or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All Hers

From Boingboing's Winter Zen, a collection of Depression-era newspaper ads that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, devised to get people out and shopping to help bolster the economy. It's fascinating stuff, at least what you can read of it--some of the images are teeny, and you there's no way to enlarge them. Some of them are rather demanding: #13 insists that "She Wants a Robe This Christmas" (oh, she does, does she?), while #26 merely promises that "She'd adore Elizabeth Arden's Blue Grass". Others are a mite baffling: #20 thinks you ought to give a gift of a case of canned beets. "Of course you'll give cigarettes for Christmas," asserts #25. And #29, not fucking around, says that "It's hard to think of a more luxurious gift" than a $100 silver-fox scarf, something like $1500 in today's money.

But look at this second ad in the 30-part slide show:

If you can tear your eyes away from the luscious gams for a few seconds, you will note that the ad's headline reads, Give "Her" Hose!

I have no idea whatever why those quotation marks are in there. Usually, quote marks mean one of two things: something is being directly quoted, or it's wrong or unreal. You often see them (incorrectly) in casual use (such as hand-written signs) to add stress to something, as if they represented italics or underlining, but that doesn't even seem to be the case in this ad. Did the ad's designer mean to stress the third word ("This year, give her English muffins!") and missed his aim? Is the "her" smirkily meant to refer to a mistress rather than a wife? Is there something else going on that I'm too dim-witted to get? I just can't imagine what he was thinking.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's supposed to be a "So good, you'll keep it for yourself" suggestion? With an implicit meaning of "Give yourself hose"? Straw grasping, I am.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 4:05:00 AM  
Blogger Woldry said...

Obviously they're trying to get you to buy hose for that special cross-dressing man in your life!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 5:00:00 AM  
Blogger pyramus said...

I think if we combine both your suggestions, we might have the right answer: the ad is saying, "Give the wifey some hose (wink, wink)", which is to say, "The saleswoman will think you're buying them for your wife, but you just go home and put them on and feel all pretty. But don't get caught."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 7:36:00 AM  
Blogger D.J. said...

Theory #1: It's contemporary slang, possibly allied to the "It" Girl phenomenon. Likelihood: 10%.

Theory #2: Men like to feel pretty, too! (Ref. Professors Anon & Woldry, personal communication, Dec. 2008). Likelihood: 5%.

Theory #3: Headline writer is an idiot who nevertheless had come into possession of incriminating photos of copyeditor. Likelihood: 85%.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger pyramus said...

I like the way you think.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:38:00 PM  

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