Oh Well! You Know How Women Are! and Isn’t That Just Like a Man!
Submitter: I came across this gem on our discards cart. It comes from an undisclosed university library in the Pacific Northwest. This book was written by Irvin S. Cobb who was an early 1900’s American humorist and newspaper columnist. At one time he was the highest paid staff reporter in the United States which probably explains how he got this book published.
The book is actually two books in one! The two books are fused in the middle so one half is always upside down while the other half is right side up. Simply flip the book over and you can read the second book! Clever? I’ll let you decide.
Skimming the book on “How Women Are” you will quickly find that Cobb seems focused on skirts and heels. He has several entries throughout and seems overly concerned that skirts and heels impair a woman’s overall mobility.
Let’s, however, give Mr. Cobb credit. He was an equal opportunity humorist and that’s pretty good for 1920. Among the historical pearls I learned about men include that wearing hats cause hair loss and that boys should never wear their mother’s pink silk stockings.
I could opine about the historical method and how we should consider time, place, and culture when considering primary texts. Then again, this book is in the public domain and freely available to read on Google Books so you can do that on your own. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some hats to burn.
Holly: This thing has held up pretty well for 1920! These old books are kind of cool for a museum or private collection, but that’s about it. A public library can move on to Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray. Oh wait…that one is from 1992. It can be weeded too. Side note: this book is cataloged as humor. Ha ha ha?
If this appeared in a library sale I would jump on it with both feet and a fistful of dollars to secure it for myself.
Mary Roberts Rinehart was an American writer of mystery stories and is sometimes said to coined the phrase, ‘The butler did it’. That may not quite be true but it’s fun.
Irwin Cobb was also right on about women’s fashions. From about the beginning of WWI into the early 1920s a very constricting style of dress was fashionable for young women. It was known as the ‘hobble skirt’ and involved bands around the knees. The look also featured shoes with narrow toes and rather high heels.
‘Hey! You guys who love to flirt!
Here comes the girl in the hobble skirt .
You may kiss her and hug as much as you please
But you won’t get that skirt up over her knees’.
Thanks very much for including this publication. However ephemeral it may have been 99 years ago, it was a fun read online in 2019. I extend Thipu’s comment above — If the book is still in good condition, a library could auction it off. (Who wrote the poem?)
Rinehart makes a still-timely comment with “What real man ever liked kissing a girl who didn’t want to be kissed? Love has got to be mutual.” And makes a tantalizingly comment when describing a type of lover: “Telephones with gentle persistence, and prefers the movies to the theater because they are dark. This type sometimes loses its gentleness after marriage, and always has an ideal woman in mind. Some one who walks like Pauline Frederick and smiles like Mary Pickford.” [Its footnote: “Will always remember small attentions to his wife after marriage, especially when conscience troubles him.”]
I’ve seen, and enjoyed, Mary Pickford’s smile. But what does Pauline Frederick’s walk look like? Please don’t leave me in the dark.
I could see the former if this were written by Tim Allen, but what odd choices for backgrounds.
Yep, got to say the theme is rather confusing – hammers for men, okay fine, stereotypes of men doing DIY, I get it, but women and… daggers is it? Were women known for stabbing a lot in the 20s?
The author of that one was a well-known mystery author. It looks like a satirical nod to that fact.
I have attended undisclosed universities in the Pacific Northwest and if this book had been at any of those university libraries and I’d known about it, I might have checked it out.
I do not know who wrote the poem. I only know that John Maxtone Graham would use it while describing the evacuation of the Titanic.
Something like that will stick in the mind.
I think the daggers are there because Rinehart wrote murder mysteries.
This is the second book in my life I have seen with that style of doubling-up.
My parents and grandparents had a whole series of these doubled-up books with jokes about various ethnic groups. One side would be jokes about Jewish people, while the other side was about Irish people. Or one side would be about German people, and the other about Italian people. They were always out on the endtables in the living room when I was growing up. All of them relied heavily on ridiculous stereotypes.
I believe I am fortunate to have not seen those things.
Maybe the daggers mean that women can be sharp-tongued, but that seems kind of deep for this book.
I can believe Rineheart and Cobb picked each other’s covers: Men are blunt and use main force, women are sharp and piercing.
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