Dry hair: our proposal to save traditional marriage

bathing

This is what we must stop. And soon.

Something is endangering the very foundation of marriage. And we at Dodgy Perth are taking a stand. We would like, no we insist on, a plebiscite to defend the very core of traditional holy matrimony.

What can this awful thing be, you ask? Is it mixed-race marriages? Is it a Roman Catholic marrying an Anglican? Or is it The Gays demanding the right to be as miserable as their heterosexual counterparts? Nope. None of those. It is much, much worse. We refer, of course, to the horror of mixed bathing.

As Western Australia left behind the values of the 19th century, the question of whether men and women should be allowed to enter the same stretch of water at the same time became the most pressing issue of the hour.

Take Kalgoorlie, for example. In 1912 the council had to decide whether to allow ‘family bathing’ in the local pool. The experiment had been tried at Claremont, they were told, but it required the local police and three private security guards to be on patrol at all times, otherwise who knows what might happen? Kalgoorlie wisely decided to delay any decisions on the matter

And they were right to do so. As the newspapers explained the following year, bathing suits have a bad effect on the male libido and marriage rates plummet as a consequence.

In times gone by, men were entranced by the sight of girls daintily and modestly attired, and affection sprang from a kind of worship of something which charmed. Are bare necks, bare arms and bare legs, with ugly skull caps, a bewitching spectacle? What effect has the ungraceful ‘flopping’ of the feminine figure on the male emotions? The desire to harpoon it rather than embrace it is probably one result.

The debate raged on for years, but by 1920 science had definitively settled the question. Marriage rates were dropping because the mere sight of the bathing female kills all possibility of reproduction: “The spectacle of a girl in a dripping bathing costume, with wet hair hanging over her eyes, and looking like a bedraggled Skye terrier, has been responsible for many a man taking an oath of celibacy”.

So there you have it. This is the line which must be drawn. Marriage must be protected from change. And mixed bathing is change. Demand the plebiscite now.

 

Getting it on at Maccas

maccas

Buy Em By The Bag. We dare you.

As you probably know, the good citizens of Guildford are rejoicing over having fought off plans for a 24-hour Maccas to be built at the back of the Guildford Hotel. Even the local MLA, Michelle Roberts, is against any new fast food outlets in the town.

One of the reasons given for opposing the chain was that it was too close to a primary school. In other words, “Won’t somebody think of the children?” But this is far from a novel complaint about hamburger bars.

Although the media had regularly written accounts of how exciting Americans found them, the first burger bars seem to have arrived in WA only during World War II. And, just like the proposed Maccas, these were all-night joints. Which some sections of society found problematic.

In 1943, the head of the Salvation Army demanded that Perth should ensure all burger bars were closed at midnight, or society would be destroyed. How? you might ask. Well, they are “places of temptation”. And not just a temptation to supersize your order, oh no, temptation between the sexes.

You see, burger bars had become pick-up joints. (For young people: a pick-up joint is like Tinder, but without the need to register your email address.) “Perth has held such a fine place in moral standards that it ought to be the vital concern of every citizen to keep it in that position,” thundered the Salvation Army’s commissioner.

And he was not alone. The Women’s Service Guild wanted early closing on hamburgers, as did the Children’s Court magistrate and the Child Welfare Secretary.

Won’t somebody think of the children?

We suspect that the problem with burger bars was they were simply too American for the taste of Perth’s leading citizens. What was more likely to corrupt young minds than being exposed to Yankee food?

Anyway, Guildford has managed to protect young people (at least for the moment) from both the pleasures of a thick shake and the pleasures of the flesh. So we salute them.

The case of the missing hubby

king_will_dp

If these walls could speak, they would say bad things about James McLeish

When you lose a building you lose an opportunity to tell the stories about the people who lived there. Sure, the stories still exist but they are so much more real when connected to a place.

The above building, 11 King William Street in Bayswater, probably doesn’t have long for this world. Bits of the façade might be saved, but that will be all. Currently occupied by a number of businesses, the best of these is a small coffee shop run by two brothers who are evidently trying to out-do each other in the who-looks-most-hipster game. But they are only the most recent part of the story.

The left hand side of the building was built, probably in 1905, as a general store for Robert and Mary McLeish. The right hand side of the store and the façade are probably 1920s, when Bayswater’s main shopping district expanded with all the new people moving to the area.

The couple had come over from Adelaide in 1902 to set up business in Bayswater. They were evidently a good match, since they eventually celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

This story isn’t about them, but son James. He married a Melbourne lass, Ethel, in 1920 and came to WA three years later. Dad, Robert, helped set James up in business, and eventually (four kids later), the younger pair took over the running of the King William Street store.

But in February 1940, James declared he needed to go on holiday to the South West for a weekend. However, as Ethel explained four years later:

First he said for a weekend, then a week, and finally changed his mind and said he’d take a month. I’ve neither heard from him nor seen him since.

