Our Sponsors:

Read more »

Our Members

Many thanks to Randall Smith and Bill Mitchell some of our many supporters.

ALL MEMBERS »

What does one name streetcars when the line is called SLUT?

The dirty mind boggles. Seattle has such a long and proud tradition. We offer some suggestions and desire yours.

After testing is done to make sure the cars start and stop when desired, we'll get our first chance to ride on the new Seattle Streetcar on Dec. 14. The route is generally from South Lake Union to Westlake Center and back, with 11 stops. In December you can ride for free, and then the basic fare is $1.50.

That first public run isn't far off, so we have work to do. Recently, Mayor Greg Nickels drove one of the cars back and forth while a group of journalists watched. We were considerate journalists, so none of us mentioned the elephant on the tracks. That elephant is what the line is going to be called. Its promoters are pushing "Seattle Streetcar," but they haven't a chance in hell. No matter what Mayor Nickels, Paul Allen, The Feary PR Group, or anybody else desires, the South Lake Union Trolley is going to be called the SLUT – as in "Ride the Slut," already appearing on purchasable T-shirts. If you need good reasons for calling the line that, read Eugene Carlson's nice piece in the Crosscut blog, titled, "That which we call a SLUT by any other name would be a big mistake."

So if, as seems inevitable, it's going to be the Slut, then we would be fools not to embrace and exploit the concept as much as possible. Which means we have to name the three streetcars, not just the streetcar line. If it worked for New Orleans (imagine the disappointment of A Streetcar Named #42), it will work for us. But for the full emotional, promotional effect, they must be named in the spirit of sluttiness. When that first trolley pulls up on Dec. 14, it must already have an evocatively slutty name emblazoned on each end.

Naming the cars for actual sluts is problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that many sluts have lawyers. My suggestion would be to name the cars not for known sluts but for known and acknowledged slut-mongerers. Fortunately, our local history provides obvious candidates.

The first car – I'd go for the red one – should be named the Madame Damnable, for the foul-mouthed harridan (real name Mary Anne Conklin) who so terrorized the city's first white citizens and ran an "inn" on land purchased from Doc Maynard.

The second streetcar – the purple one – should be named the Lou Graham (born Dorothea Georgine Emile Ohben), in honor of the madam whose cathouse at Third Avenue and Washington Street was the only truly first-class brothel in town a hundred years ago. The late Bill Speidel claimed that a lot more city business was conducted in the parlor at Lou's than in City Hall up the street, and he was probably right. Certainly the city should find a way to pay tribute to her efforts to maintain a good, clean establishment with advertised prices and lavish accoutrements.

There's no obvious candidate for the third, orange streetcar, but here are some possible names to consider:

  • John, because two slut-monger-honoring streetcars should be followed by a John. Or perhaps because even though "slut" is usually applied to women, there's nothing that says it has to be. I've known a number of male sluts. So perhaps the third car should have a generic male name to represent all those guys who don't know "gigolo" is Italian for "slut." People like, oh ...
  • ... Frank Colacurcio Sr. Surely the subtext of a strip club is that the young ladies on stage and pole are sluts, whether they are or not. And therefore, who's been a bigger slut-mongerer in our city than the legendary strip club entrepreneur and 90-year-old convicted groper?
  • Gracie Hansen. The 1962 Seattle World's Fair had an "adult entertainment" area (about where KCTS-TV is now) with a few offerings, the most famous of which was Ms. Hansen's "Paradise International: A Night in Paradise." It was a "Vegas-style" show that by today's standards would probably look like a Daughters of the American Revolution luncheon but was then the ultimate in slap-and-tickle sophistication. (How long ago was 1962? The fair's midway was called The Gayway.)
  • Gaby. This ecdysiast/artiste was pictured brandishing her "44s" outside the Rivoli Follies Burlesque in downtown Seattle for decades. For thousands of us baby-boomer males who found an excuse to pass by the theater, Gaby was a hint of The Possible, even in her static magnificence on the poster. I would ride Gaby for a buck and a half even if I didn't want to go to Westlake Center.

Just a few ideas. Your suggestions are welcome, although please remember that there's probably never been a court determination as to whether calling someone a "slut" is a prima facie case of slander.

Greg Palmer is a Seattle writer and television producer who has worked in media a long time. He's best know locally for his work as a features reporter, arts and entertainment critic, and humorist at KING-TV from 1977-1990. Since, Palmer has produced numerous public-television programs for PBS and KCTS-TV in Seattle, including Vaudeville: An American Masters Special and Death: The Trip of a Lifetime. You can reach him in care of editor@crosscut.com.


Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!

Comments:

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 7:16 a.m. Inappropriate

How about Nellie Curtis?: Then the SLUT would have a Nellie Bell...

