Hard boiled

I quite like the so-called hard boiled fiction of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and so on.

Very often, a young male character is referred to as a “gunsel”. In one book, it is explained that this means a young man carrying a gun.

However, it’s not correct. As far as I understand it, a gunsel is a young man kept by an elder as a homosexual partner. You can see it in The Maltese Falcon.

Wilmer is the gunsel. It’s used as a person with a gun,which he does have, but I always assumed it was (also) meant as a secret reference to homosexuality.

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