Feel-copping

For the annals of synthetic compounds, this item from Joe Clark:

Man-pat and side-squeeze no match for teenage feel-copping

with a link to a Toronto Star story of September 12 (“For teenagers, body-to-body contact says it all”) about teenage fashions in hugging and the like: the side-squeeze, the surprise hug, the boyfriend-girlfriend hug, and the male-to-male non-hug the man-pat. There is some concern about kids crossing the line into sexually inappropriate contact, which is where feel-copping comes into it.

The story starts with the slangy idiom cop a feel (‘surreptitiously fondle someone in a sexual manner’, as the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms glosses it), with the slang verb cop ‘steal, take’ in it.

There are two participants in a feel-copping event: someone who does the feeling (the Feeler), and someone who is felt up (the Felt). In active-voice uses of the idiom, the Felt can be left unexpressed, its identity determined from context (“Kim copped a feel”), or the Felt can be expressed via an oblique object, with the preposition from, of, or on (“Kim copped a feel from/of/on me”).

Then there are passive-voice uses of the idiom, in which the Felt can be expressed via a subject (“I got/had a feel copped (on me)”), with optional expression of the Feeler in a by-PP (“I got/had a feel copped (on me) by Kim”). In other passive constructions, both Felt and Feeler can be left unexpressed (“It was the first time I ever saw a feel coppped on screen”). There are probably other possibilities, but these illustrate the versatility of the idiom.

In the next step, the noun feel can be “incorporated” into a compound with the PRP (present participle) copping as head: the result is the synthetic compound feel-copping, which has nominal uses (in “for teenage feel-copping”, above), verbal uses (“They were feel-copping each other”), and adjectival uses (“Feel-copping strangers are a menace”). Here is an illustration of some of the possibilities:

You are Jenny McIntyre (not your real name). When you were a bit of a sexually (and biologically, if we’re being honest here) advanced middle schooler, you regularly engaged in feel-copping with a boy. And sometimes, this feel-copping occurred in public venues such as, say, your 7th-grade Texas history classroom. Whatever. You’ve since recovered and now live a quiet, happy life with your girlfriend, with whom you travel the United States. When you run into an old friend on facebook, a friend who just happens to be the feel-copping boy, you do not hesitate to add him as a friend. And, you are happy to confirm, as you always suspected, that HE’S GAY TOO! You smile. (link)

The next step would be for the synthetic compound feel-copping to serve as the basis for a back-formed verb to feel-cop. I haven’t found any instances, but I can hope.

One Response to “Feel-copping”

  1. Neal Says:

    Have you looked for “felt-copped”?

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