The Flapper
"Flapping Not Repented Of"
New York Times, July 16, 1922

The flapper and the automobile - two icons of the new freedomAs an ex-flapper I'd like to say a word in her behalf. I who have tasted of the fruits of flappery and found them good – even nourishing. [I] can look back and smile. The game was worth it.

A flapper lives on encouragement, and only because these sweet, innocent boys try to go her one better does she resort to more stringent methods. Of course a flapper is proud of her nerve – she is not even afraid of calling it by its right name. She is shameless, selfish and honest, but at the same time she considers these three attributes virtues. Why not? She takes a man's point of view as her mother never could, and when she loses she is not afraid to admit defeat, whether it be a prime lover or $20 at auction. She can take a man – the man of the hour – at his face value…with no foolish promises that will need a disturbing and disagreeable breaking.

The gregarious flapper.  Note the bobbed hair - also a break from the past and a sign of her freedom.But here we must distinguish between the different types of flappers. There is the prep-school type-still a little crude…She has not the finish of the college flapper who has learned to be soulful, virtuous on occasions and, under extreme circumstances, even highbrow. But the after-prep and college girl emerges into something you can check up. She will tell you where you stand in her catalogue, and if she wants you badly enough she will come out in the open and work for you with the same fresh and vigorous air that you would work to win her. She will never make you a hatband or knit you a necktie, but she'll drive you from the station hot Summer nights in her own little sport car. She'll don knickers and go skiing with you; or, if it happens to be Summer time, swimming; she'll dive as well as you, perhaps better; she'll dance as long as you care to, and she'll take everything you say the way you mean it, not getting "sore" as her older sister did when that "pious" older sister rested back seductively in the pretty green canoe with a pink parasol to keep off the healthy tan of the sun. Speaking of canoes, she may even quote poetry to you, not Indian love lyrics, but something about the peace conference (This is referring to the Conference at Versailles that ended WWI.) or theology. After all, she checks up pretty squarely, doesn't she? Watch her five years from now and then be thankful that she will be the mother of the next generation, with the hypocrisy, fluff and other "hokum" worn entirely off. Her sharp points wear down remarkably well and leave a smooth polished surface. You'll be surprised at what a comfort that surface will be in the days to come!


Introduction Page The Flapper Petters and Neckers