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History’s Sex Change Behind ‘3 Men In A Tub’ Turned Nursery Rhyme Gay

The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker? Theoretically those jobs descriptions could refer to three women, but they don’t: The nursery rhyme is about three dudes bathing in a tub. It wasn’t always like this!

Albert Jack, author of the new book What Caesar Did For My Salad, says the “tub” in original “Rub-a-dub dub” limerick referred to a peep show that was a staple of traveling cultural fairs.

While it was possible that three men provided homosexual entertainment, he pointed out that the original 15th century rhyme was: “Rub-a-dub dub three maids in a tub, and who do you think were there? The butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker, and all of them gone to the fair.” The rhyme was sanitised by the Victorians, he added.

I’m just surprised that by the 20th century in America, it hadn’t been changed to “Three asexual gender-neutral beings in separate bathing compartments.”

By:           Ryan Tedder
On:           Oct 1, 2010
Tagged: , ,
  • 4 Comments
    • demonW
      demonW

      …and Willy Wonka as the Butcher

      Oct 1, 2010 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hannah
      Hannah

      I have always wondered about this rhyme. It never made sense that three men were in a tub and the picture shows them fully dressed in a barrel out to sea. I was the kid wondering why they had clothes on.

      “I’m just surprised that by the 20th century in America, it hadn’t been changed to “Three asexual gender-neutral beings in separate bathing compartments.”

      Don’t worry, its coming.

      Oct 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      I just wonder why anyone would think it’s a limerick :)

      Oct 4, 2010 at 11:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Home Business News okay
      Home Business News okay

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      Oct 19, 2010 at 6:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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