Lampshade in a Whorehouse - What Mean?

Yes, it’s in the title of a Phyllis Diller book. But this is not about the grand old girl.

I have never before heard this phrase - the only use I found was a review of a Mercedes gas guzzler, referring to its “smart” fuel economy during start/stop.

That would seem to be “nice touch, but REALLY besides the point”

I’m 63 and raised in OH and IN - have been in CA since age 30. If you know the term, where/when did you pick it up?

Is this really a commonly used phrase anywhere?

In Phyllis Diller’s case the phrase comes from a line out of one of her comedy routines, in which she refers to herself as a woman who once worked as a lampshade in a whorehouse (she commonly used this type of self deprecating humor). I assumed it was a reference to her looks and her style of clothing and didn’t have any particular meaning other than that.

Here’s what Phyllis had to say about it in an interview:

Here is a similar reference with what appears to be a different origin but with no explanation or attribution.

Perhaps the implication is that furnishings in a whorehouse are cheap and gaudy. Another longtime cliche is to note that a woman’s perfume smells like a French whorehouse. It is not a compliment.

Linky no worky.

linkey workey