She took over the running of the shop and quickly realised he’d never meant to return, having taken all the cash with him, leaving her only with unpaid bills.

Fortunately, Robert McLeish stepped in and settled the debts, and let Ethel and one of his daughters run the store.

You won’t be surprised to discover she got her divorce when she asked the courts for it.

When journos go bad

weight

Three homely ladies

Here in the Dodgy Perth offices we do not believe the fashionable theory all journalists are lazy bottom-feeding scum. Statistically speaking, at least one of them has to be an acceptable human being.

Sometimes, however, they don’t do themselves any favours. We’ve all seen the ACA piece, or read something in The West, and asked ourselves “How is that news? Did you have five minutes to go and realise you’d spent the day in the pub and so just knocked out some sensational rubbish through your beer goggles?”

Well yes. They did. And so did a journo from The Mirror in 1935. They managed to fill many, many column inches sneering at overweight women, and throwing in some casual racism on the side.

And what had provoked this? Just a contact ad in the West Australian:

Miner (47), would like to meet homely lady, prefer fat woman, child not objected, view to above [matrimony]. Genuine.

After noting “fat women have had a sorry time through the ages”, our drunk hack observes that while the Turkish are an exception, the “average civilised man” doesn’t like plump chicks.

The newspapers are full of adverts for diets and slimming pills, and there is good reason for this.

Could you ask a fat girl to sit on your knee? Could you rely on her to have the agility to hop off it in time if someone came along?

Could you hold her in your arms in the back seat of someone’s car without feeling that you had the weight of the world on your shoulders or a ton of spuds on your chest?

People glare at her resentfully in crowded trams because she takes up a whole seat while others stand.

Bathers leave the water for fear of a tidal wave as she cavorts down the beach like a dyspeptic balloon and rumbles into the sea with the concentrated grace of a generation of elephants. Surfers crash into her broad back and, before they get the water out of their eyes, object to the P. and O. Company leaving a liner in a swimming area.

Just a tiny hint of fat-shaming, we’d say.

Anyway, now onto his twelfth gin, our lazy scribbler signs off with a pun: “A miner might like ‘a good crushing,’ but the average smart young man doesn’t.”

Hilarious.

Rotto and Rocky: Dens of sleaze

90x150mm

Here at Dodgy Perth we have a simple rule to see whether it is acceptable to date someone. Divide your age by two and add seven. If the other person is younger than that, it’s a no go.

This means as soon as you hit 40, you are forbidden from dating anyone under 27. It’s that simple.

The rule was probably not much different in 1931 when a set of 40-something cads were exposed as seducers of teenage girls. They took advantage of owning yachts to invite the young ladies on three day cruises or camping trips.

The youngsters would lie to their parents and claim they were off to Rotto and Rockingham, or another “pleasure haunt”, with their girlfriends. Mum and dad could never believe their innocent daughter would be up to mischief, so saw no cause for alarm.

Immediately after leaving the house the young flapper would catch up with another couple of girlfriends and the three of them would board a large yacht with three middle-aged men as their companions for the weekend.

Many such yachts would be seen moored off Rotto on a long weekend, and with no accommodation on the island, the parties would take place entirely onboard, with much heavy drinking and the inevitable payoff for the elderly vampires.

“Mother thinks we girls are all camping at Rockingham,” giggled one foolish young flapper to a journalist.

Occasionally some of the old Romeos would run into one of the girl’s relatives and this would lead to black eyes and an embarrassed miss being ordered home.

The media blamed the parents, of course, and called for police intervention. As for the men, a sound thrashing was too good for them.

Welcome to holidaying. 1930s style.

The course of true love

Winnie Beattie

Winnie Beattie

“Wilt thou take this man to be thy lawful wedded husband, to love, honour and cherish in sickness or in health, for richer or poorer, for better or for worse till death do you part?”

“I will,” said Winnie Beattie to the minister one Saturday afternoon in June 1931. Trouble was, her mum was not of the same mind. And this was just one event in the strangest romance Perth has ever seen.

Four years earlier young Jack Garrigan (then seventeen) fell in love with pretty, vivacious Winnie, then just fourteen. They spent all their spare time together, and during the day the stayed close since both were employed at Boan’s Department Store.

But when the Depression came, Jack lost his job. Winnie’s parents vowed they would not consent to any marriage while the lad was out of work.

However the couple were still wonderfully in love. Winnie gave Jack a photograph of herself inscribed, ‘To the most adorable boy in the world.’

Jack Garrigan

Jack Garrigan

One day they were walking by St George’s Cathedral when they saw the notices of forthcoming marriage. In a rush of pure love they agreed to marry and only tell their parents afterwards.

But whispers soon spread, and friends became excited. Wedding presents were purchased and what was going to be a quiet at the registrar’s office became a full ceremony in the cathedral with organ accompaniment.

