Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar

(On the social and sexual lives of gay men, with photos, so not to everyone’s taste. Almost surely not to Facebook’s taste.)

Recent Facebook conversation, initiated by poster J1:

First time being called “Daddy” while playing with a guy at a bar. Bittersweet!

With a response from J2:

Yeah, I can see the bittersweet part, for sure. Heh. I remember you as a total twink.

And from me:

Ah, those days. For me, it was papacito from a cute server at a Mexican restaurant. I was charmed.

daddy here is the name of a social identity, a gay “type” (like twink, bear, muscle-hunk, or leatherman); and by extension, of a subculture of men of this type; and by a different extension, of a role or relationship between men, between an older and a younger man. Such identities, subcultures, and roles can intersect and combine, as here:

(#1) Muscle bear daddies

From this morning’s posting “For Mothers Day”

in [the gay porn flick] New Rules … all four pornstars are hot muthuhs, but Dirk Caber and Dakota Rivers are also (muscle) daddies: muscle daddy muscle-hunk daddy ‘older man (esp. an attractive one)’. Some discussion in the 3/15/18 posting “Cumshots from muscle daddies”.

You can only be young so long (J1 once was indeed a twink), but then you become a daddy, and might be addressed or referred to as such.

On the shift from twink to daddy, from me in Facebook:

Sage observation from my first male lover: Eventually, if you live long enough, you will play all the parts in all the scenes you’ve been in. (My response [to him]: Well, you know the scripts.)

More from “For Mothers Day”, on the uses of daddy in the gay male social world:

briefly, there’s the use above, to refer to a category of gay men; and then there are uses to refer to one side of a daddy / boy relationship (see this Page on this blog); and there are relationships between older and younger men that lie entirely outside of daddy / boy practices: these turn on the pairing of adult experience (Priapus) with youthful enthusiasm (Apollo) in a generally egalitarian relationship.

Daddy / boy practices, in contrast, place responsibility on the daddy to care for the boy (or boi, to clarify that children are not involved) and often to supply other benefits to him (material or status rewards), in exchange for companionship, submission or obedience, or specific services (including sexual services). So there’s a range of tones in such relationships, going from something like concerned friendship through a kind of guardianship to a type of master / slave relationship or a form of male prostitution.

A collage of mine (from my 10/21/16 posting “Another Spanish lesson”, with a Daddy / Boy scene illustrating el papá taking charge of the body of his boi:

(#2) Note gay butterfly symbolism, which I’ll take up in another posting

The boi here is submissive (and enjoying the experience). Some bois are swishy (“effeminate”), some butch (gay men come in many flavors); this one doesn’t look particularly swishy. (More on swish and butch, with special reference to Mexican Spanish, below.)

Two photos showing more strongly age-differentiated daddy / boi couples, with clearly dominant daddies:



#4 frames the couple as insertive daddy / receptive boi, but in both real life and gay porn, these mansex roles can be more flexible.

On some of the variability in these relationships, from Wikipedia:

A “boi” is (generally) the younger person who prefers older partners, and is the “boi” in a “daddy and boi” dating, relationship, or sexual situation, where “boy” and “boi”, respectively, are used to differentiate between someone who is underage, and someone who just identifies as the younger who wants or needs someone older. In this context, “boi” can be masculine or effeminate, or anywhere along that spectrum, and some males identify as a “boi” well beyond their 20s, and especially so long as they are involved with older men. Often, though not always, a “boi” prefers a submissive role

A variant of the plain term boi is the elaborated sugar boi, as in this local ad trolling for sex (reproduced here as is, without editing):

hello iam 46m san jose lookin for a hot smooth sugar boi to spoil and pamper. Iam a vers guy uwho is looking for great sex and companionship in return the boi will get what he wantds..if interestred send a pic and let me know whats up joe

The lexicon watch. Relevant senses of daddy from GDoS, indicating the many directions of metaphorical extension (and contextual specialization) of the noun from its original use as an informal, affectionate synonym of father:

noun daddy: 1 a general term of address [from 1679; the core ‘father’ sense, extended to cover any man, or an old man, or an older man, or a respected or significant man, so the source of Daddy as a nickname] … 6 as the daddy, the supreme example, the most important, powerful, the best, the best known etc, often as the daddy of them/us all. [from 1843] 7 a boyfriend, a lover; also as a term of address. [from 1922; not (necessarily) age-differentiated] 8 (orig. US) an older man who is willing to provide the various material desires of his younger mistress or, if gay, male lover. [from 1926; referring to the institutionalized role in daddy / boi relationships] 9 (US black) a form of address to a black male, esp. by a woman to her lover. [from 1928] … 11 (US) a pimp, a prostitute’s boyfriend. [from 1937] 12 a masculine lesbian. [from 1941] … 14 an older male homosexual [picking out age]; a masculine homosexual [picking out butch]. [from 1950] 15 (US prison) the ‘active’ or ‘masculine’ partner of a homosexual couple [picking out top or butch]. [from 1969]

A notable gap in all of this is a lexical item denoting things outside the daddy / boi zone, and for which the terms daddy and boy/boi seem inappropriate: a (gay) boyfriend significantly older than his romantic or sexual partner, or his younger counterpart, or their relationship. This is the type of relationship depicted in the recent movie Call Me By Your Name, which I wrote about in a 3/1 posting: the pairing of adult experience (Priapus) with youthful enthusiasm (Apollo) in a generally egalitarian relationship that is emotionally satisfying to both partners.

