It's just this little chromium switch, here... (derspatchel) wrote,
It's just this little chromium switch, here...

This afternoon's excursion to McIntyre & Moore netted me a few decent books -- a dictionary of catch phrases, copryight 1977 and including such turn-of-the-century and long-forgotten gems as "You can't sell me any wooden nutmegs", a history of "Mad & Magnificent Yankees" such as the Newburyport fellow who bought up stray cats at thruppence apiece and shipped them to a Caribbean plantation for $2.50 a head, and a small paperback which Jodie actually found first, but declined to buy: a 1965 copy of PLAYBOY'S PARTY JOKES: "A brand-new collection of sophisticated humor from America's most sophisticated magazine."

Well, now, how could I pass such a book up?

For those people whose fathers didn't have a subscription to Playboy, the "Party Jokes" section was (is) a monthly feature, printed on the back of the centerfold next to the data sheet listing the centerfold's various turn-ons and turn-offs, and providing vaguely smutty one-liners and situational quips with some of Leroy Neiman's "femlin" caricatures prancing about in between columns of joke copy. The jokes in this book are far from smutty; in fact, they're downright tame:
He offered her a Scotch & soda, and she reclined.

Passionate picnickers should keep in mind that some girls are like flowers: they grow wild in the woods.

Some girls get a lot out of a dress, and leave it out.
As can be expected from this treasury, most of the jokes are remnants of the chauvinistic businessman's 60s. There's more secretary jokes than you can shake your stick at, a lot of wife and mistress jokes ("the difference between a mistress and a wife is night and day") and drunk jokes.

There's also a batch of prototypical blonde jokes, but at this stage in the game, it was merely enough to insinuate that this beautiful yet stupid female was just that -- stupid. And female. But hair color didn't enter into it yet. (Isn't that nice? They're being all-inclusive!) All they needed to say was:
We know a beautiful yet vacant acquaintance who...
...thinks the English Channel is the one on TV where you can view British programs.

...thinks that 'vice versa' is dirty poetry.
And then there's the Unabashed Dictionary. Take a word, make a smutty definition for it, and hey presto, you've got an entry for "Our Unabased Dictionary!"
Our Unabashed Dictionary...
...defines 'high fidelity' as a drunk who goes home regularly to his wife.

...defines 'neurotic' as a woman who prefers a psychiatrist's couch to a double bed.

...defines 'nudists' as people who go all in for altogetherness.

...defines 'protein' as a call girl too young to vote.
These are the jokes, folks.

And what a fascinating relic. A real glimpse back into the sophisticated days of sophisticated parties, where sophisticated types could bring forth a swaggering, sophisticated line about a marriage ring being "a vicious circle". Then the laughter would flow as freely as the Scotch and clinkle as sweetly as the ice cubes.

Or maybe it was a glimpse into the days when office men who thought they were funny might pull out a tired line or two about a marriage ring being a "vicious circle", thereby only vaguely impressing the only person in the room who didn't read that month's Playboy Party Jokes.

You get to pick!

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