It’s all in a name for the Blue Thong Society of Phoenix/Paradise Valley, a group of active women of all ages whose double-entendre moniker has raised eyebrows and publicity.

“It can be a panty or foot thong,” said Jackie Tushinsky, co-founder of the Encinitas, Calif.-based group that started the club just over a year ago. “No, it doesn’t mean we have to wear blue thongs. We just want to do charitable things and have fun.”

Just ask the owners of the Pink Taco what name recognition means. The trendy Scottsdale Waterfront Mexican restaurant’s name offended some because it can be used as a slang term for a part of the female anatomy.

The restaurant received nationwide publicity and drew many curious patrons who wanted to check out just what the fuss was all about.

The Valley chapter of the Blue Thong Society has received plenty of publicity — including live television — since its kickoff luncheon on July 18.

Founders could have called the group “Women Without Hats,” a tongue-in-cheek shot at the Red Hat Society and a name derived from the 1980s Canadian new wave synthetic pop collective band Men Without Hats.

Indeed, these ladies are the antithesis of the Red Hat Society.

“Someone said it should be a red thong,” said Linda Pollack, the Phoenix/Paradise Valley chapter director. “Then, we decided to go with blue.”

Tushinsky said that’s because some define blue as having compassion, empathy and friendship.

Regardless of meaning, Pollack expected about 30 women to show up for the group’s initial meeting; around 170 came.

“Definitely the name and the concept have drawn people,” Pollack said. “Blue Thong Society does have the double meaning, but we also like to think of it as being a state of mind for women of all ages. Some have characterized us as being fifty-somethings, but we have women as young as 21 in the club.”

Nearly 20 chapters of the Blue Thong Society exist nationwide, with around 1,000 women on its mailing list, according to Tushinsky.

“Especially the older ones among us don’t want to hang it up just yet,” said Pollack, a Paradise Valley resident who will turn 59 this week. “Women have become disposable in our society. We hope to change that. Certainly we want to work with charities but we also want to feel good about ourselves and have plenty of fun.

“This is not just a club or a group,” Pollack added. “It’s a movement.”

The chapter’s next meeting will be Aug. 15 at the Library Bar & Grill, 501 S. Mill Ave., Tempe.

For more information about the Blue Thong Society, visit www.bluethongsociety.com or contact Linda Pollack at golna@cox.net.

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