masseur: he can't be a masseuse any more than he can be an aviatrix or an ambassadress.


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