The Outhouse

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Faye Fox, Dec 20, 2021.

  1. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    Before it slips my aging mind, I wonder if all of you know that the term "to moon" referring to dropping your drawers and showing your bare bottom as an insult, came from the old ritual of cutting out a moon shape in an outhouse door. To moon meant to set your bottom on the comforts of that carefully sculptured hole leading to an underground chamber that would be dressed with a sprinkling of lime after the business was concluded.

    Sometime in the late 1970s my friend a horse nut, announced a girl road trip up north for a big horse sale. She needed another horse like she needed a hole in her head. Her overgrazed pastures were to my advantage because, in trade for a highly trained cow horse on a lease spring to fall, I provided 10 acres of luscious grass pasture. I wasn't much into trail riding and all that recreational horse stuff, but riding the allotments checking on cattle for area ranchers was a fun way to pick up some extra cash and keep my coveted status as a cattle woman. Just having a horse alone was seen as being a "cowgirl" even though no cows might be found for 100 miles. That always frosted my patoot. A frosted patoot is another saying I developed from my winter outhouse using days. I don't think I need to explain.

    Anyway, on that rural trip traffic was moving slow and since I was riding "shotgun" I and the back cab (Ford 250 dual cab) shotgun rider were dared to moon the shirtless well-tanned hunks working along the freeway. They were waving at us so after we whistled at them and on a dare, we shotgunners mooned them. Sure glad I got that off my bucket list when I was young because now such a baring of my bottom, public or private, to a male would have me in jail for manslaughter. Indecent exposure is a lesser charge than manslaughter. The beauty of being in our late 20s is none of the guys filed charges against us. Doubters say that the old dual axle horse trailer blocked the pickup license plates, thus saving our bacon.

    Ok, let's depart from that irrelevant rambling to address the origin of riding shotgun. In short, it referred to the rider carrying a shotgun alongside the teamster driving a stagecoach.

    Wait a minute. Why are undies referred to as drawers? That one puzzled me as a child, but my granny cleared the air stating the obvious. Outer clothes are hung but underwear is put in drawers. Long Johns is another puzzler but easily understood when you think of using "the john" on a cold day which was originally an outdoor facility void of any "fancy pants" modernization. Long johns were worn to bed so a mid-night visit to the "john" was a bit more bearable.

    Now fancy pants come from the idea that one wears dress pants rather than work pants. Sunday dress is excluded from this saying of judgment. A salesman in a suit trying to sell aluminum siding to a remote rustic ranch boasting a log cabin would be met with, " Hand me my shotgun papa some "fancy pants" vermin is headed our way to try and swindle us out of our last buffalo (referring to a nickel).

    You all see how the outhouse, the privy, the john, the loo, the potty, the facilities, etc., opens doors to an entire variety of topics. Even Sears and Rearback and Monkey Wards can be mentioned in the same breath. I gotta see a man about a horse comes from the days when that was a phrase used for a guy to escape off to the horse race and hang out with his buddies where nothing good ever happened, so the wives assigned a factious meaning to it indicating a visit to the bodily relief facilities was in order to express their disgust with their spouses attempts to hide the truth.

    I was discussing the outhouse of old with a group of young ranch ladies that claimed outhouse experience because they had used port-a-johns or potties at the rodeo. I was incensed that that had the audacity to compare that plastic highly chemicalized oasis of refuge to the organic wooden outhouse of old. Does that plastic container of toxicity have a moon cut in the door? No, they do not, so there!
     
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    Last edited: Dec 20, 2021
  2. Ed Wilson

    Ed Wilson Veteran Member
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  3. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    There is a boat landing and picnic area on Upper Goose Creek near Washington, NC. It doesn't have electricity or running water but it does have a toilet! An honest to god, authentic, hole in the ground toilet. It has toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Other than that , no frills. I have used it but I can't remember if it has a half moon on the door.
     
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  4. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    If no moon on the door, perhaps taking a keyhole saw on your next visit is in order. :D
     
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  5. John West

    John West Very Well-Known Member
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    The grandparents I lived with at an early age had an outhouse, but I don't think there was a moon carved on the door. Neither did the two-holer at a lumber camp I spent some weeks at. The camp crapper was pretty ripe, given there were two dozen young men using it every day. In neither case do I remember any supply of lime to be sprinkled, although I knew it was a common practice. Having used outhouses gives one a great appreciation for the modern conveniences.

    By contrast, the modern "porcelain facility" brings with it a number of potential topics of discussion, all centered around parting you from your money. I speak of such things as heated toilet seats, bidets, scent dispensers, in-toilet night lights, self-sanitizing toilet brushes, foot warmers, and such. I am told there are some men who are looking forward to an intelligent toilet seat that will go up or down on voice command should there be a need for some quick action. Such seats could also be a boon to men who're not sitzpinklers and have trouble bending over or are too lazy to raise or put down the seat. Women might also find that useful.

    Great topic!
     
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  6. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    With all this modern technology, here we are talking s...t. I never thought I'd see the day.



    [​IMG]
     
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  7. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I've been there fishing back in the 60s.

    Out Route 7 West?
     
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  8. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    On 264 east of Washington.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    When we lived in the burbs of DC, we had a neighbor who was from the sticks. Her father was caretaker for Eric Severeid's summer place. I've fished in Eric's pond.

    They did not have indoor plumbing...just a chamber pot kept under the bed for middle-of-the-night use.
     
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  10. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I misread. Mine was outside of Washington DC. Gee, I wonder how many Goose Creeks there are?
     
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  11. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    Well, there is Upper Goose Creek, Lower Goose Creek and Goose Creek.:)
     
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  12. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    I might add that the story behind the crescent moon on a privy is the moon was considered to be a female sign and originally a privy for female use and male privies used a star. The star privy lost fame because men seldom used the starred privies opting to use the great outdoors. Somehow the crescent moon privy took over as a unisex privy. Another version of the story is the moon and/or star cut out was to let in light at night.

    I have never seen an old privy with a star on it, but I did find some old photos of such.
     
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  13. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    In keeping with the theme here...better they be in any creek than crappin' on the golf courses.
     
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  14. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Supreme Member
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    The only good Canada goose is a dead Canada goose.
     
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  15. Faye Fox

    Faye Fox Veteran Member
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    Sounds like someone has stepped in goose poo or was maybe goosed while wearing shorty shorts and suffered a bruised biffy.

    Back to the outhouse. Have any of you ever heard of an outhouse called a biffy? I was told in western and mid-Canada it is called a biffy. Biffy to me means butt. "You can bet your sweet biffy on that." Other names include privy possibly from the further east French Canadians, and kybo used by American boy scouts with rumored origins of using Kybo brand coffee grounds to help keep down the odor. I found lime to be the best treatment.
     
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