Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Review: Our Slips Are Showing

Title: Our Slips Are Showing
Editor: Mary Dawson Hughes
Date: 1969
Publisher: Hallmark Editions
ISBN: none (Amazon page here)
Length: 60 pages of text and cartoons
Quote: “A bachelor never quite gets over the idea that he is a thing of beauty and a boy forever.”
Some online readers may not have any frame of cultural reference for the title of this book. Will they get the jokes inside? Many of them. But it may help them to know that (1) a “slip” was a sort of long camisole ladies wore under dresses and skirts from about 1925 to about 1975, and (2) for a slip to show under the hem of a skirt was the sort of correctable fashion faux pas to which one was supposed to alert a friend, and (3) the Readers Digest magazine used to include a column that reprinted humorous mistakes under the heading “Pardon, Your Slip Is Showing,” so that (4) by the time this book was published, a substantial number of women were coming to associate “slips are showing” with short funny quotes. That’s what this book is all about...short funny quotes from the most popular women writers of the period.
Most are longer than the one-line play on words quoted above. Some selections are quatrains, limericks, or full pages of light verse; some are four-to-six-page short stories. Shirley Jackson’s famous “Charles” story is here, as are selections from Jean Kerr, Elinor Goulding Smith, Virginia Cary Hudson, and Ruth McKenney. No short stories by Dorothy Parker are included, but several of her verses are.
Somewhat misplaced at the end of this book is a short section of “Men for the Prosecution.” It’s not that the men’s comments on certain specific women’s behavior, like the famous one by A.P. Herbert that begins “Dear Madame, you have seen this play,” are offensive to most women or are not funny. They are funny, but since the subtitle is “Light Verse and Stories From a Woman’s Point of View,” these male efforts belong in a separate book.
Actually, all the choice comments in this book originally belonged to separate books. Most of those books were better than this one. But by now some of them are hard to find.

Google yields no information as to whether Mary Dawson Hughes is still living. She might well be, but she's not active on the Internet. Considering that she was an editor not an author, and most of the authors of this book are no longer living, I'm not going to try to offer Our Slips Are Showing as a Fair Trade Book. To buy it here, send $5 for the book + $5 for shipping to; if you buy other books here, you pay one $5 shipping charge for as many books as fit into one package, so please feel free to add this one to a package that contains a Fair Trade Book. (May we suggest Gina Barreca's Sweet Revenge?)