Oversexed, overpaid and over here

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Oversexed, overpaid and over here : Phrases


Comic line, making fun of the US Army in Europe in WWII. There was a good humoured banter between the GIs that were stationed in Britain prior to and during WWII and the British citizenry. The GIs had a come-back - calling the Brits, "underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower".

Conditions were harsh in Britain in the early 1940s and there was also an undercurrent of unease that was conveyed by the phrase, especially amongst British men, who resented the attraction of GIs, with their ready supply of nylons and cigarettes, amongst British women. The artist Beryl Cook, who was a young woman at the time confirmed this in an interview to the BBC in the late 1970s. I can't find the transcript of the interview, but from memory it was words to the effect of, 'food was scarce, but we supplemented our income by a little impromptu whoring with the GIs - we all did it'. Many of these liaisons were love matches rather than merely commercial transactions though, as the thousands of marriages between US servicemen and British women (the GI brides) is evidence of.

The line was also used in Australia, in much the same context.



The phrase was popularized by Tommy Trinder (1909-1989), a well-known and well-liked English comedian (seen here with Phil Silvers). His version of the line which, although he gave it wide circulation was probably coined by someone else, was "overpaid, overfed, oversexed and over here".

Strangely, since there can't have been anyone over the age of ten in Britain at the end of the war who wasn't familiar with the phrase, it appears very seldom in print. It must have been recorded earlier, but the earliest reference I have found is in a US newspaper The Morgantown Post, 1958, in an article by Holmes Alexander:

"The British regarded us then as well-meaning but blundering intercessors whom they rather preferred to have on their island than the Jerries. We were, in the well-known phrase, 'overpaid, oversexed and over here', and we were in British eyes overdecorated, overstaffed, overmaintenanced and overbearing."
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