Interested in Language
I would like to know the origin, please.
Having used barges in canals, I can advise that the sides of locks and banks etc. which someone navigating a canal would often need to press their barge-pole against can be very slimy and filthy, and definitely not nice to touch with your hands. To suggest you wouldn't even want your barge-pole to touch it (an item which routinely touches this filth) suggests it must be something extra-nasty indeed