On the night before the wedding, Winnie broke the news to her mother. There were, of course, tears and recriminations. Jack’s parents, though, still knew nothing.

On the Saturday the bride went off to dress at a friend’s house. One hour before the ceremony Jack went home—to break the news to mum and dad. Although in shock, Mr and Mrs Garrigran hid their feelings, and went to St George’s Cathedral to attend a wedding of which they were totally ignorant an hour before.

The little crowd of guests were not kept waiting. At 4 o’clock the young bridegroom took his seat in the front, attended by his close male friends. Unnoticed, a lady in a fawn coat stepped quietly inside, choosing a seat in the centre of the church.

As the organ started, the bride walked up the aisle on the arm of a friend, with two bridesmaids in attendance. The dignified figure of Dean Moore stood in front of the altar and the little party grouped round him.

The Dean read the words of the marriage service, until he came to the famous phrase. “If anyone knows just cause or impediment …”

Then out of the still Cathedral came a slow, distinct voice: “I object!”

The Dean looked down the aisle and the lady in the fawn coat approached the altar. “I am her mother,” she said, “and she is not 21!”

The guests whispered in little groups while the bride wept in the vestry. The minister spoke with the parents, but to no avail. The ceremony could not proceed.

The boy and girl drove away together, the guests drifted off, and soon the cathedral was empty. For the first time in the history of St. George’s Cathedral a parent had spoken and forbidden the marriage.

But love will find a way! The couple still had a license to marry in their possession, and within a couple of hours, a Methodist clergyman was uniting them in the sitting room of a home just off Beaufort Street.

That night a car slipped quietly away to the Kalamunda Hotel. None of the guests knew that the shy couple at breakfast on Sunday were the principals in a sensational events of the night before.

But shortly before lunch a car drew up at the hotel and with determined step a man and a woman entered. Mother and father stood before the bride and her husband. Within minutes, Jack was left alone in the bridal chamber. His wife was gone with her parents back to Perth, his honeymoon lasting just twelve hours.

The bride’s mother sought to have the marriage annulled on the grounds that both had married without their parents’ consent. The court ordered the bride be returned to her parents’ control until she reached the age of 21.

Within a week Winnie had gone to Melbourne, supposedly for a long holiday, but she paid for Jack to join her. And they both slipped back to Perth and took up new jobs.

In 1932, a notice appeared in the newspapers: ‘On June 22, at Malvern Private Hospital, 222 Eighth Avenue, Inglewood, to Mr and Mrs Garrigan, 29 Museum Street—a daughter (June Dawn). Both well. Visitors after 27th.’

Sometimes great stories do have happy endings.

How to keep your man

lose man

Wants to know why dinner isn’t ready yet

As part of our ongoing quest to explain to Mrs Dodgy Perth how she can become a better wife, we have started leaving clippings from old newspapers around the house.

Newspapers in the past regularly contained advice to wives, to new brides, and to women in general. Unlike a modern Cosmo article (1000 Ways to Drive Him Wild Tonight), the historic hints and tips were a little more focused on the domestic.

So, let’s find out how to keep your man, courtesy of 1933.

Firstly, learn from the sad tale of a young man who broke off the engagement because she kept asking “Do you love me? Are you sure?”

Girls, don’t do this!

It is wrong to quiz a man, or to find out why he loves you. Men, you see, are secretive by nature. The best you’ll get is “I love you because of the colour of your eyes”, or “The twist of your smile.” That’s the kind of cryptic answer you’ll get. Just live with it and stop asking.

Speaking of interrogation, another way to lose a man’s love is to ask him anything at all. There is nothing a husband hates so much as either of these fatal questions: “Why are you home late?” and “What have you been doing all day?”

No man should ever be required to give an account of his activity. In any case, even if he answers honestly, chances are the suspicious wife won’t believe him anyway.

Also, ladies, never mention any of your past love affairs. Men are simple creatures, and once they have decided on a life partner they never want to hear anything about how she once had a choice of lovers.

Girls, he will never bore you with his emotional past, so do not, under any circumstances, mention yours.

Speaking of things that annoy men, you know that thing you do when you tidy up? Of course it is only right that the little woman should keep the house in order, but do not touch a man’s things.

If we leave our slippers by the coal scuttle, that is where we expect to find them. If we leave our pipe on the mantelpiece, for heaven’s sake do not return it to the pipe rack.

Just leave all of the male things alone!

Finally, don’t ever mention another woman in a positive light. If you say “So and so cooks better than me” or “I wish I had her figure” your husband will agree and run off with the better woman.

So, don’t ask if you’re loved. In fact, don’t ask any questions at all. Do not speak of emotions or the past. Do not move a man’s possessions. Do not like other woman.

Obey these few simple rules and we’ll get along just fine.