A subset of mobspeak is “Frankenslang.” This is the phraseology developed by Frank Sinatra's “Rat Pack,” a group of entertainers who were not Mafiosi per se, but who certainly moved on the fringes of that world. Any performer who worked in Las Vegas, especially in the '60s and '70s, had to rub elbows with the mob. It was inevitable. The Mafia owned the place. The Rat Pack worked for the Mafia and were friends with many Mafiosi. They attended the same parties and shared the same girlfriends. There was plenty of crossover between Mafia lingo and the hipster patois of the Rat Pack. While not politically correct, there is a charm in the Rat Pack's idiom. In the 1950s and early 1960s the Rat Pack patter was the epitome of cool.
Unlike the American Mafia, each yakuza clan of the Japanese Mafia has its own unique slang. A capo in the Bonanno family can understand a member of the Gambino crime family, but in Japan the clans often have a deeply secret slang that no one else can comprehend.
Here's to the Ladies
The Rat Pack made many slang expressions for members of the opposite sex. They are interesting as curiosities from a bygone era, but male readers of this book should proceed with caution before referring to their significant other by any of these antiquated terms of endearment.
Some of the complimentary terms for a woman that a Rat Pack hipster would like to get to know better are barn burner, meaning a very attractive woman. A petite woman was called a mouse, and a beetle referred to a well-dressed woman. Broad and chick were not insults but expressions of affection. So was gasser. Dame was not affectionate; in Rat Pack slang dame was not a compliment. A woman who liked to dance was called a twist or a twirl, and a girl who appeared to be ready and willing for a little hey-hey (romance) was called a tomato, in that she was ripe for the picking.
Likes and Dislikes
The Rat Pack was an opinionated clan. They considered themselves big leaguers and did not suffer clydes gladly. They were not good on names, so they would be likely to call you Charlie or Sam. They might greet you with “How's your bird?” This was an inquiry into the health and well-being of your pelvic region. They had no time for creeps, crumbs, bums, bunters, finks, punks, or Harveys. If they said, “Let's lose Charlie,” it meant that they found your company not particularly stimulating. Similarly, if Frank told Dean that they were in Dullsville, Ohio, it meant that he was bored and wanted to Scramsville. Also if Sammy told Peter Lawford that it was raining and it was not, that was another code for wanting to split the scene. “Cash me out” also meant a desire to leave that particular clam bake. And if another of them blurted out “Hello!” to no one in particular, it meant he had just noticed an attractive woman.
Much of the yakuza's elaborate slanguage contains naughty words and scatological phrases that are not fit to print here. And just as the yakuza adopted a dress code straight out of Hollywood gangster movies, they borrowed some English words in a linguistic hybrid called “Japlish.”