A hot mic at a Senate Appropriations Committee markup recorded Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) making a whispered joke about fellow senator and Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham (S.C.). (Senate Appropriations Committee)

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is Washington's latest victim of those relentlessly scheming microphones-that-people-don't-realize-are-on. The Huffington Post picked up Kirk's comments riffing on Sen. Lindsey Graham's idea that, in the unlikely event he's elected president, Graham, who is single, would have a "rotating first lady."

"I've been joking with Lindsey, 'cause he doesn't have ... did you see that?" Kirk said during a Senate Appropriations Committee vote. "He'll have a 'rotating first lady.' He's a bro with no ho."

So, that's awkward. But then Kirk added something else: "That's what we'd say on the street." The last word is a bit muffled, to be fair, but it certainly seems like he says "street."

Let's set aside that United States senators do not spend a lot of time on the proverbial "streets." Let's instead focus on this: Who says this, exactly?

A search for the expression in the news-story database Nexis returns only a 2003 story from Australia, which doesn't use the expression itself. It is titled, "Yo, bro, no 'Ho! Ho! Ho!' "

Inside gossip from the halls of the Myer Santa School is that the time-honoured Santa-ese "Ho! Ho! Ho!" is being discouraged this year, lest any street-smart toddlers jump to the conclusion that Father Christmas is in fact chortling "Whore! Whore! Whore!" in the patois of the North American ghetto.

Chill out, Australia.

No one searches for the expression on Google ...


... And, more damning, it doesn't even have an entry in the never-safe-for-work, patois-explaining Urban Dictionary.


We asked people from Chicago if they'd heard the term.

"'What we say on the streets?'," said Jeff Ruby, chief dining critic of Chicago magazine. "I can't imagine what streets he's talking about. Maybe while he was in the Navy?  I have never heard the phrase before in Chicago. So maybe I'm not hanging out on the streets enough."

Jordan, who lives in Woodlawn, replied over Twitter, "Nope. Is that a riff on 'bros before hos' that everybody has heard of?" Since it appears to have no background, it's impossible to know.

Tracy, who lives in Lincoln Park, said over e-mail that "I've certainly seen and heard a lot -- especially on big Chicago sports days when people seem to go nuts. But this phrase? No." (She also described Kirk as "Sen. Kirk (R-Frat House)." But she also admitted that she is a Democratic consultant, so take that zinger with a grain of salt.)

The Web hasn't heard the expression. Three Chicagoans -- which must be 30 percent of the population -- haven't heard the expression (but feel free to chime in in the comments!). Whichever "streets" Kirk got the phrase from are, as yet, unidentified.

By the way, if you search for "bro with no ho" on Urban Dictionary at this point, there might be a definition there. Because we added it.


We had to have five tags.