I tickled her funny

When myself and Elisa got married I posted a comment about how she enjoys it when I tickle her funny…

This clearly is a play on words, that creates some type of mental flip. But why?

Let’s begin with the non-sexual reference to ‘tickle her fancy’ that one of my oldest friends, Stephen Sale, pointed out was probably the first assumption – meaning ‘to be to someone’s liking’.

Next, we move from the traditional assumption of “tickled my fancy” to “tickle” and “funny” being connected, “funny” not being something traditionally tickled, except that we do “tickle the funny bone”. But within this structure we sense ‘something else’: by putting ‘her’ and ‘funny’ together we move the mind to ‘fanny’ – which in the UK is a ‘rude word’. Which is where we could leave it, but being crazy/genius, we can see an underlying mental construct relating to ‘tickle’ that is triggering a sense of ‘rudeness’ beyond the surface structure. One associates unconsciously ‘tickle’ with ‘fingers’, hence increasing the rudeness of the seemingly innocuous phrase.