I’m going to be moving soon, and part of the process is scaling back my library, from its hoarders-level number of books to a much more transportable, “Wow, what a loser” level of books. In the process of doing so, I’ve been excavating my reading career—starting with grad school, then my undergrad days, and ending up with some books that I’ve had since middle school.

It’s been an interesting experience. It’s also been interesting to come across books that I’m pretty much stuck with—not because I’m planning on reading them again, but because I don’t want to explain to friends or those judgy hipsters at the used bookstore why I own some of them. To wit: Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, one of the earlier novel-length works of prose erotica in England (purchased for a class, for the record). Why can’t I give it away/bring myself to take it to the used bookstore? Well, there’s the cover:

And then there are my notes. Most importantly, the running list of euphemisms for the penis that the author uses that I wrote on the first page. Someone on Tumblr was helpful enough to compile a list, so if you’re ever at a loss for what to call the masculine appendage, you might want to go with one of the following:

  • that wonderful machine
  • his affair
  • that capital part of man
  • that enormous machine
  • that terrible weapon
  • unmerciful machines
  • his grand movement
  • that fierce erect machine
  • his weapon
  • his red-headed champion
  • that stiff sinew
  • this weapon of pleasure
  • the enemy
  • the engine of love-assaults
  • that stiff horn-hard gristle
  • his steed
  • that terrible spitfire machine
  • that wondrous treasure-bag of nature’s sweets
  • the instrument
  • stiff staring truncheon
  • the nail
  • his drawn weapon
  • the essential object of enjoyment
  • a stiff hard body
  • a maypole
  • a breadth of animated ivory
  • an over-sized machine
  • this furious fescue
  • the smooth hard gristle
  • the stiff, thick, in-driven engine
  • that delicious stretcher
  • the mutinous rogue
  • this furious battering-ram
  • that store-bag of nature’s prime sweets which is so pleasingly attached to its conduit-pipe, from which we receive them
  • that superb piece of furniture
  • the proud distinction of his sex from mine
  • a round, softish, limber, white something
  • that instrument of the mischief
  • the amazing, pleasing object of all my wishes, all my dreams, all my love, the king-member indeed!
  • the dear morsel
  • my new and beloved guest
  • his plenipotary instrument
  • his monster-member of the revels
  • his home-driven wedge
  • his affair
  • the enemy I had to engage with
  • his wand
  • a round fillet of the whitest veal
  • his red-topped ivory toy
  • the true, the genuine sensitive plant
  • that peculiar scepter-member which commands
  • love’s true arrow