By Greg Clark, June 16, 1928
He wears a Christie, horn-rimmed spectacles, a fawn coat. He is perhaps forty. His jaw, while not large, is wide and tight. And he is sitting in the forward part of the street car with his newspaper.
A girl with stockings enters. Sits down across from him. Arranges herself and assumes that unafraid air that the modern girl wears.
The gennlemn, in turning the pages of his paper, happens to see the stockings, the long, shining stockings.
And there commences that humorous business that is to be seen almost any time – a gennlemn pretending he is not looking.
First, he glances casually to right and left, to see who his immediate neighbors are and what sort of people they may be, observant or otherwise; lost in their papers or staring about.
Having reassured himself that there are none of his acquaintances at hand and nobody noticing, the gennlemn arranges his paper before him in such a way that nobody could tell whether he is reading the upper part of the folded paper or peering over the top of it.
The gennlemn peeps at the stockings.
Alarmed for fear his ruse is too obvious, he glances again to right and left, with the air of one looking to see what part of the city he is in now, and he folds his paper lengthwise, thus being able to hold it up and see, with one eye, past the side of it.
This works for a moment, but again some alarm is felt that this method is too conspicuous, so he turns a few pages of the paper studiously, absently, and tries the over-the-top method again.
But just as he achieves the proper expression of interest in the paper he is not reading, and has quieted all his suspicions about his neighbors catching on, the young lady with the shiny stockings gets up and walks back to the other part of the car where people sit two by two.
And the gennlemn in the Christie and horn-rimmed spectacles – after a long moment of staring intently at the type on his paper – raises guilty eyes to those around him to see if they witnessed what had happened. For the gennlemn believes the young lady caught him.
But she didn’t.
She had merely noticed a good looking oarsman sitting in the rear part of the car.
And there was a seat across from him.
So she moved.
It’s all very simple, when you understand it.
Editor’s Notes: “Gennlemn” is just a mumbling of “gentleman”.
A Christie is a brand of hat.
This type of article would be one of Greg’s observational ones, where he just describes what he sees.
Many men were flustered by the shortening of skirt lengths during the 1920s.