Gay Dating Code Words

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As a subculture, gays of the UK and beyond have developed a very eloquent and specific form of slang. The roots of today’s gay dating code words can be traced back to the 1960’s when Polari, from the Italian word parlare – to talk, became popular amongst actors, showmen, criminals and prostitutes. Between these groups they developed their own code for speaking which is thought to be a mix of London slang, romance languages and thieves’ cant. Many of the words from this peculiar but fascinating form of language are still used today within gay circles and are popular as a mating call in the dance of gay dating.

Most used Gay Dating Code Words

Here are some of the words that you might still hear out and about today:

Basket – The bulge in a man’s crotch area. - ‘Look at him, big feet, big basket’

Alamo – Fancying someone. - ‘I’m Alamo with that guy there’

Bibi – A bisexual man or woman. - ‘I don’t know if he’s really a bibi or if he’s just greedy’

Bitch – An effeminate or passive gay man. - ‘I’m the man, I’m looking for a bitch’

Blue – A code word for gay. - ‘Do you think he’s blue?’

Camp – Acting up, over the top. – ‘Camp as Christmas, he is’

Cottage – A public toilet. ‘Can’t afford a hotel, should we visit a cottage?’

Dally – Sweet, kind. – ‘He’s not really my type, he’s a little bit too dally’

Dona – A woman or girl. ‘She’s a fine looking dona but I’m blue.’

Messe – Plain or ugly. ‘Ha! Him? No chance he’s tres messe’

Ogle – To look or admire. ‘Let’s go out and ogle some totty’

Omi – A man but not a boy. ‘He’s too young for my liking; I’m looking for an omi.’

Remould – A sex change operation. ‘I heard that so-and-so has had a remould’

Rough trade – A masculine bloke or men. ‘Look at all the rough trade on that building site.

Todd – Alone, on your own. ‘That dally chap over there is on his todd, I’m going for a chat.’

Breeder – A heterosexual person. ‘Sexy chap, shame he’s a breeder.’

There are certainly many more gay dating code words that are yet to become part of common language, Polari though, is the oldest and most recognised of any languages used in gay dating.

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