As the sound of exploding steam signaled that it was time to walk into the kitchen and fill her coffee cup, Laetitia sat in the library of the Emerald Victorian planning the second day of her tour of Northern Ireland. As she looked at her map, she noticed a town called “Muff” on the opposite shore of Lough Foyle from Derry. It’s on the border between County Donegal and County Londonderry. She thought she remembered seeing it in one of the Bailey and Hurst books and when she looked, found that it was No. 24 in Rude World. When a place name appears in one of their “Rude” books, it usually means that there is at least one rude slang meaning for the word, likely unintended by the person(s) who chose the name. In their books, Bailey and Hurst tell the derivation of the name as far as it is known, but leave it to the reader to discover the slang meaning. Sometimes there are several, since slang evolves rapidly and may differ according to locale. For example, British slang meanings often differ from those of American or Australian slang.
From Bailey and Hurst you get truth
About place names that may sound uncouth
But, whose actual bent
Is as innocent
As “Our Lady of Gin and Vermouth.”
Laetitia had not been in the mood for Irish music when she arrived at 7:00 am, so she had put on a compact disk from a Seattle group called The Bobs. The members of the group all allegedly have the surname, “Bob,” sing a capella, and write their own songs which tend to be a bit quirky. About the time Laetitia discovered Muff on her map, the Bobs album entitled Coaster had reached the third track and was playing She Made Me Name You Earl. Laetitia had listened to the album several times before she made out the gist of the song. It’s a conversation between a man and his penis about his inamorata who insists on giving it the name, “Earl.” When she refers to a part of her anatomy, later in the song, as “her stuff,” he wonders if she’s talking about her “muff.”
Laetitia decided to take her group to Muff. As she perused her guidebook for tourist activities in Muff and environs, she noted under the heading of “Muff Diving,” that Muff had a diving school. As it turned out, most of those who joined her group thought diving would be a great way to spend the day. Those qualified joined the SCUBA group and the others snorkeled.
At the pub that afternoon, the bartender had a story about a local woman named Kitty, who was often the butt of jokes because she was oblivious to the slang meanings of the words she used. Once she decided to get a carpeted scratching pole for her very large cat and asked the male clerk at the pet store, “Do you have a pole big enough for my pussy?” The story that became the limerick of the day concerned the same woman. She invited a man to see “my Muff,” as she called her hometown and he got the wrong idea.
Ted Thomson said he’d seen enough
And walked down the street in a huff
For he thought he’d get more
Than just a town tour
When invited to see Kitty’s Muff.