Well, I find these lexical gaps notable, because I’ve been the older partner in six such relationships over the years. I just called these guys my boyfriends, omitting the fact that there was at least a 10-year difference in our ages — a fact that is certainly socially relevant. (For the record, they were all over 18, in fact over 21.)

Mexican Spanish chichifo and chichifa (referring to men). Here we are firmly in the daddy / boi zone, but with plenty of complexity. I stumbled on the topic via this Felix d’Eon print of a sugar daddy and his kept boy:

(#5) La Chichifa (fem. gender) denoting the boy

See my 2/17/17 posting “Felix d’Eon: on normalizing gay” on the (Mexican) artist, whose works aim at normalizing gay sex and sensibility, but with great humor:

however owlishly serious d’Eon’s motives might be, a great deal of his work is funny: XXX-rated comic artworks (compare my XXX-rated comic collages).

In the case of #5, we have el chichifo (masc. gender, referring to a male) feminized both in grammar and in persona: La Chichifa is a swish delight, a parody of effeminate boihood (and a gold-digger to boot). (I don’t know what the Spanish for (sugar) daddy is.)

chichifa is a reasonably well-attested spin-off of chichifo, Mexican Spanish for ‘male hustler’, an alternative to the vulgar puto or the more bleached sexservidor / sexo servidor‘sex worker’. But chichifo can also take us into the daddy / boy zone: from the Inforema website:

Chichifo: Persona que se relaciona sexual y emocionalmente con alguien a cambio de ciertos beneficios, pueden ser materiales o por estatus. Y este suele ser más joven y guapo que de quien obtiene los beneficios.

That is, such a chichifo offers a sexual and emotional relationship in exchange for benefits (material or in status); he is usually younger and more handsome than his partner.

Notes etymological and social. I was baffled by the words chichifo / chichifa, and flailed about in amateur-etymological mode looking to explain their form: I entertained chico ‘boy; fellow, guy’ and the elaborate but unlikely possibility el chícharo ‘(green) pea’ + el jefe ‘chief, boss’.

Then Wiktionary suggested it was a Mexican rendering (by mishearing) of cicisbeo, pronounced in Italian, with the sense of (roughly) ‘kept man’. Remarkably, this would fit into the cultural history of the upper classes during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe. From Wikipedia:

In 18th- and 19th-century Italy, the cicisbeo (Italian pronunciation: [tʃitʃizˈbɛːo]; plural: cicisbei), or cavalier servente (chevalier servant in French), was the professed gallant and perhaps lover in a sexual sense of a married woman, who attended her at public entertainments, to church and other occasions and had privileged access to his mistress. The arrangement is comparable to the Spanish cortejoor estrecho and, to a lesser degree, to the French petit-maître. The exact etymology of the word is unknown.

… The cicisbeo was better tolerated if he was known to be homosexual

Generally quite respectable arrangements, far from the disreputable sugar-boi chichifos y chichifas, not to mention the street male-hustler chichifos of Mexico and the American borderlands:


Well, metaphor is everywhere, and pejoration happens.

Beat Me, Daddy. From Wikipedia:

(#7) You can listen to the Andrews Sisters’ 1940 recording here

In a little honky-tonky village in Texas
There’s a guy who plays the best piano by far
He can play piano any way that you like it
But the way he likes to play is eight to the bar
When he plays, it’s a ball
He’s the daddy of them all [GDoS sense 6]

“Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” is a song written in 1940 by Don Raye, Ray McKinley, and Hughie Prince. It follows the American boogie-woogie tradition of syncopated piano music. The song was first recorded in 1940 by the Will Bradley orchestra, featuring drummer McKinley on vocals and Freddie Slack on piano.

… The title adopts 1940s’ hipster slang coined by Raye’s friend, Ray McKinley, a drummer and lead singer in the Jimmy Dorsey band in the 1930s. McKinley kicked off certain uptempo songs by asking pianist Freddie Slack (nicknamed “Daddy” [GDoS sense 1]) to give him a boogie beat, or “eight to the bar”.

One Response to “Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar”

  1. Johnny Rapid evolves | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] into daddy. from my 5/12/18 posting “Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the […]

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