Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paperback 565: The Third Sex / Artemis Smith (Beacon 649)

Paperback 565: Beacon Books B649F (2nd ptg, 1963)

Title: The Third Sex
Author: Artemis Smith
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $25
Best things about this cover:
  • Joan was excited about embarking on her new life as a Lesbian superhero, but disappointed at the costume prototype.
  • Seriously, in what context, outside magician's assistant, would one wear that?
  • You can tell Joan is gay because she's named after the famous lesbian heroine Joan of Arc. You can tell Marc is gay because no straight Mark would be caught dead with that spelling outside of France. This is all to say that I don't think they were "fooling" anybody. 
  • "Artemis Smith" screams 'pseudonym.' Artemis hangs out (often naked) only with the ladies, and Smith ... is the pseudonymoustiest name in the book.
  • "Society's greatest curse?" Tell that to the legions of masturbators who bought this thing.
  • Speaking of "The Third Sex," I'm still hunting for a pre-1980s usage of the phrase "lipstick lesbian." I'll admit, I'm using "hunting" here rather loosely. What I mean is, "occasionally flipping through some books I have." Anyway, I know the phrase was in use decades before the '80s, and I want proof!

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Surcease" made me LOL hard.
  • "Strange Annals of Love" = the Judas Priest cover band Marc plays in on weekends
  • On the front cover, the naked girl in the bed looks fantastic. Here, she looks like a mermaid who's been in a bad accident.

Page 123~
They finished their coffee and left the luncheonette.
I know it's not the sexiest or most outrageous sentence in the world. I just like the word "luncheonette."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]


Brian Busby said...

Surely that's not meant to be Joan and Marc on the cover.

Joan, if you really wanted to "fool the world", you shouldn't have married a she male.

beh said...

Proof (from 1971):

Rex Parker said...

Nope. Not proof. Look closer.

beh said...

Ah, damn you Google and your poor metadata!

Random White Guy said...

What is up with her pinky? Is she giving us a secret lesbian gang sign?

Retro Hound said...

From the Oxford English Dictionary, which is the go-to source for word origins in English. It's 20 huge volumes, so you know it's pretty comprehensive. They have the earliest at 1984.

lipstick lesbian n. colloq. (orig. U.S. and sometimes derogatory) a lesbian of glamorous or manifestly feminine appearance and behaviour.
1984 A. Maupin Babycakes ix. 40 Her ‘character lines’ made her begin to wonder if there was such a thing as too much character... Was it time to relent, to throw in the towel and become a lipstick lesbian?
1994 This Mag. (Toronto, Ont.) Nov. 12 All these gorgeous women are getting into it, from the elegant lipstick lesbians to the post-punk baby dykes.
2000 Daily Record (Glasgow) (Electronic ed.) 21 Oct., One minute she is a glam high-flying gun toting gangster's moll, the next she is a lipstick lesbian in a nasty blue uniform selling ciggies on a garage forecourt.

lipstick lesbianism n.
1993 Evening Standard (Nexis) 9 Nov. 25 kd lang, Nashville's first lady of lipstick lesbianism.
1995 Daily Tel. 16 May 19/6 Ever since pretty young Beth Jordache first kissed her lady tutor on Brookside, gay girls have become rather fashionable..and the opportunity to write about ‘lipstick lesbianism’ and ‘designer dykes’ has not gone unseized.
2001 Sunday Herald (Glasgow) 1 Oct. (Directory) 6/4 The current vogue for lipstick lesbianism, which sees apparently straight stars..dabbling on-screen in same-sex snogging.

Rex said...

Yes I know what the oed is and I have done the prelim research - I know the date they give is 80s. I have discussed this w women who insist lipstick lesbian was in use at least 20 yrs earlier. Hence my quest.

Ben Zimmer said...

I believe Rex has established that "lipstick lesbian" does not, in fact, appear in Take a Lesbian to Lunch (1972), but there's still a chance it was used elsewhere in the early work of Marijane Meaker / M.E. Kerr / Ann Aldrich.

Retro Hound said...

Did you see this?

Oxford English Dictionary releases "OED Appeals" to crowdsource the origin of words

The Oxford English Dictionary has announced the launch of OED Appeals, "a major online initiative set to involve the public in tracing the history of English words. Using a dedicated community space on the OED website, editors are soliciting help in unearthing new information about the history and usage of English, including the earliest examples of particular words."