George Washington wenched.
As a young general during the French and Indian War, George Washington very likely paid for sex. According to biographer James Thomas Flexner:
“Although he drank and gambled and (we gather) wenched as did his officers, he was known as a stern disciplinarian in military matters.”
First, thank you, James Thomas Flexner, for slipping in that salacious supposition in a subordinate clause like it’s the most matter-of-fact thing in the world that the father of our country had hookers. But what the hell does “we gather” mean? Who is “we” and how did we gather that?
Maybe this is what I get for reading Flexner’s one-volume consolidation instead of his four-volume epic Washington biography. Maybe I’m missing out on supporting details, like a diary entry from Washington saying “Warring with these French and Indians makes me weary. Nothing, save wenching, improves my demeanor.” Maybe one of the four volumes is entirely devoted to Washington’s wenching. I’ll never know.
What struck me most here was not that Washington wenched. Why wouldn’t he? He was 26 years old, single, and his deism didn’t include strict religious scruples against it. Nothing about his wenching changes the strong leader and husband he went on to be.
No, what struck me most was Flexner’s use of the word “wenched.” Where has this term been all my life? Such a perfect word that turns a noun into a verb with no need for a direct object. Few words so succinctly answer the questions “what did he do and with whom?” Usually when nouns are verbified they take on the action of doing what their noun does, e.g, “The whore whored.” But the wench didn’t wench — the wencher wenched!
I don’t want to sound sexist here – I believe anyone can be a wench if they put their mind to it. And anyone paying for those services has the right to be referred to as concisely as possible.
So I propose we bring back the verb “wench” in all its forms to honor the late James Thomas Flexner. And George Washington. And America. I’m not asking you to wench yourself or do anything that makes you uncomfortable; I’m simply proposing that when circumstances call for it, you refer to wenchers and wenching by the best words possible. I get that this might not come up in conversation very often, so I’m taking my case to someone who can bring this word to the masses.
Who, you ask, could throw out this word in an appropriate situation and get it to catch fire?
That’s right. Rapper and actor Ice-T, star of Law & Order: SVU.
Based on my gut, approximately 25% of SVU episodes contain references to soliciting prostitutes. All I’m asking you to do, Ice-T (or writers of Ice-T’s dialogue), is to slip in a wenching. One time. See how it feels.
Here’s an example:
ICE-T: We caught him wenching in Queens.
It sounds like a real term used by a real elite squad!
OLIVIA BENSON: The perp was brought in for solicitation last April.
ICE-T: Yeah, he wenched all right. It was especially heinous.
Other cast members can participate too!
ELLIOTT STABLER: I’ve come back for you, Liv. I’ve always loved you.
OLIVIA BENSON: Oh, El. Let me book this perp for wenching and then let’s get some coffee together forever.
|It sounds so natural!|
Please, if you or someone you know works on Law & Order: SVU, or if you happen to be Ice-T, help me out with this wenching thing. For James, for George, for johns, and for (we gather) America.