phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by Carol on April 18, 2004

In Reply to: Glasses posted by Ward on April 17, 2004

: : : I know this phrase refers to masturbation and, I am thinking the book "Rape of the A.P.E." discussed its origin to a degree but I haven't been able to relocate a copy of the book. Does anyone happen to know more about this phrase outside of being a deterrent for a teen-age male to do this?

: : The idea, though maybe not the exact words, goes back more than 100 years. I think parents issued some such warning to small children, not just teenagers.

: : Two entries from Eric Partridge's "Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British":

: : "I don't care if I do go blind." A defiant rejection of the once gen. statement that masturbation, whether frequent or even occasional, caused blindness: late C19 - mid 20. Brian W. Aldiss, 1978, adds: 'Ideally accompanied by a brisk slapping of the back of the neck. Words and action generally provoked by a (probably inaccessible) woman'.

: : "I don't want to be a sergeant-pilot, anyway" was, c. 1935-55, a joc. RAF catchphrase, alluding to masturbation, which has so long been reputed to impair one's mental and physical powers.

: :: In the 50's we had an answer for everything. So, when this particular warning was issued, we'd say --"I'll just do it 'till I need glasses."

Any idea of how the "go blind", or vision thoughts, become part of the warning thougts?