27 September 2011

"Tofu" license plate banned

Whitney Calk innocently (or perhaps not) requested a vanity license plate from the state of Tennessee, one that read “ILVTOFU.” But her personalized plate reflecting her fondness for bean curds was rejected on the grounds of "vulgarity.” 
Via Language Log, which offers this interesting additional info:
Little did those who protest that their request for an ILVTOFU vanity plate has no sexual implications realize that in China, the homeland of tofu, this seemingly innocuous comestible has definite erotic connotations in certain circumstances.

Chī dòufu 吃豆腐 may mean simply "eat tofu," but it often is used to refer to a man flirting or taking liberties with a woman. Mó (mó) dòufu 摩(磨)豆腐 literally means "rub / scrape / stroke (grind) tofu," but it may also signify touching a woman's breasts or other sensitive parts, and frequently is used to signify mutual clitoral stimulation by lesbians.


  1. or I love to F You..

  2. Yes, well that's the whole point of the post.

    See the Language Log link.

  3. If you Google ILOVETOFU, you'll see the same thing happened in Colorado in 2009. I'm pretty sure this was just a PETA publicity stunt.

  4. When I first read this story, I called BS because it was too perfect phonetically...
    "She, Mrs. Caulk, gets a license plate that says I love/live to F U."
    Too good...


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