Annals of phallicity: or are you just happy to see me?

Over on ADS-L, the quotation hounds have been considering

Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

which is widely attributed to a flirty Mae West — it *sounds* like the sort of thing she would have said — but without any actual source in some particular movie. There’s a huge family of variants here, constituting the verbal counterparts to the examples of visual phallicity I’ve so often posted about.

Gun, pistol, banana (the version I think of as “original”, just from my own remembered experience), and (as Larry Horn wrote on ADS-L)

also light sabers, chocolate bars and other long and (roughly) cylindrical objects. The links at [the tvtropes pages on “or you just happy to see me”] are instructive, even if the author of the text at the site takes it for granted (with no support offered) that it originated with West.

The site provides a parallel as far back as Aristophanes’ Lysistrata:

Herald: I am a herald, of course, I swear I am, and I come from Sparta about making peace.

Magistrate: But look, you are hiding a lance under your clothes, surely.

No doubt we could take the jape back into the mists of time. It’s a natural metaphor.

 

 

2 Responses to “Annals of phallicity: or are you just happy to see me?”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Victor Steinbok on Google+:

    The only versions I recall involved pens and/or pencils, but that must have come from Mel Brooks (Madeline Kahn doing a Marlene Dietrich parody in Blazing Saddles? More similar mischief in History of the World, Part 1, and in Young Frankenstein). Then, there’s Lysistrata [quoted in my posting].

    Between 1978 and 1982, IMDB picks up at least four titles that use variations on the phrase, not all of them phallic.

    Meatballs (1979):
    Are those Clorets in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

    Sextette (with Mae West, 1978):
    Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

    The Beach Girls (1982):
    Is that a salami in your pocket, or you just glad to see me?

    The Pirate Movie (1982):
    Is that a dagger in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) also had a similar line:
    Is that a rabbit in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

    I also found a claim (no evidence, but possible) that the original line came from Mae West’s 1933 film She Done Him Wrong.

    “Is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?” (link)

    IMDB has a bunch of interesting quotes from West’s character, but this one is not among them, so attribution may be apocryphal (but it’s also in Wiki, although [with] the ubiquitous “citation needed”):

    Lady Lou: Come up again – any time.
    Serge Stanieff: I shall, then I hope you will be alone.
    Lady Lou: So do I, warm, dark and handsome.

    Lady Lou: Diamonds is my career.

    Lady Lou: Listen, when women go wrong, men go right after them.

    Captain Cummings: Well, surely you don’t mind my holding your hand?
    Lady Lou: It ain’t heavy – I can hold it myself.

    I suspect that Sextette not only revived the trope, but also caused it to be associated with “gun”.

    Some of this material is already on the tvtropes site; you have to follow the links there.

  2. Shapiro on quotation dictionaries « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Fred lists a number of notable omissions from the new Bartlett’s, including the “or are you just glad to see me?” quote alluded to in the title of his review (attributed to Mae West, but without any, um, hard evidence; see my posting on the quotation). […]

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