From the entry at History Link. Org:

....Among those who stepped into the void at Pike Place Market was an enterprising businesswoman named Nellie Curtis. She catered to a different but no less basic need than food, namely, sex. Curtis took over a Japanese American family's lease on the Outlook Hotel at the foot of Pike Street and renamed it the "LaSalle," possibly after the General Motors' luxury automobile. Her attempts at discretion were thwarted by as many as 1,000 sailors lining up at the door for a "ride." Curtis kept the motor running for nearly a decade before selling the hotel to new Japanese American owners, who, to the disappointment of many a lonely mariner, turned it into a legitimate hotel.

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 7:27 a.m. Inappropriate

And Mamie Jenkins, The contortionist that inflamed a deadly confrontation in 1901: Police Chief William Meredith is killed on June 25, 1901.
HistoryLink.org Essay 161

On June 25, 1901, former Seattle police chief William L. Meredith (1869-1901) was shot through the heart in Pioneer Square following a confrontation with saloon owner John Considine (1868-1943) and his brother Tom Considine (1857-1933).
...During his brief tenure as police chief, Meredith had targeted Considine's operations for investigation. In retaliation, Considine put the chief in a bad light by claiming in a City Council committee hearing to have been solicited for bribes by police.

As a result of this revelation, Meredith was pressured into resigning. Mayor Thomas J. Humes (d. 1905) immediately accepted his resignation.

Meredith, additionally inflamed by Considine's accusation that he had impregnated a female contortionist named Mamie Jenkins, sought revenge. He acquired a sawed-off shotgun and stalked Considine. He waited at the Yesler and Occidental cable car station until he saw the Considine brothers entering the Guy's Drugstore on 2nd Avenue. He followed them and fired the shotgun but managed only to wound John, who called to his brother for help. In a 90-second scuffle, Tom Considine fractured Meredith's skull. John Considine grabbed the former police chief's revolver and shot him in the heart.

John Considine was arrested for murder. He was acquitted in November 1901 based on a defense argument of "continuous struggle."

The event marked a political struggle labeled the "open town" issue, which concerned the opening of the city to saloons, casinos, and other establishments that catered to Alaska gold seekers. The Considine brothers benefited from this open town policy, but others alleged it contributed to corruption and violence.

A nice side bar: Considine's grandson lives in Port Townsend, and could ride Mamie. Perhaps a nice photo op for the Visitor and Convention materials...

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 8:34 a.m. Inappropriate

COYOTE Car: COYOTE Car has a nice ring to it. It would honor not just one slut, but the entire membership of the Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics prostitutes' organization. It could have the additional PR benefit of perhaps being applied in a broader context to the new "nanny state" crisis that is sweeping our fair city of late.

MaryW

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 8:45 a.m. Inappropriate

There is more than one kind of slut...: We're thinking too narrowly here. Let's consider options beyond sex. It's possible to be a slut when it comes to other things. How about naming the street cars after other insatiable appetites: Growth, Development, Public Subsidy and Pork? These names would be a kind of truth in advertising for a line serving South Lake Union and downtown.

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 8:59 a.m. Inappropriate

RE: There is more than one kind of slut...: Brilliant, Knute!

MaryW

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 9:27 a.m. Inappropriate

Of course, if my evil twin....: was working for the mayor, I would insist the streetcars each be called "Affordable Housing" or "Workforce Housing." That way I could insist that we in fact do have Affordable Housing downtown and in South Lake Union. In fact, it is right on track!

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 9:34 a.m. Inappropriate

RE: There is more than one kind of slut...: Listen...it's sex that's going to drive this thread, so just enjoy it!

Or...why not just stick a pic of Mayor Quarters' girth on a streetcar? Where is it written that only words can be used? And why can't the cars themselves be decked out...alluringly? Might help attract riders.

The Piper

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 9:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Lucky SLUT Casino and Resort...: How about selling a couple cars to the Tulalip's or Muckleshoot's? Declare them reservation territory, put in slots, roulette, and a blackjack table. Maybe have the caboose run by the Washington Liquor Control Board, offering special discounts on past pull date Ol' Prop 1 Rock & Rye?

Name a car the Satiacum? Or the Charles O. Carroll (Carroll Car has an alliterative ring to it)? The Ivar Express?

Since we've had way too many local politicos caught in flagrante delicto, there simply aren't enough cars to christen. Why not do like we do for President's Day, and name one car "Public Service." Then let the imagination wander...

Will any cars feature private booths?

The Piper

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 9:55 a.m. Inappropriate

further suggestions and some comments: some comments on prior suggestions:

1] coyote is a wonderful animal, many packs reside within the city limits, in contemporary terms it is a smuggler guide across the long border to the south;

2] there something nicely intriguing about palmer's suggestion of "gracie hansen"... even if one hasnt the faintest about the reference.... must be some kind of good girl gone bad... who are usually the hottest.... gracie suggests goldrush or rum running days...

3] gaby is both too generic and nice and too unsexy...

4] "lulu" has possibilties for a city that wants to be word class... and since there are few lulus around who might be personally offended..

