Back To Back.

dueling pistols

Trust Maria the gaelikaa to come up with the most difficult topics to write on!  This one had me scratching my bald pate for quite some time before I could gather some thoughts on what to write.

To start with, this is not something that I use regularly or have ever had to use regularly.  The earliest memories I have of ‘back to back’ is reading about duelists with pistols first standing back to back with an umpire counting out paces for them to separate, turn around and fire on reaching the mandatory ten paces.  Since most of these stories were over a woman, it was quite interesting for me as someone not very interested in them at that age, to wonder what all the fuss was about.  Much older, and I hope wiser, I still cannot figure out what the fuss was all about?  You win some and you lose some and to fight over romance sounds so silly even now.  But the idea of those guns, how they would be tested, loaded and brought to the venue was something different!

Much later in life, I had to resort to back to back agreements tying up sales on the one hand and purchase on the other as middleman and this was something that was always exciting and very satisfying.

Then came playing or watching back to back matches,  and also watching movies etc at a time when such things were possible and you were not condemned for being a slacker.  These were no lifted eyebrows when you said that you had gone to a morning show and followed it immediately by a matinee show. And mind you, this was in the days of stand alone movie houses.  One can so easily do this now in a multiplex that I wish that we had had these in those days.  I would have been able to spend more time in theaters with my girl friends like I now see youngsters do in multiplexes watching back to back shows with only pop corn to sustain them.

There are however some usages that puzzle me.  Like terraced houses being described by builders as back to back.  The backs are usually gardens and the common walls dividing the houses are usually the drawing rooms/landings.  Surely they should be called side to side?  Back to back agreements are much touted about between governments which again, puzzle me.  How can one agreement with say a neighbour in the North on sharing river waters, be described as a back to back agreement with an earlier one with another neigbouring country in the South on technical collaboration in higher education?

Whatever the matter, the usage seems to be on the increase and I only hope that the usage that I first remembered is not.

This topic was suggested by Maria the gaelikaa, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently nine of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

12 thoughts on “Back To Back.”

  1. Back to back houses were very common in Industrial or mining areas of Britain. The houses were long terraces with the tiny rear yards facing each other, with only a laneway between the rows. These laneways were the playing areas for the children who often had to dodge through the lines of washing strung from one side to the other for drying.

    I can remember when I was young, our house being so full of visitors that mammy and I would play ‘back to back’ twins … in other words we shared a single chair and sat with our backs together for support!
    Grannymar recently posted..Silent solace

  2. On back to back – I remember endless days/nights at offices hired to “fix” accounting systems or bring them online. On your previous posts, I like the quote on humanity, I keep seeing it everywhere.
    wisewebwoman recently posted..Experience and Opinions

  3. How about this song:

    We should be happy just the way we are
    We got a brand new house with a circle drive and a fancy car
    But furs and diamonds and a Cadillac
    Don’t mean a thing when you’re sleeping back to back

    You look at your wall I stare at mine
    But we never really seem to say what’s on our mind
    We don’t talk things over we ignore the facts
    That our love can’t live when it’s sleeping back to back

    When I fell in love with you you didn’t have a dime
    But we spent our nights making love not marking time
    And I’d trade this mansion for a run down shack
    And a man who don’t believe in sleeping back to back
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Best Friends

  4. back to back – exams you must take but they are at same time/day – so you sit one and are escorted to the other [sit it separately], so you don’t happen upon the “answers” or you have classes back to back all day long – some overlapping so you turn up half way through!

  5. so many interesting varying concepts of ‘back to back!’
    who would have thunk it?
    i think of back to back as simply one right after another… of whatever it is… rows of houses… movies on tv… or … whatever!
    but jean’s song takes on a whole new meaning!
    i always enjoyed feeling bob’s back right next to mine. a safe and loved feeling. even zekey would sleep with me in the wintertime… back to back … only he was on top of the covers… i was underneathe them!
    the coziest feeling in the world! back to back.
    tammy j recently posted..fwed

  6. Terraced houses back to back? Back to back agreements? There are many other phrases like these that make no sense to me. Still, the users will argue to the nth degree that they are proper.
    blessings ~ maxi
    Maxi recently posted..Oh No, Not Again

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