A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 22, 2019
“Notches on one’s bedpost” (sexual conquests)

In war or in hunting, a person might keep track of kills by making notches in a gun (or somewhere else). “Notches on one’s bedpost” is a similar record, but of one’s sexual conquests.

“‘A Rage to Live’ ([Channel—ed.] 3). Suzanne Pleshette, Bradford Dillman, Ben Gazzara, 1965. It’s John O’Hara’s big bestseller about a woman who counts her conquests by the notches on her bedpost” was printed in the TV section of the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal on January 17, 1971. A Rage to Live (1949) was a John O’Hara novel. It’s possible that the 1949 book or 1965 movie popularized the “notches on one’s bedpost” saying.

Wiktionary: notches on one’s bedpost
From the practice of keeping track of the number of one’s sexual liaisons by carving notches into the post of one’s bed.
notch on one’s bedpost
(plural notches on one’s bedpost)
1. (idiomatic, slang, offensive) A sexual conquest; a casual sexual partner.
Usage notes
Considered offensive because objectifying – seeing a person as a conquest.

Wikipedia: A Rage to Live
A Rage to Live is a 1965 American drama film directed by Walter Grauman and starring Suzanne Pleshette as a woman whose passions wreak havoc on her life. The screenplay by John T. Kelley is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by John O’Hara.

17 August 1965, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “The Bridegroom needs the job” by Bill Shefski, pg. 58, col. 1:
HERSHEY—Around the NFL camps, the upper crust players are pampering themselves into shape, the top draft choices are securely easing into the picture and bourgeois fullbacks like Izzy Lang are carving notches in their bedposts each time a weekend goes by without being traded or put on waivers.

17 January 1971, Akron (OH) Beacon Journal, “Movies on TV,” TV Preview sec., pg. 12, col. 4:
9—“A Rage to Live” (3). Suzanne Pleshette, Bradford Dillman, Ben Gazzara, 1965. It’s John O’Hara’s big bestseller about a woman who counts her conquests by the notches on her bedpost. Rating—5.

9 December 1971, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “The Swingers” by Betsy Williams, pg. 16, col. 3:
Bill thinks people are mostly in swinging for friendship instead of just for notches in the bedpost, and sex is the icing.

Google Books
Volume 27
Pg. 38:
Mute testimony to the soldier’s dedication was found in the boudoir later that day — one-half a notch on the bedpost. — Anon.

December 1972, Cosmopolitan (New York, NY), “The Don Juan Meets the 1970s” by jesse Kornbluth, pg. 136, col. 1:
Despite all those notches on the bedpost, all his stories of amorous conquests, all that knowledge of technique and variation, perhaps, at bottom, what he actually wants most is to maintain his image with the fellas.

21 July 1974, Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel, “Santa Cruz Mountain Music Album,” pg. 17, col. 3:
Her “Uneasy” contains further insight to the “mountain hippie ethic”, as it were: “So he can carve another notch on his bedpost tonight...I can’t believe he’s a good friend of mine.”

25 June 1976, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “An Answer Is Within” by Dear Penny (advice columnist), pg. 63, col. 4:
In the last two semesters I’ve come to realize that men go to parties with the hope of adding another “notch on their bedposts.”

12 June 1977, Daily News (New York, NY), “Boy o boy, the girls are watching!” by Michael Pousner, pg. C21, col. 4:
“Admiring a handsome stranger, or even smiling at him or talking to him, doesn’t mean that I’d like him as a notch on my bedpost,” cautioned a boywatcher positioned at a fountain in front of the Seagrams Building on Park Avenue.

28 August 1977, Dayton (OH) Daily News, “What’s a playgirl?” (Knight News Service), pg. 3-F, col. 1:
A “playgirl” is not necessarily the stereotypical well-endowed sexpot who happily marks a new notch on her bedpost each evening.

Google Books
Relating: An Astrological Guide to Living with Others on a Small Planet
By Liz Greene
Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser
Pg. 168:
Since sexual prowess is lauded as much today as ever, one would hardly ascribe a problem to the man who metaphorically marks notches on the bedpost to commemorate his conquests.

Google Books
Dirty Stories for All Occasions
By Andrew L. Cleveland
New York, NY: Galahad Books
Pg. 134:
Each time one of them made love, he would carve a notch on the bedpost.

OCLC WorldCat record
Notches on the Bedpost: Generational Effects of Sexual Experience.
Author: Michael D Newcomb
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Psychology: A Quarterly Journal of Human Behavior, v23 n2-3 p37-46 1986
Tested correlates of sexual experience (lifetime number of sexual partners) for generational differences. Background variables were examined for those under and over 30 years. Results support the enhancement theory of sexual experience for men and many women under 30 (bolstering self-esteem), with older female samples reflecting a sexual facilitation (general involvement) or biological preparedness theory. (Author/KS)

Urban Dictionary
notch in the bedpost
A person you’ve had sex with. Derived from the practice of tallying the number of sexual partners you’ve had by indenting your bed post. It is often used in derogatory fashion, by representing that a person is recognized solely as a past sexual achievement.
Tom: Hey, what happened with that girl...Sarah?
Kyle: Meh. She was just another notch in the bedpost.

#notch#bedpost#notch in the bedpost#notch in your bedpost#mah
by hambone skeet skeet November 19, 2013

Robert Kraft - Just Another Notch On The Bedpost
Sep 12, 2016
Album : Retro Active (1982)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Friday, November 22, 2019 • Permalink