and not only the arguments, one suspects

by Henry Farrell on November 30, 2007

This Atlantic Monthly “piece”: from 1957 on sex and the college girl is quite entertaining, in the ways that you might expect it to be entertaining. My favorite paragraph:

Even more complicated to deal with is the intellectual-amoral type of man, who has affairs as a matter of course and doesn’t (or says he doesn’t) think less of a girl for sleeping with him. He is full of highly complicated arguments on the subject, which have to do with empiricism, epicureanism, live today, for tomorrow will bring the mushroom cloud, learning about life, and the dangers of self-repression, all of which are whipped out with frightening speed and conviction while he is undoing the third button on his girl’s blouse.

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Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » “Sex and the College Girl” Circa 1957
12.02.07 at 5:42 pm



Keith 11.30.07 at 8:09 pm

Sounds like the author of that piece was speaking from experience.


~~~~ 11.30.07 at 8:16 pm

Alain Badiou, L’aveu du philosophe:

Avant de venir à Paris, je suis en province, je suis un provincial monté à Paris tardivement. Et un des traits qui caractérisent ma jeunesse provinciale, c’est que les jeunes filles sont encore très majoritairement élevées dans la religion, du moins les sages jeunes filles éduquées, celle du lycée de jeunes filles, tout à fait séparé du lycée de garçons, les jeunes filles encore conservées ou réservées pour un destin intéressant. D’où une figure importante de la parade masculine : les différentes manières de briller devant ces jeunes filles encore à demi pieuses, dont la principale est de réfuter l’existence de Dieu.


Grand Moff Texan 11.30.07 at 8:25 pm

all of which are whipped out with frightening speed and conviction

Wham, bam, thankee, ma’am!

The encounter does not sound promising. Alcohol may have been a factor.


JP Stormcrow 11.30.07 at 9:04 pm

for tomorrow will bring the mushroom cloud

The truth about what spawned the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party revealed at last!


Anderson 11.30.07 at 9:08 pm

While “his girl” is thinking, yeah, yeah, whatever you have to tell yourself for me to get laid, Buster.


Donald A. Coffin 11.30.07 at 9:35 pm

“…live today, for tomorrow will bring the mushroom cloud…” I can’t help recalling that one great truth about nuclear holocaust, propounded by Tom Lehrer, yes, “We Will All Go Together When We Go:”

When you attend a funeral,
It is sad to think that sooner or’l
Later those you love will do the same for you.
And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do.
(But don’t you worry.)

No more ashes, no more sackcloth,
And an arm band made of black cloth
Will some day nevermore adorn a sleeve.
For if the bomb that drops on you
Gets your friends and neighbors too,
There’ll be nobody left behind to grieve.

And we will all go together when we go.
What a comforting fact that is to know.
Universal bereavement,
An inspiring achievement,
Yes, we will all go together when we go.

We will all go together when we go.
All suffused with an incandescent glow.
No one will have the endurance
To collect on his insurance,
Lloyd’s of London will be loaded when they go.

Oh we will all fry together when we fry.
We’ll be French fried potatoes by and by.
There will be no more misery
When the world is our rotisserie,
Yes, we will all fry together when we fry.

Down by the old maelstrom,
There’ll be a storm before the calm.

And we will all bake together when we bake.
There’ll be nobody present at the wake.
With complete participation
In that grand incineration,
Nearly three billion hunks of well-done steak.

Oh we will all char together when we char.
And let there be no moaning of the bar.
Just sing out a Te Deum
When you see that I.C.B.M.,*
And the party will be come-as-you-are.

Oh, we will all burn together when we burn.
There’ll be no need to stand and wait your turn.
When it’s time for the fallout
And Saint Peter calls us all out,
We’ll just drop our agendas and adjourn.

(Spoken) You will all go directly to your respective Valhallas.
Go directly, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollahs.

And we will all go together when we go.
Every Hottentot and every Eskimo.
When the air becomes uranious,
We will all go simultaneous.
Yes, we all will go together
When we all go together,
Yes we all will go together when we go.


Jacob Christensen 11.30.07 at 9:56 pm

Empiricism as a pick-up line? Things have gone downhill since the ’50s…


a very public sociologist 11.30.07 at 10:28 pm

I remember going out on a date with my wife when we were undergrads all them years ago. We went to one of our many local pubs, and it so happened that at a table across the way was another sociology student with a guy I knew she fancied. I can’t say I purposely eavesdropped, but I remember her using Lyotard and the postmodern incredulity toward metanarratives to lure him back to her boudoir!

Does nobody do this anymore? :(


Drake 11.30.07 at 11:56 pm

What I’m wondering is who our intellectual-amoral type of man is “[e]ven more complicated to deal with” than.

Plus, I’ve always wanted to end a sentence with two prepositions.


Nick L 12.01.07 at 12:15 am

‘Does nobody do this anymore? :(‘

A friend of mine was rather infamous for his ability to woo Erasmus (visitors from European universities) ladies. Apparently his technique involved liberal deployment of quotes from Nietzsche. So hey, continental philosophy seems to remain a good way to get action on campus.


Tom Hurka 12.01.07 at 12:46 am

How could you want to get action from a woman who wanted you because you quoted from Nietzsche?


Kieran Healy 12.01.07 at 1:03 am

live today,

Had we but world enough, and time


vivian 12.01.07 at 2:11 am

Well, I wound up marrying the man who, on our first date, was fascinated to discuss the paper I was writing on Catherine MacKinnon. Not that CMK would have much patience for Nietzsche or postmodernism though.

Where’s Bérubé this evening – to what obscure or pretentious literary figures do English majors appeal when wooing? And does spelling count?


Andrew 12.01.07 at 2:18 am

I don’t know about Tom Lehrer, but Ms Alyssa Lerner can teach modern chaps how to strike the deal. A bonus – looks like an amoral type also contributes (not sure I can vouch for the intellectual part)


JP Stormcrow 12.01.07 at 2:35 am

13.2 -> 4


Delicious Pundit 12.01.07 at 2:49 am

#5. See also the Dover Bitch:

….It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck.


Aulus Gellius 12.01.07 at 3:54 am

I have to say, I thought that article was actually a lot smarter and more interesting than I expected from your post. The paragraph you quote was definitely a low point, and there were plenty of dated bits to laugh at, but I liked it.

It’s also funny to see the author’s so-familiar attitude towards her parents’ generation: the twenties really were the sixties of the fifties.


ozma 12.01.07 at 5:33 am

That kind of thing always worked on me, I have to say.


Dan 12.01.07 at 11:11 am

You can’t fault the predictions:

Perhaps history will prove that we are a buffer generation, standing by silently while our children, brought up by demand-feeding and demand-everything, kick over the traces and do startling things, with none of our predilection for playing it safe.


jake 12.01.07 at 2:10 pm

The first comment nailed it.


Jeff 12.01.07 at 8:25 pm

I knew a fellow who used John Stuart Mill to similar effect.


SamChevre 12.03.07 at 2:18 pm

Those of you with good internet access need to read, if it’s still available, Uther Pendragon’s piece that starts, “Johanna Mill was 5’4″ and on the pill.” It’s on asstr, to which I don’t have access.

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