If I Know What I Mean
by Elsie Janis
COLLEGE PRESIDENTS AND CAMPUS CUT-UPS.
PRESIDENT SMITH, of Roanoke college, grabbed off a lot of front-page space for himself and his institution the other day by speaking his mind freely and fiercely about the modern girl. Of course, it pays to advertise and his obviously moral views will attract the attention of some puritanical parents.
“That’s exactly the college for dear daughter!” they exclaim.
It will also interest a number of daughters.
“Nothing stirring, mates! I don’t park my brain and brawn at any Roanoke — so long as that old bird roosts in the lookout nest.” That’s their verdict.
Of course, it would suggest that a man old enough to be president of a college might not know quite all there is to know about the modern girl, but being just an uneducated female who never went to college, I feel free to say what I want to about college professors. Personally, I think it must be quite hard enough trying to pass exams without having the old dears counting how many cigarettes you smoke a day.
* * *
PRESIDENT SMITH said “Never has there been such an army of hard drinking, cigarette puffing amazons as invade the college campus today.” Them was harsh words, Prexy. I don’t know yet whether he meant the Amazon river, on account of their wetness, or whether he means the kind that use to curry spears.
At least the modern girl doesn’t need a spear — she’s got a sense of humor. She needs it if she reads the newspapers. I wish they would stop giving her so much space. She naturally feels she has to make good by appearing bad. And how devout educators like the President must devour the dailies!
He says the girls have flasks on their hips. Now that shows how near he has been to the abandoned creatures! With these new straight up-and-down “cuss as you enter” dresses, that have a hole at the top for the head and one below for the dance-a-meters, you not alone can’t have a flask on the hip, but you can’t even have the hip, and look smart.
* * *
JUST where these campus cut-ups carry their liquor I don’t know, but that most of them carry it well, I’m sure. Do they puff cigarettes? Well, if they do, he might give them medals, for that means that they do very little real smoking. If they inhale, that goes a bit further into the subject and a lot further into the lungs. If the girls take one last drag before entering the classroom and then exhale, the smoke at the end of a lecture on Eugenics, he might complain.
I really think that every girl has enough criticism in the home without paying tuition fees for more of it, and broadcasted at that. There is no doubt about modern young women being free thinkers and spree drinkers — but at least they’re not lonely.
Honestly, I meant to avoid the subject of prohibition. Everything that can be said has been printed and a lot that can’t be printed has been said. I am not for it or against it. Spending half my time in Europe, I can afford to be neutral, though I must admit that while I’m in America I simply can’t afford to be wet.
* * *
I’VE just finished a tour and saw a lot of girls and went to many parties. I was not so much impressed by how much these girls drink as I was petrified to see how much the can drink. Gone are the days when the villain hissed: “Curses! One drink and the girl is mine.” Today it’s “Curses! One drink and the girl wants mine.”
Perhaps their heads are so full of ideas that the liquor can’t get up there. Certainly their glass grabbers (right digits) are as tireless as an adding machine and almost as automatic.
Also I have observed that all the vices that the Professor considers disgraceful seem to be quite successful. The girls are certainly more idolized than criticized by the men who know more about loving than is????.
A halo is very satisfactory to the wearer, but the [illegible.....] tell it from Queen Mary’s spring bonnet. The modern young man doesn’t care what’s on her head or in it as long as she is a good dancer, a clean drinker and does not require a lot of rest.
* * *
PERHAPS after all, President Smith has hit the nail on the head and driven it in. Perhaps it’s up to the men to save the women and he just started the movement. For years women have been saving men from other women — by which I mean even going to the lengths of marrying them to do it.
Now it’s obviously up to the men to follow the President’s lead if not his creed, and start soul saving on broad lines — not too broad, of course. Since the women insist on thrusting equal rights on the men (which goodness knows they never had before), there is surely nothing to stop the ardent young swain from reversing the tables (or upsetting them according to time, place and intentions), and pulling the time-worn phrase (1924 model), “Darling, I adore you. Do you care enough for me to give up your liquor?”
* * *
FRANKLY, I’d love to be saved. But as I never went to college, I couldn’t hope to be classed with President Smith’s Modern Mesalinas. There was a time when actresses had a chance to get on the front page on account of the number of husbands they divorced, but now with public interest all centered around College Cut-ups and the number of cigarettes they consume, we actresses might as well bow low and admit that we are just a lot of tame tabbies trying to get along.
I resign, reluctantly. I am too far behind the modern flapper to catch up with her. Even so, I never could stick with her until 6 a.m. and then meet her in the park at 9:30 on a horse. If I stay up until 3, I don’t’ want to speak even to my mother before noon. And as for riding a horse, I wouldn’t even know how to start a conversation with one at 9:30 in the morning.
However, I am not too far behind the flapper to see and admire her. Yes, and defend her, anytime anybody of another generation starts tearing her to bits as if she were a treaty. I see her shortcomings, but I believe that they, like her short hair will grow out in time.
In the meantime, I suggest that some college girl be given a front page to tell what she thinks of the modern college president who rushes into print about her.