July 23, 2004

Down low, quiet tip

I'm probably not much more in the cultural loop than Mark is, but I've heard on the down low (and some of its variations, many mentioned by Mark here) used to refer to pretty much any covert behavior, much in the same way as the perhaps-more-familiar on the quiet tip (or on the QT).

Specific reference to covert homosexual behavior is most likely not as new as the relatively recent attention this has received in books and television might lead one to believe, but reference to other types of covert behavior is at least still salient enough for Scion ("A Marque of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.") to advertise their hip new cars in a film entitled "On the D.L."

(I'm not saying that Scion wouldn't want to sell their cars to closeted homosexuals, but I kind of doubt that they would willingly use this phrase in an ad for their car if it didn't have other salient meanings. Or, maybe Scion is even cooler than I think.)

On the quiet tip and its variants are apparently also used specifically to refer to covert homosexual behavior, unless I am misunderstanding the title of this magazine. As this article clarifies, however, on the down low is more readily understood in this context:

Kerr tested other street slang that surfaced in his conversations - on the quiet tip, hush-hush, bling-bling - but no word or phrase connected with the audience as solidly as "on the down low."

Perhaps this distinction explains why this lonely prisoner searching for "Women to correspond" is not shy to write:

I like dancing and going to clubs, but I can also enjoy myself on the quiet tip: reading books, going to movies or just talking.

Or maybe this is a covert declaration that he's also searching for men? I'm so out of the loop, I wouldn't even know.

[ Comments? ]

Posted by Eric Bakovic at July 23, 2004 05:39 PM