What does "May a Band of Nomadic Barbers Gang-Lather Your Sister" mean?

I am reading an article about an American microbiologist Carl Woese at university of Illinois. It says that Woese liked to exchange letters with Dr Harry Noller at California. Some of these letters are rubber-stamped with Woese's favorite statement: "May a Band of Nomadic Barbers Gang-Lather Your Sister".

What does that sentence means?

I have found this sentence here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008555/

Thank you very much

  • 3
    The true meaning is very probably an in-joke between Woese and Noller. Nov 13 at 23:36
  • ... you wot m8?
    – vectory
    Nov 13 at 23:37
  • 1
    Gang-Lather smacks of gang-bang, and not all that welcome either. May a number of men verb your sister cannot end well. Nov 13 at 23:44
  • 2
    It is a joke. Barbers typically had/have barber shops and were not/are not nomads. Barbers use lather before shaving a man's beard. So, gang-lather means all the nomad (roving) barbers would put lather on someone's sister. Sisters and mothers are typically the object of insults across a host of macho settings, especially in Irish or Italian communities. So, this is like a take-off on a macho riff. There is an easy sexual translation of this. I assume Woese was creating an "in" group and that fake insult was directed at those who didn't agree with him, his "out" group.
    – Lambie
    Nov 14 at 0:21
  • 1
    @YosefBaskin - "May a number of men verb your sister cannot end well. " The verb could be serenade, admire, praise, etc Nov 14 at 13:05

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