"Hello, sailor" is a sexual proposition made to a sailor, presumably by a prostitute or promiscuous woman supposing the sailor to be male and sexually frustrated after a long time at sea. This usage has become a camp catchphrase, implying that sailors stay away at sea so long that they can't tell the difference between a hooker and a man in drag, or that sailors are commonly homosexual. Hello, Sailor in this usage is also the title of several books, including one by Eric Idle and another about gay life in the British merchant marine, as well as a 2007 Liverpool museum exhibit about gay sailors.
"Hello, sailor" is used as a running joke in the interactive fiction-text adventure Zork universe.
Instances in computer games
A note from Frobozz Magic Boat Company
in Zork I
begins "Hello, Sailor!" In Zork III
, the adventurer must say "Hello, Sailor" at the Flathead Ocean when the Viking ship
appears to obtain the vial containing an invisibility potion.
The player can elicit an easter egg
in Beyond Zork
by saying "Hello, sailor" to the old sailor with the painting. In Return to Zork
, every time the player returns to visit Ben, Ben greets the player with the variation "Hiya, sailor." The Encyclopedia Frobozzica
states that the official motto of Antharia is "Hieya wizka," which translates to "Hello, sailor"; it also states that commandment #12,592 of The Land of the Dead
religious sect strictly forbids speaking the phrase "Hello, sailor."
In all other Zork-related games, saying "Hello, sailor" merits the response "Nothing happens here" from the Z-machine. Chatting with nymphs in the computer game NetHack will sometimes prompt them to say "Hello, sailor."
Additional references in popular culture
In the Gilmore Girls
episode "Presenting Lorelai Gilmore
," the promiscuous dance teacher, Miss Patty, uses the phrase, "Hello, sailor!" while demonstrating the use of a focal point while spinning around in ballroom dancing
- PATTY: ... Now remember, one of the most important things in ballroom dancing is to remember to spot, otherwise you're gonna get dizzy. So, what you wanna do is you wanna pick out something to focus on. I usually like to find a lonely seaman. Then when turning, whip your head around and find your spot again. [spins around] Hello sailor, hello sailor, hello sailor. Now you try it.
- DEAN: You've gotta be kidding me.
- RORY: I think you can do it without the 'hello sailor' part.
"Hello Sailor" is sometimes used as a substitution to the phrase "Hello World" in the first program one writes in a given computer language.
- 69,105, a number that became something of an in-joke in several Infocom games