The American-English slang phrase to (play) hide the salami (or the salam) means to have sexual intercourse. In this phrase, the noun salami (or salam) denotes the penis.
—British-, Irish- and Australian-English synonym: to (play) hide the sausage.
The phrase to (play) hide the salami occurs, for example, in the review of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, produced at the Criterion Theatre, London—review by James Rampton, published in The Independent (London, England) of Tuesday 14th March 1996:
Othello is told in rap: “While he was out finding an army/Were she and Cassio playing hide the salami?”
The earliest occurrences of the phrase to (play) hide the salami (or the salam) that I have found are as follows, in chronological order:
1-: From Annie Hall (1977), a U.S. film directed by Woody Allen (Allan Stewart Konigsberg – born 1935), written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman (born 1939), starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton (née Hall – born 1946)—the following is from the script of Annie Hall, as published by IMDb:
Annie Hall: Hey, listen, what – what do you think? Do you think we should, uh, go to that – that party in Southampton tonight?
Alvy Singer: No, don’t be silly. What – what do we need other people for? You know, we should – we should just turn out the lights, you know, and play hide the salam or something.
2-: From The Official Preppy Handbook (New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 1980), edited by Lisa Birnbach:
hide the salam v. Salam is short for salami. Sexual intercourse. Used with “to play,” as in, “Then we played hide the salam.”
3-: From the review of The Official Preppy Handbook, by Joe Rookard, published in the News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) of Sunday 1st February 1981:
As the authors explain in “The Official Preppy Handbook,” now America’s bestselling paperback: This book is KEY (crucial, especially to being prep, according to the handbook).
Look, I’m no dork. (A clumsy person who does not know prep sayings and attitudes). I mean, I was never a good-attitude student (a jerk)—when I was 16, I knew how to hide the salam and get Chinese. I drink G&T, T&T and V&T. I didn’t go to Princeton, but then I didn’t go to Oberlin either, so I figure I’m all right.
4-: From Preppy pack of cloned, unisex folk, by Ki Ki Jerman, published in The Daily Utah Chronicle (Salt Lake City, Utah) of Thursday 7th May 1981—The Daily Utah Chronicle is the University of Utah’s student newspaper; the following is based on The Official Preppy Handbook:
Looking Preppy is only half the battle, next you must master the vocabulary. Start by affecting a nasal tone to your voice. Then toss really, awesome, excellent, outrageous and cool in for adjectives.
See if you can translate this paragraph, big guy.
There I was baggin’ a few z’s when Chip blew in and we decided to get Chinese to the max, grab a few Brewskis, some za and scream and then get the hell out of Dodge for some heavy babe action. I was tapioca so we had to swing by Daddy’s to pick up some scoots to really get low. Muffy, my talent, out-to-lunch most of the time but a stitch and a half when she’s paralytic, and her friend Jinks, an awesome piece of white bread, met us at Dooley’s and we proceeded to get absolutely wrecked. You know, gone Borneo in a big way. I got crazy, dropped trou and we got booted which got the babes jacked out. But after we got into some heavy mouth smashing and we began to swap spit in a big way they were just as ready to hide the salam as we were and we got into some parallel parking. Tremendous.
Translation—Why don’t we get drunk and screw?
If you needed a foghorn to understand that you’re spaced, dork and absolutely N.O.C.D.
5-: From The Challenge (1982), a U.S. film directed by John Frankenheimer (1930-2002), according to the review of this film by Terry Kelleher, Herald Arts Writer, published in The Miami Herald (Miami, Florida) of Thursday 30th September 1982—Calvin Jung (born 1945) is a U.S. actor:
The chief henchman (Calvin Jung) is a Japanese-American who obviously admired Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death. After capturing and torturing Mifune’s son, he pushes him—wheelchair and all—out of a van and into oncoming traffic. His sadism is matched only by his mastery of American slang. Having sex, in Jung’s argot, is “playing hide-the-salami.”
6-: From Class: A Guide Through the American Status System (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1983), by the U.S. cultural historian Paul Fussell (1924-2012):
The middle class is the place where table manners assume an awful importance and where net curtains flourish to conceal activities like hiding the salam’ (a phrase no middle-class person would indulge in, surely: the fatuous making love is the middle-class equivalent).