it runs to rough trade

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
A:Where is she? Little slut.

B:Who?

A:Violet.She's been catting around with my dog walker.

B:Nonsense. The girl's taste in men is hardly refined, but I doubt it runs to rough trade.

Source: American Horror Story 109

Background: A, a woman, suspects that Violet has been consorting with her boyfriend. She is asking B where she is.

Does "I doubt it run to rough trade" mean "I doubt she would lower herself to date that guy"?
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Oh, it's worse than that. WR dictionary: rough trade:
    ▶noun informal male homosexual prostitution, especially when involving brutality or sadism.
    ■ people involved in prostitution of this kind.

    I believe the term has broadened a bit to include any men who are prone to brutal, violent sexual behavior -- but that's just an impression I have. Perhaps others can confirm or deny. :)

    (I thought this post needed a smiley.)
     
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    papakapp

    Senior Member
    English - NW US
    That s how i read it as well. But it is a little confusing to me as well because the structure of the sentence implies that "rough trade" is somewhere lower than "unrefined man" if they were put on the same gradient.

    But without that sentence for context, I would have placed them on an equal level of "unrefinedness".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I doubt it runs to rough trade. = it goes as far as a man who is "obviously of the lower classes."

    Used coarsely,
    A:"Last night, I saw Jane, the doctor's daughter, at the pub with the garbage collector's unemployed son."
    B: "Ah, that's typical of Jane, she quite fancies a bit of rough [trade]."
     

    Grady412

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Redgiant, Copyright is right. Moira ascribes the "rough trade" reference to Travis as an insult to Constance. In this case, she means "rough trade" as kinky sex. The prostitution component is even more insulting, given Constance's relationship with Travis.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    From the class-obsessed British point of view, rough trade could only mean sex, probably rather casual, with a man from the lower orders, ideally one who does a physically demanding job and therefore has lots of muscles. There is no reason for such sex to be particularly kinky - in fact it may well be a bit on the unimaginative side.

    Americans might have different expectations!
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It is, after all, American Horror Story. :) You should have a look at the [synopsis of this episode]* to see how likely the rough sex is.

    Added: *Link no longer works, but very graphically supported the idea expressed in post #2.
     
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    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    I doubt it runs to rough trade. = it goes as far as a man who is "obviously of the lower classes."

    Used coarsely,
    A:"Last night, I saw Jane, the doctor's daughter, at the pub with the garbage collector's unemployed son."
    B: "Ah, that's typical of Jane, she quite fancies a bit of rough [trade]."
    I have a question about "run to" in this case.
    According to your explanation about "run to", does it mean her taste had sunk so low that she now had to crave for a male prostitute?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is, after all, American Horror Story. :) You should have a look at the synopsis of this episode to see how likely the rough sex is.
    This was so shocking that my Internet Explorer refused to display the link.

    I think that this sort of insider knowledge is cheating in a language forum; surely we are concerned with what the words mean in similar contexts.

    I also think that it's worth pointing out what they mean in BE, and I support Teddy's post, from which nobody must conclude that I've tried it myself.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    "Runs to" is an idiom that means "tends to" or "inclines." The speaker is saying that while Violet doesn't have particularly refined taste, the speaker doubts that Violet has sunk that low. I'm not sure how low "that" is because I've never heard of "rough trade" in relation to sex, and I can't follow that link from work.

    By the way, that dialogue sounds extremely British to me, even though it's from something called American Horror Story. The only time an American would use "fancies" in this way would be if he or she were imitating the British.
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    By the way, that dialogue sounds extremely British to me, even though it's from something called American Horror Story. The only time an American would use "fancies" in this way would be if he or she were imitating the British.
    "Fancies" is only in PaulQ's example which is not a quote from the show.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    This was so shocking that my Internet Explorer refused to display the link.
    And it was so shocking that I broke the "bare link" rule because I didn't want to post it in this forum. Not a good enough reason in hindsight.
    I think that this sort of insider knowledge is cheating in a language forum;
    Forum rules do prohibit bare links on the grounds that if they break, the post is rendered useless or less useful. Now we have another reason: to avoid any concern that we might might be offering answers based on hidden knowledge (although had we wanted to protect that knowledge, we might not have linked to it).
    surely we are concerned with what the words mean in similar contexts.
    We are concerned about many things and are free to discuss them after we focus on the word or phrase in the context given, which was American Horror Story in this case. I chose to answer the question posed and leave it at that.

    I posted a "broken link" note in my previous post to spare anyone the trouble of clicking. Thank you for pointing it out.
     
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