Monday, October 4, 2010

The 50's. And only the 50's.

Good manners dictate Your Prude ask you if you had an enjoyable weekend. But forgive her if she seems distracted during your response. She is just so excited to get started on Trifling Tunes with the Prude: The Last Half of the Twentieth Century Which Technically Includes the Year 2000. (Oh, how Prudes love long, long titles which are fully self-explanatory)

Last Friday, we left the pop song culture asking the question that would eventually lead to the obsession with both fiber-rich diets containing oats, (commonly called ‘doats’ in the 40’s), and the vegan craze, influenced by ‘little lambs eating divey’.  We call it ivy now and charge $90 a plate for it at upscale Chicagoland restaurants.

Follow Your Prude to the fabulous 50’s. We hear much about the oppressed women of this era. They had manned the munitions plants and kept the home fires burning during the war in the 40’s, but, a mere 10 years later, could only be found in their kitchens and country clubs, wearing aprons and high heels (THE fashion accessories of the post-war decade).
But before you mourn the miserable existence of these ladies, please know that mid-century females were an empowered and powerful group.
The Prude has proof.

One of the hit songs of the 50’s is referred to as a ‘Nonsense Song’. Nonsense. ‘How Much is That Doggie in the Window’ created a liberated ripple which swelled to a conscious-raised wave which churned into a foundation-garment burning riptide which burgeoned into a Tidal Wave of Feminism.

Read the lyrics along with me. Hum if you want to.
How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog he won't be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

(Chorus. arf arf)

I read in the papers there are robbers (roof, roof)
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark
(There is another verse but since it doesn’t support The Prude’s thesis she is eliminating it)
Well? Well?  Do you see what is happening here? A young woman (we’ll presume her youth because she delights in words like ‘doggie’ and ‘waggley’) has a boyfriend (sweetheart)  with whom she spends a lot of time (we will generously assume they are not co-habiting because she refers to him in that old-fashioned term ‘sweetheart’. And it was the 50’s) She is a girl of independent means because she can afford to buy the doggie with her own money.

This woman is going, by herself, to California. Why? She may have been headed to Hollywood, but The Prude prefers to believe she was going to work at the Lockheed aerospace research plant to defend her country from the Cold War threat. The Prude feels she can back this up with the young woman’s desire to DEFEND her sweetheart while she is gone.

Which leads to the final proof of a modern and liberated female. The young woman is buying a dog to protect her sweetheart from robbers. We can easily conclude that up to this point, the young woman was his chief defender. And she did it all in high heels and an apron.

Tomorrow, we head into a tune from the 60’s that encouraged multiculturalism. The Prude needs to wrap things up now and attend to her doggie. The one with the waggley tail.


Anonymous said...

Women came out of the munitions factories and shed their coveralls for June Cleaver dresses, pearls and heels.
By the way, i use to love "Doggie in the Window".


The Prude said...

Pearls! I forgot the pearls!