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Arthur or Martha

Posted by Mikko on August 09, 2005

In Reply to: Arthur or Martha posted by Sarah on August 09, 2005

: I was wondering where the phrase "He doesn't know if he's Arthur or Martha" came from, and what was it's original meaning? Any info would be great. Thanks.

This is from a site about bisexuality:

"What is the origin of the phrase 'Arthur or Martha'?"

"We don't know who first used it but we can only assume it was someone about three hundred years ago. It's sometimes used to describe bisexuals - they don't care if it's arthur or martha who they date - but frankly, unless you are dating someone in their seventies its not a very useful term. Its not like there aren't other rhyming names that sound less drab - Steve or Eve, Jerry or Kerry, Helen or a hole cut into a melon. We think its got more to do with the implication that bisexuals aren't that fussy."

On another site, "He doesn't know if he's Arthur or Martha" was listed as an Australian saying. I don't have a clue why exactly should it be Australian.

Apart from bisexuals, the phrase has probably been used about transsexuals and transvestites as well.


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