Come on, people. In all the articles we’ve seen this month, from National Geographic to the Washington Post to the extremely well-publicized TIME cover story, we’ve seen no mention of this obvious conundrum. Frank uncovered but one reference, when an author of a fictionalized account of Pocahontas’ life speaks about his research:
There was one very brief mention in all the primary accounts that I saw of men loving each other. The crew of the ship had their own food supply, while the settlers had theirs. The settlers used theirs up and had to trade with the crew. There’s this one guy among the settlers who says, “We traded whatever we had with the crew for food,” and he gives a list of things: hatchets, beads, copper trinkets, coins, muskets, and the last item on the list was “love.” I just thought that one word was like a little peephole into what must have been a whole host of activities.Oh! What a delightful little euphemism. “Love!” We’re going to use that from now on. It just sounds much better to say that last year we traded LOVE for the chance to spend a night hanging out with the girls from The Hills.
We can imagine just how it went down 400 years ago:
Settler: Alack, I am so hungry and cold. My shivering is even rattling the buckles on my clogs!
Sailor: Arr. I have grub here to barter.
Settler: Egads! I love bartering. But I am out of glass beads and knickknacks. Won’t thou taketh pity on me?
Sailor: Arr. All right. I’ll accept love in exchange.
Settler: Zounds! Well, I have been lonely. Ooh! Ouch! Pay heed to my neck doily!
Sailor: Yo, ho, ho.
Settler: My heavens. It looks like an ear trumpet!
[short pause, grunts made, other God euphemisms yelped]
Settler: Well, I am warmer now. And fulfilled.
Sailor: Arr. Here’s some mutton.
Settler: Now I’m not so hungry. It smells like a bedpan in here.