Jacques Fath, 1954. Photo by Philippe Pottier

© Christopher Raine


The Good Old Days


Sipping from her bone tea cup
Her position so neatly pressed
Everything proper and in its place
She was so professionally repressed

A woman your age should be proper
She said, conservative and restrained
Speak when you are spoken to
Above all, you must not complain

Always worry what the neighbours think
It's so awful when you are too real
Your reputation will get stained and bent
You must be mindful of what you feel

Remember to know your status
And don't you ever dare offend
The best things in life are traditions
Upon them, you must depend

Be sure to shame that Loretta

When she comes down your street
They say her house is poor and dirty
And she lets her children all run free

I've heard she is 'loose' and on the prowl
She's a divorced woman on the make
That sinful girl left her abusive man
What a dreadful, scandalous mistake

She doesn't belong in this neighbourhood
We're all so shocked and unaccustomed
And I've heard all those woman's libbers
Are just out to fuck your husband

So look out of your narrow windows
Be sure to condescend a little today
You must be careful how to phrase it
Always imply but, never say

That's the proper way to be a lady
Be refined and be rehearsed
Always wear your finest clothes
And be ready to do your worst