Different Routes to Knowledge

The other night my mother and I were discussing the word “cuck.” It’s a new term that shows up often in the comments of political posts on Facebook and other social media these days. I couldn’t find a really authoritative definition, but I gather that it’s roughly an equivalent of “girly man.” It’s said to be derived from the word “cuckold,” which is defined as “a man whose wife has committed adultery.” My mother and I were sort of impressed that anyone knew that word, though, because it’s so old-fashioned. We’ve only ever encountered it in the works of classic literature.

Later, my husband and I had this illuminating conversation.

Husband: I almost don’t want to ask this, because I’m not sure I want to know the answer, but why were you and your mother talking about fetish porn?

Me: We weren’t. We were talking about a word.

Husband: Yeah. Cuckolding. That’s fetish porn.

(Husband explains what that form of fetish porn involves.)

Me: Well, my mother learned the word from Molière, and I learned it from Shakespeare.

Husband: Well, everyone else learned it from porn!

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