The last sentence of the lede in a San Francisco Chronicle “Style” feature caught my attention:
When you think of boudoir photography, the picture that probably comes to mind is women striking pinup poses in classic Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie. But what if, instead of a woman, it’s a man seducing the camera in his skivvies? Then it’s dudeoir, of course.
Sure enough, the subject of the story, Oakland photographer Mariah Carle, devotes a section of her website to “Men Dudeoir” (sic; content reproduced verbatim):
Boudoir is for men too, Call it Dudeoir, call it nude photos, call it anything you like. You and your partner will love seeing professional high quality photos of you in your best-dressed or undressed look.
That capital D notwithstanding, “dudeoir” isn’t a trademark, and it isn’t unique to Mariah Carle. A Google search turned up more than 1,900 matches for “dudeoir,” including Dudeoir by Rouge in Hong Kong (“Portraits for real men”); Dudeoir Scotland (“Bespoke portrait and boudoir photography for blokes”); and Dudeoir Photography in Derby, England. I also found “dudeoir” used as a noun denoting “a guy’s private bedroom, dressing, and sitting room.”
Why dudeoir and not, say, boydoir? Your guess is as good as mine; maybe the rhyme with boudoir makes dudeoir irresistible. The French word boudoir—“a lady’s private sitting room or bedroom”—comes from an Old French verb, bouder, that means “to sulk,” so it’s literally “a room for sulking.” “Boudoir photography”—in which the (female) subject is scantily clothed, softly lit, and posed (sulking?) amid bedroom trappings—is as old as photography itself, but the term seems to have been created in recent decades. According to a thinly researched Wikipedia entry, a California studio, Motherlode Photography, coined “boudoir photography” in 1980. No link is provided, but there’s a Motherlode Photography in California Gold Country—which explains but doesn’t excuse the name—that was established in 1976 and still lists “boudoir photography” among its services.
When you said "sulk" it worried me; but only a minute or so's rumination returned the word "pout" which is what I was told one "originally" did in a boudoir, in English. Cognate?
Why do I associate this word with Tinkerbell?
Posted by: Catanea | February 14, 2013 at 01:07 AM
It's a fine addition to the world of man-words. I agree that it's probably the rhyme that makes it work. 'Dude' also conveys playful informality in a way 'boy' would not, and it indicates adult men better than 'boy' does.
Posted by: Stan | February 14, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Catanea: The Online Etymology Dictionary says "pout" is "perhaps Scandinavian" in origin, but adds that many pouty words, including French bouder, are "imitative of puffing" (one's lips, I suppose).
Posted by: Nancy Friedman | February 14, 2013 at 08:17 AM