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"blued, screwed, and tattooed"

Posted by R. Berg on January 09, 2001

In Reply to: "Blued, screwed, and tattooed" posted by marcus on January 08, 2001

: : : : I have heard this phrase on the quarterdeck in reference to returning sailors after a night on the town, but did it originate in arms manufacturing?

: : : Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, American and British . . . ," gives these variants: "stewed, screwed and tattooed" and "screwed, stewed and tattooed." He says nothing about the origin. My husband, who spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy, says he doesn't suspect a connection with arms manufacturing. Not much help, huh?

: : : Thanks anyway. I suspect your husband is right. Does he remember the gales of laughter bestowed upon the returning sailors the next day as they nursed their hangovers, inspected the new tatoos and waited for antibiotics at sick call?

: : by the way, I was talked out of tatoos by a grizzled WW2 vet who had what appeared to be ink blots on his forearms. he said I would regret it. I know a lot guys did. he said it was better to be "blued and screwed". in other words, winter dress, down tight. lead dammit, lead...

My husband doesn't remember those things specifically; he does say the phrase he remembers from the 1960s began with "brewed" (drunk on beer) rather than "blued." Wise decision about the tattoos--but I'm reluctant to pursue general discussions here. Every posting makes one more line of text that people have to scroll through, including postings too far from the announced topic of this bulletin board.