In Reply to: Grey hair doesnt spoil the beaver posted by RRC on October 28, 2008 at 06:07:
: : : : : My wife sometimes uses the phrase 'Grey hair doesnt spoil the beaver'. I thought it sounded funny. She claims it is a common phrase in other parts of the world. Anyone have thoughts?
: : : : I haven't heard it in the U.S. What part of the world are you in? ~rb
: : : Tom, does your wife understand the connotation of the phrase? If so, it shows how far we have come towards equalizing the sexes, at least in the area of self-expression. Or, alternatively, the phrase means something altogether different from what I would expect. Incidentally, I, like rb, have spent my life in the U.S. without ever hearing the phrase.
: : : SS
: : I couldn't find any no hits on google, other than this page. It's a good saying, although I'd be surprised if I heard my mother say it. Pamela
: Surprised? I'd be completely shocked! More politely (and non-gender specific): Just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean there's not a fire in the furnace.
I don't know if beavers, the rodents, ever get grizzled, but it seems unlikely that Tom's wife was referring to the animal. If she were considerably older, we might interpret her phrase as "A little grey doesn't spoil the beard." A couple of generations ago one could still find people using "beaver" to mean beard.
On the other hand, consider the history of Beaver College. Founded in 1853 as a school in Beaver, Pennsylvania, it became Beaver College in 1872. In 1925 it moved to Jenkintown, PA, and now is located in Glenside, PA, near Philadelphia. In 2001 it attained university status and changed its name to Arcadia University.
The then-president of the University gave the reason for the change of name thus:
"[The name] too often elicits ridicule in the form of derogatory remarks pertaining to the rodent, the TV show 'Leave It to Beaver' and the vulgar reference to the female anatomy."
Although I have heard many comments about Beaver College and its students which might be called ridicule, I wouldn't call them derogatory, but rather humorous in a stupid but good-natured way.