"Something for the weekend" is a euphemism heard in barber shops, when the above phrase is used to enquire of a customer whether he would like a packet of condoms. Does anyone know how this phrase came about?

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    In which country do barbers sell condoms?
    – Ivo Rossi
    Jan 7, 2011 at 13:36
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    In Britain, although I must admit it has been a few years since I've seen them hidden coyly among the Brylcreem tins. Jan 7, 2011 at 14:00
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    +1 for introducing me to a delightful and amusing euphemism. Jan 7, 2011 at 14:28
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    @Ivo: I'd guess it's "Would sir…", but why it is so would be another good question for this site. :-) Jan 7, 2011 at 17:30
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    I think "would sir" is a British usage, as a sort of polite way for someone working at a store to address customers, to avoid saying "you". So "sir" is basically a pronoun here and would replace every instance of "you".
    – Kosmonaut
    Jan 7, 2011 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


It seems natural to me to be discreet about this topic. Given that a lot of dating happens on weekends, and a man at a barber might be cleaning up for a date, a discreet add-on sale seems like a natural thing to occur. If the customer can infer the barber's meaning ("some.... what? combs?... for the weekend... because I'll be ... combing my hair?... OH! condoms!") then this phrase works well in tactfully promoting a product that lots of people might not want to discuss. The service industries often have many such phrases. For example, when a tailor asks if you "dress left or right".

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    Er, what does "dress left or right", mean? Jan 7, 2011 at 14:23
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    @ShreevatsaR whether the gentleman being addressed prefers to have his willy hang to the left or the right of the trouser seam. although, to be honest i've not sure i've ever heard "dressing to the left or the right" used seriously by a genuine tailor. it's more something you encounter in jest. but in my case that may be because ebay is my tailor.
    – hawbsl
    Jan 7, 2011 at 14:30
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    In the early twentieth century in the US, there were few places one could buy condoms, and many would have been closed on the weekend. So if you want...er, something for the weekend, you would have to buy it during the week. Perhaps a similar situation pertained in Great Britain. Jan 7, 2011 at 15:51
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    @hawbsi, thank you for that; putting my trousers on in the morning will never be the same again. Jan 7, 2011 at 20:57
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    @brian: The killer retort to "does sir dress to the left or the right?" is "Either, but make sure the knees are baggy." May 11, 2011 at 22:04

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