Tie me up and call me Shirley
April 4, 2007 4:28 PM   Subscribe

What is the origin of the phrase "tie me up and call me Shirley"?

Google only gives 175 hits for the phrase "tie me up and call me", and there doesn't seem to be any consistent name used. For example, Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake likes to be called Loretta, but nobody else seem to like that.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts to Writing & Language (15 answers total)
I'm guessing the "call me Shirley" is derived from the Airplane! line, "Don't call me Shirley."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:40 PM on April 4, 2007

Perhaps an increased sexualisation of "knock me down with a feather"? See also
posted by thirteenkiller at 4:41 PM on April 4, 2007

Never heard it.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 4:58 PM on April 4, 2007

I think it's the more polite version of "Slap my ass and call me Sally!". I was able to find this bit of exploration into its origin.
posted by OpinioNate at 5:06 PM on April 4, 2007

Language Log on the subject. And if you want to go spelunking, try these two wildcarded google searches:

"me * and call me"
"my * and call me"
posted by cortex at 5:12 PM on April 4, 2007

I have heard it as other things in movies books and real life. I don't think the original phrase necessarily used 'tie me up' or 'Shirley'. It could be 'Slap my ass and call me Sally'
Which makes about as much sense...
In fact, Googling ' "and call me" ' gets a lot of 'and call me Sally'. but mostly 'and call me in the morning' - maybe a humourous corruption of that saying gone wrong?

Actually, the search ' well * my * "and call me" ' gets the best results for these kinds of sayings. Maybe your answer lies in there somewhere.

the first result lists this site: * me P and call me *
Doesn't answer your question, but gives more clarity to whether the nonsensical Sally or Shirly are meant to be used in the phrase (they aren't unless you know a Sally/Shirly who does the thing you're asking someone to do to you).
posted by joshnunn at 5:22 PM on April 4, 2007

whoops, took too long - OpinioNate and cortex made me redundant...
posted by joshnunn at 5:23 PM on April 4, 2007

The first one I ever recall hearing (decades ago) strikes me as a candidate for the Ur-" * me and call me * " genre: "Shiver me timbers and call me shaky."

Oddly, Google doesn't seem to turn it up, but I've heard it verbally a few times.
posted by ROTFL at 5:54 PM on April 4, 2007

Google book search turns up the "American Thesaurus of Slang", published 1953. It contains suck variants as:
"Crack my skull and call me nutty"
"Dial me up and call me phony"
"Shut my mouth and call me clammy"
"Wet my feet and call my ducky"

As well as bunch more. I get the sense this construction was popular well before then.

In fact, looking around, Louis Armstrong recorded "Cut Off My Legs and Call Me Shorty" in 1940. You can get it on iTunes.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 6:14 PM on April 4, 2007

"suck variants"? Not sure what that is about.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 6:15 PM on April 4, 2007

"Well paint my ass red and take me to the circus!"

I heard that one once in Texas.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 6:16 PM on April 4, 2007

I've always said, "slap my ass and call me monkey"..I think I've heard thousands of variants.

As an aside, Thai Me Up is hilarious porn with great lines like:
"I like my women like I like my coffee"
"No. Tied up in a sack and thrown over my shoulder just like Juan Valdez would do."
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:38 PM on April 4, 2007

Well, fry my legs and call 'em drumsticks.
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:36 PM on April 4, 2007

I have no concrete suggestion, but I wanted to pipe in to say that I've heard the "tie me up and call me Shirley" variant before. Hell, used it even.
posted by Kattullus at 8:56 PM on April 4, 2007

"Well paint me gold and call me Oscar"
- Kelly (or was it Bud) Bundy, 'Married With Children. Collected Works'
posted by NekulturnY at 3:08 AM on April 5, 2007

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