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Why cherries though? A short history of the sexual fruit

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The cherry has long been a symbol of virginity in culture, as we all know. It is commonplace to use the phrase to ‘pop your cherry’ but where and when did that come about? According to British lexicographer Jonathon Green, people were sexualising cherries as early as the 16th century.

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Of course, the shape and growth of the stone fruit reminds one of male reproductive organs, but there is more than one way the cherry had been perverted. Inspired by the dark colour of the black cherry, 16th and 17th century Britons would use the fruit to describe the shade of a woman’s pubic hair.

A more contemporary resurgence in usage spawns from the early 20th century, based on the idea of ripeness as opposed to shape or colour. Ripeness, in this sense, pertains to the notion of something that can has a prime time to be consumed – lest it wither and die. The physical loss of a hymen, the conceptual loss of innocence, the expiry of the fruit.

It should also be considered that cherries are not exclusively popped; they can be picked, busted, broken, copped, gotten and cracked. Virgins have historically been dubbed ‘cherry-boys’, and their penises ‘cherry-splitters’.

One might remember these facts while binge-watching ‘Twin Peaks’ or listening to The Runaways for an alternative reading of the text.

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