8 August, 2012
Midair, somewhere between Sydney and Brisbane, a bloke called Geoff McKee started thinking Virgin was a pretty silly name for an airline. If nothing else, the word denotes a lack of experience, the last thing you want to underline to potential clients.
But what’s the alternative? Does virgin have an antonym, he asked me via email. Jokingly I suggested Tramp Airlines: We Get Around. But Geoff persisted: there has to be an English word the embodies ‘non-virginity’ and yet avoids slurs of promiscuity.
Mother? Father? Is there? Help!
As Geoff goes on to write: “There must be a single word that categorises a female as belonging to this category, without in any way making a value judgement about the desirability or otherwise of virginity. If not in English, then maybe in another language?”
And why, he adds, are we “lost for words” when it comes to the state of non-virginity?
All valid questions, and none I could easily answer. Is this an infamous language gap Geoff encountered, midair, halfway to Brisbane? Fill us in.