Does anyone know where and when the expression “hobbyist” originated? The most I could find out after what was an admittedly cursory Internet search was the following:
A john (U.S.) or a punter (U.K.) is a male client of a prostitute, particularly in the case of street prostitution. Although these are slang terms, they are used by both prostitutes and police in their respective countries. Some male clients from the United States prefer to call themselves "'mongers", short for whoremonger, a word that has expanded from its meaning of a pimp or bawd, who dealt in whores as a fishmonger deals in fish, to include anyone keeping the company of whores. Yet another group of clients, primarily online, prefer to use the term "hobbyist." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punter_(prostitution)). There are others, but this one seems to sum it up best.
If I ask at all it is because the first time I ever saw the word was here on MERB, which I joined only a little while ago. While its meaning was immediately clear, I wondered where it came from and also whether the term is used exclusively by men or also by those who cater to, service or provide for (another terminological quagmire) or satisfy the wants of hobbyists (i.e., service providers, escorts, call girls…..and so on).
I suppose that the underlying question is that of the social and cultural significance of the term (and by extension of all terms employed in the sex industry). When I see “hobbyist,” for example, it conjures up something vaguely innocent and genteel, placing the person so-named in a category akin to, say, stamp collectors.