Friday, January 17, 2014

A Different World

It was a different world, then . . .

In every cafe, at lunch counters and bars people sat smoking, languidly or furtively, dreamily or seductively, and this was not, in the day, seen to be a threat to anyone other than the person enjoying the cigarette--but if, with a view to the culture of the time, there was a truly injurious hazard to the health, welfare and public decency to be suffered, or at least observed, that could be found at a glance in any diner, classroom, railroad passenger coach or city bus should some woman across the way carelessly cross her legs, to the exposure of a stocking-clad knee by more than a hem's width--there was your 'side-stream smoke' of the day.

Why! In those years, even so much as the dropped strap of a slip from a sleeveless blouse was a shock to the public sensibility, and an unseemly cause of distraction to many a man. For indeed, what if some fine gent had been about to read in his newspaper something terribly important to the future of the world and the rest of his life at just the moment he should catch a glimpse of a woman nearby who had let the black satin strip of a thing like that slip? Well! There you had a menace to the commonweal and the general welfare if ever there was one. Things were different then, in that day when women were seen so lushly to blush, their faces flushing brightly to a plush pink were someone urgently to whisper, "Darling! Your slip is showing!"