"War is hell," said General Sherman, and college girls of 1944 have taken up his cry. From Oregon to Florida, from Sweet Briar to Bryn Mawr, lonely young American females bewail a shift in the balance of power between college men and women. The men now hold the reins.
Even allowing for the V-12 and NROTC units here, the ratio of Radcliffe girls to Harvard men has assumed fearful proportions. Despite the glamor of omnipresent uniforms, an eligible civilian has unlimited opportunities to obtain dates.
The Date That Was
In the quiet days of yore, before this world-shaking conflagration wrought havoc with the status quo, a date with a college girl was an event--an event that often rent the soul and spirit of a man College girls used to cost money.
A date then entailed a fearsome food bill. Since there were plenty of men to go around, girls did not worry about their figures. Appetites were hearty--women heartless. The order of the day ran, "The way to a girl's heart is her stomach." The Copley, the Ritz, or, in a pinch, the Statler, was the only place to dine. And when a college girl went out, she went to dine.
Convertible Coupes and Corsages
Other items required included a car--preferably a convertible coupe--and a corsage. A ride in a taxi was acceptable, but not enthusiastically received. Dance committees did not then request, "No Corsages Please." Often even a date to see a play required a man to furnish flowers. Gardenias (two or more) were commonplace. An orchid was more or less expected at a formal dance.
At last the tide, not to say worm, has turned. Despite suffrage, Vassar, and the W.C.T.U., women are again the weaker sex. The adolescent freshman, once thought "cute," is now reckoned a full-fledged college man. Sophomores are considered men of the world, and juniors and seniors are looked upon with respect approaching that given to Boyer--or Bob Hope.
The Man's Show
Now a date is the man's show. The almost pathetic eagerness of the girl who gets a date is apt to have a dangerous effect on the tenderer side of a susceptible male, "and Pity," warn the sages, "is akin to Love." Nevertheless, a strong man can hold his own. Flowers are undeniably a luxury. One who busy a corsage may be taken seriously. Food is no problem, for the girl who wishes to held a man may well invite him to a "home-cooked" meal. Here too, of course, there may be danger.
Otherwise, a snack at Liggetts, or--in case of a particularly heavy date--supper at a Hayes-Bick, is gratefully accepted by any girl. Taxis are generally never mentioned, and the day of the convertible coupe is gone. Girls now condescend to walk to a movie or take the subway. A ride in a battered old back is an extravagance.
Strangely, only a few well-informed upperclassmen in men's universities realize the situation and capitalize upon it. Women have lost the initiative; mankind's star is again in the ascendant. After many years the sighing suitor has passed on. Now rules the strong, silent (Harvard) man.