This one’s not exactly dirty, just strange.
Gam means leg, but while I often say leg,
I rarely use gam. Why not? Why not change
it up? Well first, I’d get a lot of “Beg
your pardon?” Most people don’t know what gam
means. Even Word and Gmail underline
the word in red and suggest that I am
trying to spell game or gem, a sure sign
that it’s outside our common vernacular.
But if someone did know gam, she’d probably
also know that it refers in particular
to a woman’s leg, a fetching, shapely
leg, and then I’d just sound like an over-
educated, archaic cat-caller.
It turns out that nubile is every bit
as sleazy as it sounds. First, it only
applies to young women, and it means “fit
to marry,” in terms of age or comeliness.
(In fact, nuptial shares the same Latin
root, referring again to marriage.)
But marriageable is not the definition
we know. Instead nubile is a gauge
of how attractive or well-developed
a young women is, sexually speaking.
Ideally, she’s a virgin, uncorrupted.
Chaste but alluring, pure but reeking
pheromones. But unless your goal is never
to get laid, don’t use the word nubile. Ever.
Poet’s Note: These poems come from “Awkwords,” a collection of 70 poems about awkward words like flagellate, milk, suckle, and wasps. For each of these words, I have written a sonnet. Why a sonnet? Because it’s a completely inappropriate form for the content of this project. Awkward.