Riffs on squat

(There will, as the title tells you, be riffs on squat, well, on squat. Since I’m given to finding my material in louche and faggy places, there will be brief encounters with squat — short and thick, fireplug-like — male organs and with a squatting position for receptive anal intercourse. But no visible body parts.)

I glanced at today’s incoming e-mail, which included a mailing from the New York Times with a link to a story of theirs offering life advice:


I found it remarkable that the paper was giving pointers on how to embark on living in uninhabited buildings without the legal right to do so. But then we live in precarious times, and millions are having trouble coping.

Then I found the fine print of the mail header:

The one exercise most of us should be doing

As Emily Litella would say:

Oh, that’s very different … Never mind!

What I had in my mind’s eye was something like this:

(#2) A squat in use (from the Bay Area Housing Law site on 11/14/18, in an undated horror story about squatters in the LA city of Torrance — yes, the source is very dubious, but the photo catches the ambience of urban squatting in the US)

But what the NYT had in mind was something like this:

(#3) (Wikipedia illustration)

From Wikipedia:

A squat is a strength exercise in which the trainee lowers their hips from a standing position and then stands back up. During the descent of a squat, the hip and knee joints flex while the ankle joint dorsiflexes; conversely the hip and knee joints extend and the ankle joint plantarflexes when standing up.

… The squat is one of the three lifts in the strength sport of powerlifting, together with the deadlift and the bench press. It is also considered a staple exercise in many popular recreational exercise programs.

(Previously on this blog: in my 4/8/17 posting “snatch”, there’s a section on squat snatches in weightlifting.)

V, Adj, N. On to the lexicography, which is gratifyingly rich. It starts with the posture verb and fans out from there. From NOAD:

verb squat: 1 [a: #4 and #5 below] [no object] crouch or sit with one’s knees bent and one’s heels close to or touching one’s buttocks or the back of one’s thighs: I squatted down in front of him. [b: #3 above] [with object] Weightlifting crouch down in a squat and rise again while holding (a specified weight) at one’s shoulders: he can squat 850 pounds. 2 [a] [no object] unlawfully occupy an uninhabited building or settle on a piece of land: eight families are squatting in the house. [b] [with object] occupy (an uninhabited building) unlawfully.

(#4) Howard Roffman photo of a young man squatting, from my 8/11/13 posting “crouch, squat, hunker”

(#5) Squatting in the service of affection and pleasure: the Asian (Squatting) Cowboy position for receptive anal intercourse, from my 8/25/21 posting “Sexual notes from 6/5” — a posting with a section on the body positions kneeling, squatting, crouching, and hunkering (plus squatting-kneeling, or squeeling) and the activities in which these postures are used (for kneeing and squeeling: genuflection, getting knighted, fellating a standing man, proposing marriage, among other things)

adj. squat: short and thickset; disproportionately broad or wide: he was muscular and squat | a squat gray house.

(#6) Buck wild bison sausages (from the company site), excellent models for the squat penis type; from my 3/25/20 posting “Three men”: “A relatively short — roughly a hand’s width — but significantly thick penis is sometimes known as a kielbasa  (after the Polish sausage) or a fireplug

noun squat: 1 [a] [in singular] a position in which one’s knees are bent and one’s heels are close to or touching one’s buttocks or the back of one’s thighs. [b: #3 above] Weightlifting an exercise in which a person squats down and rises again while holding a barbell at shoulder level. [c] (in gymnastics) an exercise involving a squatting movement or action. 2 [a: #2 above] a building occupied by people living in it without the legal right to do so: a basement room in a North London squat. [b] an unlawful occupation of an uninhabited building. 3 [see the vulgar minimizer discussion below] North American informal  short for diddly-squatI didn’t know squat about writing plays.

On diddly / doodly squat. In my 10/3/11 posting “diddly-squat”, I link back to material in a 7/20/05 Language Log posting of mine, “Curses!”, about:

the analysis of NPs like (doodlysquat, (jack)shit, and fuck(-all) in sentences like You (don’t) know jackshit about linguistics — by, among others, Larry Horn (“Flaubert triggers, squatitive negation, and other quirks of grammar”, in the 2001 volume Perspectives on Negation and Polarity Items, edited by Hoeksema et al.) and Paul Postal (“The structure of one type of American English vulgar minimizer”, chapter 5 in his 2004 collection Skeptical Linguistic Essays).

A squat crustacean bonus. In my 9/4/11 posting “lobster!”, a note on the squat lobster, which is neither a true lobster nor a prawn, and is more closely related to crabs. Another one of my notes on the vagaries of naming.

A vulgar bonus on squat penises. (Some readers might want to skip this section.) Reflecting on the adjective squat (whose deployment in texts might repay closer attention) led me quickly to the contrast with stout, and then, thanks to the penis riff above, to a burlesque of the novelty song “I’m a Little Teapot”:

I’m a little penis
Short and squat.
Those are my monster nuts,
That’s my meaty hotshot.

When I get all steamed up
Hear me shout:
Get your mouth on my cock,
Suck my sweet jizz out!

From Wikipedia:

“I’m a Little Teapot” is an American novelty song describing the heating and pouring of a teapot or a whistling tea kettle. The song was originally written by George Harold Sanders and Clarence Z. Kelley and published in 1939.

The relevant piece of the original, before I got my hands on it:

I’m a little teapot
Short and stout.
Here is my handle,
Here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up
Hear me shout:
Tip me over
And pour me out!

I would apologize more for my perversion of innocence here, except that the song has always seemed vaguely suggestive to me; the teapot can be taken as a symbol of the body, and the boiling water as ecstasy or eruption, perhaps sexual.

One Response to “Riffs on squat”

  1. J B Levin Says:

    Thanks for another new word, always a surprising type of discovery when, according to Merriam-Webster on line, “The word is still quite visible today and is used to describe both people and things of questionable repute,” but I don’t recall having ever run across it: louche.

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