Annals of innuendo and ambiguity: from 10PerCent

In my e-mail today, a sale on gay greeting cards from the 10PerCent company. Reproduced here are the fronts of four birthday cards, starting with a phallic number (with an ambiguity inside), going  on through two that look more promising (until you get to the sexual ambiguity inside) and one with the ambiguity on the front (and an innuendo inside).

Start with the heavily phallic number (bananas, especially in a mouth, are perennials):


Inside: You’re my favorite fruit. An unsubtle play on the edible fruit vs. fruit ‘a homosexual, queer’.

A slightly more subtle play in this one:


Ah, just the hunk for you. But inside: God knows you’ve had them every other place. A play on existential have vs. sexual have.

And then:


It seems to be promising a dick for you in this card. But inside: Cut along line. Insert penis here …  Instructions for putting your dick into the card.



On the front: two readings for boy toy: roughly, ‘a toy in the image of a boy’ vs. ‘a boy used as a sexual toy, as someone to toy with sexually’. And two ways to take play with: neutrally or with sexual intent. (And possibly two ways to take action, and maybe even box as well, given the hands on the buttocks.) So the front is drenched with sexual meanings or innuendos, a fact that then colors the way you take a standard caution for toys (on the inside): Some parts may be a choking hazard.

There are plenty more like this; the sexually suggestive greeting card is something of a genre.

4 Responses to “Annals of innuendo and ambiguity: from 10PerCent”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Ann Burlingham on Facebook, about #1:

    what a picture!

    My response:

    And the *clothes*, honey, to match the wallpaper! Dirty-louche body and gesture, absurdly faggy clothing.

  2. Uncle Glenny Says:

    Much better than the standard picture of Kirk Cameron.

  3. Possessve ambiguity | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] is multiply ambiguous, and that ambiguity can be exploited for language play. A few days ago, I posted about the greeting card caption “Here’s your dick in a card” (#3), turning on your dick […]

  4. Annals of ambiguity: more 10PerCent | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] gag birthday card from the 10PerCent firm (four others were posted here). Like so many such cards, this one comments bitterly on the recipient’s aging: one year […]

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