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  1. #1
    mrghd is offline Junior Member
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    Default What is an old ”Drag” man?

    (source book: Iceberg Slim – Pimp, The story of my life)

    The section that contains the word:

    ”It was in the laundry that I met the first man from whom I got cunning to balance my hardness. He was an old „Drag” man with his bit getting short. He was the first to attempt to teach me to control my emotions.”

    Background:

    The young Iceberg got into jail again and there he met an old convict who tried to teach him some kind of life philosophy. Iceberg found these teachings very useful and declared that it actually saved his sanity and life later. He felt strong respect toward the old ”Drag man”.

    Drag has a slang meaning of road or street, therefore it may mean a vagabond, but I am not sure...

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    Maybe he had made a living (or run a racket involving) drag-racing. The 'bit; metaphor might be related to that in some (?) way. Alternatively, it might be a reference to the 'bit' in a harnessed horse's mouth - which after a lot of use would get worn down. (Paradoxically, a related idiom could be Long in the tooth - Idiom Definition - UsingEnglish.com ). But I'm guessing

    b

  3. #3
    mrghd is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    Thank You for the answer!

    Hmmm. You made me think. The story plays in the 1930s. I don't know if drag racing was usual at that times but I can hardly imagine a race with that ancient cars...

    Concerning the "bit" I was quite sure that it bears the meaning of a "prison sentence" here. This meaning is presented on the urbandictionary.com as well and quite frequently can be met in the Afro-American slang (e. g. rap songs) sometimes in the form of "bid"

  4. #4
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    (Not a Teacher)

    I'm pretty sure 'bit' refers to the man's sentence. He's served most of his sentence and is getting close to his release date.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    If drag here does mean street, could it imply that the person was streetwise rather than a vagabond?

  6. #6
    mrghd is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    If drag here does mean street, could it imply that the person was streetwise rather than a vagabond?
    It's a good idea!

  7. #7
    Reemy's Avatar
    Reemy is offline Member
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    According to thefreedictionary "drag " has a US slang meaning as influence or persuasive power. It makes me think that there is a possibility that the old man was influential or had persuasive skills!

  8. #8
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    Of course, if you called someone a 'drag man' today, folks would probably think you mean that he's a cross-dresser.
    It's interesting how slang changes over time.

  9. #9
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post
    Of course, if you called someone a 'drag man' today, folks would probably think you mean that he's a cross-dresser.
    It's interesting how slang changes over time.
    In BrE, a cross-dresser is not the same as someone in drag. A cross-dresser is someone who sometimes/always wears the clothes traditionally associated with someone of the opposite sex and emulates the hairstyle and general look of the opposite sex.

    We generally only describe a man as being in drag. He would be commonly known as a drag queen and would probably look something like this. This gentleman is a cross dresser. And so is this lady.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What is an old ”Drag” man?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In BrE, a cross-dresser is not the same as someone in drag. A cross-dresser is someone who sometimes/always wears the clothes traditionally associated with someone of the opposite sex and emulates the hairstyle and general look of the opposite sex.

    We generally only describe a man as being in drag
    I agree.

    For me, cross-dressers mentally change sex when they put on the clothes of the other sex (though they do not necessarily change sexual orientation. It is possible for a man who 'becomes' female when he cross-dresses to 'become' a gay female) A man in drag remains male. He may, or may not, be gay; that is irrelevant. His aim in appearing in drag is to show his skill in taking on the appearance of being female, for one or more of a number of reasons. Dustin Hoffman's character in Tootsie, for example, appears in drag; he is not a cross-dresser.

    Opinion only.

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