Westward Ho or: The Frog Pimps

I am reading an excellent book by “Gangs of New York” author Herbert Asbury called “The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld,” about the seedy origins of San Francisco.

The miners came in ’49
The whores in ’51
And when they got together
They produced the native son

Among the many delightful factoids presented in this 1939 book is the origin of the word “Mack,” which any fan of blaxploitation knows means “pimp.” Until this morning I didn’t know why pimps were called macks.

In describing the French prostitutes that flooded into the newly-minted mining town, Asbury writes:

Most of these accomplished courtesans were attended by their pimps, whom they called macquereaux, a designation which the forthright San Franciscans soon shortened to “macks.” These unsavory gentry are still so called in San Francisco, although the red-light district was officially abolished some twenty years ago, and the city now, of course, has no prostitutes.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Tawny Roberts’ ride; The Hunt for Ginger Quail – revisiting “Fast Sofa”
See also: Buy “The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist


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