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Popsicles—those hard, sticky, frozen treats enjoyed by children and adults alike—are an unfortunately sexual food. The refreshing ice-snack-on-a-stick is already so suggestive that it hardly needs an innuendo-filled name. But which country’s name for them is the most unnecessarily erotic-sounding?
In America, it’s called a popsicle; in Britain, an ice lolly. New Zealand is wonderfully blunt, calling the treat an “ice block.” But in my country, a place known mostly for its surplus of Hemsworths, we refer to this special snack as an icy pole. Think about it. An icy...pole.
I spent the first 24 summers of my life buying and eating icy poles, never thinking too deeply about the fact that I was basically purchasing frozen dicks—“pole,” after all, being slang for a vertically erect penis. It wasn’t until a recent staff meeting, in which someone suggested that people over a particular age should not eat popsicles, that I stopped to consider how much dirtier my word for the summer snack is. No, I thought. People under a particular age should not be putting poles in and around their mouths. Surely naming (or continuing to refer to) an oblong-shaped food that has to be sucked to be enjoyed after an object that has already been turned into dick slang could only be some larrikin’s idea of a joke.
One of the most beautiful things about language is that any word can be made dirty via its application. According to Urban Dictionary, the word “popsicle” has come to refer to “frostbite on your penis,” “receiving a blowjob from a girl who has ice cubes in her mouth” and sex workers. The word itself is a portmanteau. Inventor Frank Epperson originally called it the “Epsicle” after himself, before later changing it to Pop’s ’cicle, or “Popsicle.” In and of itself, the portmanteau is not a suggestive term. The genericized brand name has become the stand-in for all water-based frozen treats, but one of the brand’s early 1920's competitors referred to them as “frozen suckers.” To think what might have been.
“Ice lolly” has stayed relatively clean in Urban Dictionary’s estimation. While the word “lollipop” has unavoidable penis connotations thanks to 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop,” it’s not clear how we should feel about “lolly,” the generic Australian word for candy which the Brits also use for lollipops (it can supposedly also can mean drugs or cash, marijuana or money). Meanwhile, the phrase “ice block,” used in New Zealand and parts of Australia less cheeky than where I’m from, is as asexual as it is unappetizing.
So there you have it. The dirtiest word for the frozen confection comes from the land that gladly refers to itself as “Down Under.” I’m sorry, but you’re welcome.