Works in the Herald 1935

A male dress-reformer of Sydney declares that the majority of Sydney women are not ladies, because they stare at his generous display of bare, brawny legs, and at times break into uncontrolled laughter.

Alas, my dear, be you high-born,
   Or just a Sydney cutie,
I fear you’ve earned a he-man’s scorn
   Thro’ failing in your duty.
A lady would avert her eyes,
Taught by her caste to realise
That the male leg without disguise
   Is not a thing of beauty.

Even when used to underpin
   A dress-reforming dandy,
‘Tis still a prop of reddened skin,
   Mostly knock-kneed, or bandy.
And, oh, my dear, you must have known
How sensitive are those who own
These knobby knuckles thickly sown
   With ebon hairs, or sandy.

And oh, my dear, be you de Vere,
   Or just some saucy Sadie,
To goggle when male shanks appear
   Is positively shady.
But should you giggle –- Oh, dear!  Oh!
No matter how grotesque the show,
All proper gentlemen must know
   You’re low.  You ain’t no lady.

But oh, my dear, and ah, my dear,
   Learn etiquette.  For when, dear,
You in those fetching shorts appear
   At tennis now and then, dear;
Men may stare hard, they may stare long,
Their heads a-whirl, their hearts a song;
Yet, save your scorn.  There’s nothing wrong.
   They still are gentlemen, dear.

Herald, 8 May 1935, p8

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003