Labor Leader Kevin Rudd risks being associated with an unhealthily repressive s*xual obsession. It’s all about showers — frosty ones.

Yesterday, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson was the latest in a growing list of public figures told by Mr Rudd to “go and take a cold shower”. Mr Robertson had angered the Leader of the Opposition by telling a Rights at Work meeting he would “pull Kevin Rudd on once he’s prime minister”.

To take a cold shower is, as the Urban Dictionary accurately describes, “to relieve yourself of all s*xual desire” as in “”Mmmm, John your body looks so fine,” said Bob. “Dude, thinking about men? Go take a cold shower already.

And that’s exactly what Rudd has suggested for John Howard, Alexander Downer and others. As Thomas Hunter noted on 16 October in Crikey last year:

On the US alliance, foreign policy and Iraq, Rudd said “John Howard actually needs to take a cold shower.”

On the Labor Party’s leadership woes under Latham, everyone commenting in the newspapers about Rudd’s leadership aspirations “should take a long cold shower”.

When questioned on whether he would make a move for the Labor Party leadership, Rudd said it was time “everyone took a very long cold shower and shut up.”

On claims that the Australian troops sent to Dili could not restore order, Rudd suggested “everyone needs to take a cold shower…”

Just today, after accusing Alexander Downer of sprinkling angry pills on his Weet-Bix over the Solomon Islands/PNG brawl, Rudd suggested Mr Downer “needs to take a long cold shower … because this is not just about Mr Downer being hairy-chested for an Australian domestic audience.”

The only alternative definition for the phrase I can find on the internet is’s “A startlingly chilly, unenthusiastic reaction, response, or reception: “The elections, however, amounted to a cold shower for the . . . authorities” (Los Angeles Times).

But this version doesn’t fit the Rudd usage which turns the attention back to the s*xual connotation, as applied perhaps most famously in the 1959 film North by Northwest:

Roger Thornhill: He’ll be right up.

Eve Kendall: Better take your things off.

Roger Thornhill: Now, now, what can a man do with his clothes off for twenty minutes? Couldn’t he have taken an hour?

Eve Kendall: You could always take a cold shower.

Messrs Robertson, Howard and Downer can take some heart from information that cold water in the shower is said to be a beauty aid to your hair and helps remove cellulite too.

The only advice I can give to Mr Rudd is that he should show more imagination in his choice of language as did food writer Jeanine Larmoth when she wrote that “marmalade in the morning has the same effect on taste buds that a cold shower has on the body.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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