I also have some unintentionally funny vintage books that aren’t about pattern making. I have two books I really like. The first is What Men Don’t Like About Women by Thomas Horton, copyright 1945. With the war on, I don’t know how he got it published although he does write excrutiatingly well. He’s also vitriolic, contemptuous, misogynistic and contradictory; the only women he thinks are of any value are prostitutes. For some reason, he likes prostitutes, considering them to be virtuous gems of femininity.
The book I like to read alongside of Thomas is Glorify Yourself by Eleanore King (1942). This is a beauty and charm book. I don’t know how she got her book published during the war either (obviously, rationing wasn’t strict enough). The book was actually her Master’s Thesis for her degree in Education (!). Eleanor is the opposite of Thomas, she is unabashedly superficial who’s only focus is to have the most radiant eyes, the best posture, the most attractive legs, and how to hold your hands correctly (when you’re standing and when you’re sitting-it’s different). Eleanore has the IQ of a pound cake.
Anyway, I like to read these two side by side because I can only imagine what one would say to the other were they in the same room. They’d hate each other. For example this is what Thomas says about women and walking:
Their contempt for the art of walking.
Occasionally life gets so complicated that the only refuge seems to be a walk -in the park, on the sea shore, or just in the street. When a man gets into his funk, eternal romantic that he is, he often picks for his companion a woman -to his boundless regret. The fact is that it is absolutely impossible to have a pleasant time walking with a woman. She will stop at store windows, she will chatter about her bowel movements, she will relate the sad tale of what her nephew said last Thursday to her uncle from Poughkeepsie, she will orate on the value of women getting together to reduce the price of fur coats for working girls, and so on -when all the man wants is the mere presence of a silent sympathizer. The result of such a walk, of course, is that the man returns home in lower spirits than before- and determined never to see that chatterbox again.
And here is what Eleanor says about women and walking:
9. Hip Action.
If you are not sure whether or not you “wiggle behind” as you walk, get a friend to watch and check. Be sure you get a friend who is sympathetic with your problem. Spread your fingers and put one hand on each buttock. Now, walking slowly, feel any undue movement. If it’s there to a noticeable extent, put a book on your head. Again walk that straight line, with your hands on your buttocks, as just instructed, carefully straightening your knees before you place the heel each time. You have to practice just this much for a week, concentrating on it alone. Even the worst “wiggly hips” can be corrected with conscious effort. You may need only several turns back and forth to accomplish it -but master it you must, for undue hip movements give a woman an ordinary, squawish mannerism and spoil her whole well-bred, cultured appearance.
Eleanor goes on for an entire other paragraph, complete with further exercises toward the reduction of one’s “wiggly hips”.
Tune in next week for further adventures of Eleanor and Thomas.