Monday, January 11, 2010

Social Blunder No. 1

Much may depend on dinner, but even more depends on card tables.

Imagine this: you're a 1940s housewife named Grace, and you're sitting in the diner a booth away from a group of your most catty and particular friends. Why are you sitting there alone in the first place? Hard to say. Maybe you're waiting for someone.

Or maybe - just maybe - you are being ostracized because of the bridge party you held the other day. You must have spent too long on the toast wheelbarrows and not enough time on checking how the furniture is holding up.

You can't help but overhear what they are saying: 

She's a lovely hostess, but those shabby old card tables are a disgrace!

Shabby card tables are Social Blunder No. 1. They spoil the fun of a party!

I thought I'd burst holding back my laughter when her table collapsed and hot tea fell on Mrs. Brown's lap!

I'm surprised her husband stands for it! It's a sign of poor housekeeping!

And Grace thinks: How can they be so HORRID! 

Yes, Grace, they certainly are a horrid bunch. No doubt about it. In fact I believe that Social Blunder No. 2 is dissing someone when they're in earshot. And Social Blunder No. 3? Mrs. Brown could tell you that one, I bet: someone getting hot tea dumped in their lap is not cause for hilarity, you horrid hussies!

Then later that same day.... 

Grace went home and told her husband about that shocking experience; she couldn't bear facing her friends again...BUT...

But of course she sends her husband down to the store to buy some - everybody, all together now! - Samson Card Tables! There is a strange, unnerving gleam in her eye as she tells him: 

You go right down and buy 2 or 3! We'll show those women!

Oh, we certainly will. And we'll also make sure Mrs. Brown is in charge of the boiling hot tea next time, too.

[From Life, February 19, 1940; big version here.]


Eric said...

Maybe Grace needs to wear a less conspicuous hat if she's going to hang out at diners and try to eavesdrop on others. Unless, maybe back then, *not* having a bizarre 'Dick Tracy' style hat would draw attention?

Tori Lennox said...

I think Grace should invite the horrid hussies to her next bridge party and make them all sit at one of the old card tables. And Mrs. Brown and spill hot tea on THEM!

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

How did women get anything done between worrying about what their friends were saying and worrying about what their husbands were saying?

Lidian said...

Eric - Yes, she does need a better disguise. She ought to write for that be-a-detective course.

Tori - I'll bet that is her plan! Notice how she only wants to buy "2 or 3" tables! She is saving one old one for these gals.

Tracy - They had to multitask and worry while doing other things: worry/do dishes, worry/do laundry, etc. Fun times.

Barbara said...

Those dirty bitches. I'll get them for disparaging my tables. Wait until they see my chairs!!

So Much Depends On A Toast Wheelbarrow.


Lidian said...

And much depends on chairs, too! lol

Bill said...

Your readers are so wise. I agree with each one of them.
(Oh, the injustice! Poor Grace! It makes my blood boil)
But Barbara reminds us of what we learned not long ago: So Much Depends On A Toast Wheelbarrow.
If Grace had put a bit more care into the preparation of those wheelbarrows, no one would have noticed her trashy, ramshackle bridge tables.

Lidian said...

Bill - You are exactly right!