The Prohibition Era was the golden age of cocktail culture, and it was also a fascinating moment in women’s history. Women had just won the right to vote, they were eschewing corsets, bobbing their hair, and shortening hemlines. But these flappers were more than just party girls! They ushered in a whole new modern era for American women…all to the shock & disgrace of older generations.
In this very pro-flapper article published in The New Republic on September 9, 1925, Bruce Bilven introduces us to “Flapper Jane“:
…how wild is Jane?
Before we come to this exciting question, let us take a look at the young person as she strolls across the lawn of her parents’ suburban home, having just put the car away after driving sixty miles in two hours. She is, for one thing, a very pretty girl. Beauty is the fashion in 1925. She is frankly, heavily made up, not to imitate nature, but for an altogether artificial effect–pallor mortis, poisonously scarlet lips, richly ringed eyes–the latter looking not so much debauched (which is the intention) as diabetic. Her walk duplicates the swagger supposed by innocent America to go with the female half of a Paris Apache dance. And there are, finally, her clothes.
These were estimated the other day by some statistician to weigh two pounds. Probably a libel; I doubt they come within half a pound of such bulk. Jane isn’t wearing much, this summer. If you’d like to know exactly, it is: one dress, one step-in, two stockings, two shoes.
A step-in, if you are 99 and 44/1OOths percent ignorant, is underwear–one piece, light, exceedingly brief but roomy. Her dress…is also brief. It is cut low where it might be high, and vice versa. The skirt comes just an inch below her knees, overlapping by a faint fraction her rolled and twisted stockings. The idea is that when she walks in a bit of a breeze, you shall now and then observe the knee (which is not rouged–that’s just newspaper talk) but always in an accidental, Venus-surprised-at-the-bath sort of way.
This is a bit of coyness which hardly fits in with Jane’s general character. Jane’s haircut is also abbreviated. She wears of course the very newest thing in bobs, even closer than last year’s shingle. It leaves her just about no hair at all in the back, and 20 percent more than that in the front… Because of this new style, one can confirm a rumor heard last year: Jane has ears.
Flapper Jane created quite a stir with her clothes, but her ideas were what really threw the older generation for a loop. Says Jane,
“Somebody wrote in a magazine how the War had upset the balance of the sexes in Europe and the girls over there were wearing the new styles as part of the competition for husbands. Sounds like the bunk to me. If you wanted to nail a man for life I think you’d do better to go in for the old-fashioned line: ‘March’ me to the altar, esteemed sir, before you learn whether I have limbs or not.’
“Of course, not so many girls are looking for a life mealticket nowadays. Lots of them prefer to earn their own living and omit the home-and-baby act. Well, anyhow, postpone it years and years. They think a bachelor girl can and should do everything a bachelor man does.”
What is that they say about history repeating itself?
The ladies of LUPEC Boston have invented the following cocktail, honor of Bruce Belvin’s ubiquitous Flapper Jane:
The Flapper Jane
1.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz Wu Wei infused Simple Syrup
dash of Peychaud Bitters
Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a cocktail glass, and toast your own fabulousness!
We’ll be serving these in tea cups at the LUPEC Boston Tea Party this Sunday! Come raise a Flapper Jane in honor of Jane Doe Inc.!