5] i suggest "connie lingers" .... for the car that stops over the longest..

6] on the other, if the streetcars are going to have changeable destination indicators, as buses do, the possibilities grow considerably larger, and allow of greater leeway: perhaps the conductor at whim and fancy changes the name of the vehicle to what ever he wants it to be? "mirage of cathouse of years ago" [for a few blocs] "anything goes"....
mikerol

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 10:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Naming Rights: Call them the papal liners, as in "pay Paul [Allen]."

Tria

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 10:07 a.m. Inappropriate

RE: further suggestions and some comments: Good points, mikerolm. But just to clarify--a distiction must be made between the beloved wild animal coyote or the preditory, blood-sucking human smuggler coyote and COYOTE--Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics--the organization formed in the mid 70s (and continues to this day) to advocate for legalization of prostitution and for legal rights for sex workers.

MaryW

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 10:41 a.m. Inappropriate

RE: further suggestions and some comments: As someone who lost a really beloved orange kitty to a coyote, I'm hardpressed to call a coyote "beloved" in return. I now keep the .22 loaded and at the ready because I don't plan on losing another beloved kitty - white, this time - to a predator.

Does this qualify me to have car named in my honor?

The Piper

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 10:49 a.m. Inappropriate

SO IF SLUT AND HOOKER ARE SYNONYMOUS: ...at least for our discussions here (they aren't, of course)...and the definition is "will do anything for money", then surely one of the cars should be called
THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON.
GPalmer

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 10:58 a.m. Inappropriate

RE: SO IF SLUT AND HOOKER ARE SYNONYMOUS: How soon before Taylor deletes your comment, Palmer, for violating Crosscut's gold standards?

To equate the saintly UW with anything hookerly is blasphemous!

After all, not for money or anything does anyone at the UW play football worth a hoot! Or a hooter...

The Piper

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 11:25 a.m. Inappropriate

Coyote Slayer: Yes.

MaryW

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 11:54 a.m. Inappropriate

Coyote Slayer: Yes.

(I apologize for the earlier mispost.)
MaryW

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 12:18 p.m. Inappropriate

Workers of the world...: Since Seattle still buys into the pretty much discredited notion that unions have any relevence in the private sector, and since SLUT will be operated by public employees who are represented by unions that pretty much tell local politicians what to do, may I suggest three more names:

The Dave Beck Car...entrance into which is limited to those who can prove that their tax returns match Dave's for creativity and criminality.

The Wobbly Car...in honor of early PNW ax-handle-based labor relations. Might be a bit tough convincing people to ride in a Wobbly SLUT car, so a concerted PR effort undertaken by all the now-unemployed campaign consultants might be necessary.

SEIU Car...ridershp limited to certain state legislators who will be given their marching orders and have letters for their signature ghost written by a certain labor organization.

Probably will need more cars soon...

The Piper

Posted Thu, Nov 8, 1:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Toronto Street Car Advertises "Ride the Rocket": In Toronto, riding the streetcar is called "Riding the Rocket" - and the transit agency advertisements encourage people to "Ride the Rocket". When stuck in traffic though - it's not so pleasurable. No kidding. Streetcards need dedicated lanes to be most effective.

Posted Fri, Nov 9, 10 a.m. Inappropriate

Jean Godden: Definitely.

I can't believe no one had the temerity to say it before me.

-Doug

Posted Fri, Nov 9, 10:03 a.m. Inappropriate

Whoops: How could I be so crass and stupid. Please, let me correct myself.

Make that Madam Goddamnable.

-D

Posted Fri, Nov 9, 2:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Keep It Simple: Three trolleys, right? Seems obvious to me: blonde, brunette and redhead..

Primo

Posted Fri, Nov 9, 3:50 p.m. Inappropriate

HOW ABOUT: Wynken, Blynken, and Snog?

GPalmer

Posted Fri, Nov 9, 5:11 p.m. Inappropriate

Or...: Knute, Ktaylor, and Kbrewster...

The Piper

Posted Fri, Nov 9, 11:54 p.m. Inappropriate

Charlie Chong: Charlie Chong as a longtime activist, city council member, and mayoral candidate, certainly would have voted against the trolley. Hence, the future blue or black trolley gets named after Charlie Chong.

animalal

Posted Sun, Nov 18, 8:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Suggest the real effect is the high road: Naming the cars for sluts of history is so obvious, and merely adds smut and no fun to a line destined for more fame than 'Desire'. Rather, in consideration of the operators who will be baring the brunt of the off-color comment on a daily basis, rise above muddy slog, and name the cars for something (with tongue firmly in cheek) we all would 'take a ride on daily until our dying day.' Name those S.L.U.T. vehicles 'health', 'wealth,' and 'happiness', and dare anyone to disagree.

Calvin Anderson
---originally from Tacoma but now living in San Franciso where our historic block of notarity is now named "Maiden Lane".

Login or register to add your voice to the conversation.

Join Crosscut now!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow Us »