“Sweating Like A Hooker in Church”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 20
Occupation: Unemployed
Residence: Jacksonville, FL
Date of Performance/Collection: April 13, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

MAIN PIECE

“Sweating like a hooker in church”

“I believe that the saying is more of a way to describe sweating or nerves.  We probably say that down here cause we always like to make things a bit more illustrative then y’all do and we always love a church reference.  It’s not sweaty like a person whose been working all day, but more like when somebody is nervous about something that they are holding back from others like a secret or something of the sort”

BACKGROUND

This informant, HA, was born in Pensacola, FL but has lived in a few different parts of the American South for awhile, specifically the Floribama coastal area.  His family has stayed in the south for as far back as he can remember.

CONTEXT

I talked to HA by inviting them onto a zoom call with a few other friends we both knew from summer vacations where I used to live in Panama City, Florida.  After the call I asked if he could stay and chat and we shared stories about our lives while I asked him questions about sayings and activities he remembered from his childhood.

THOUGHTS

The American South has a fascinating way of coining certain terms that sound quintessentially Southern.  It seems upon further research that there are a lot more metaphors and similes used in Southern vernacular than in the rest of the United States.  HA’s relation of the quote to the church was very interesting as it made me think of Mary Magdalene as a possible referential point in how this statement came to be.  As well, variations of it are seen in other parts of the  world, but they still have enough variation where the meaning is shifted and holds itself as a different piece of folklore.  Ie. Midwesterners saying  “Praying like a sinner in church”