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Post-Martem Ex-Posture-Lations

February 22, 1946

Here’s an article which appeared in yesterday afternoon’s papers, claiming that, on the whole, the posture of women is much better than that of the men!

Dr. George B. MacAulliffe who is considered an expert in these matters, was interviewed by Ed Wallace for the New York Telegram. The occasion for the story was to check up on what the immediate effect of the early postwar months has been on the way women carry themselves. This was a matter of some concern because in the post-world-war-one era the mobile architecture of women’s bodies went into what was called the Flapper Slouch. The girls of the early twenties might have been called . . . to Chesterton-up a latter-day phrase . . . the “sad sags.” This war produced the Sad Sacks but the last war, the Sad Sags.

I remember the day when it was considered very debby for the girls to slink along slumping like a half-filled bag of potatoes. Areas of feminine anatomy began protruding, which for centuries had gone unnoticed. And much of the standard equipment flattened and disappeared. Of course, women have mysterious ways of com¬pletely disguising the nature-given upholstery. They do it with stays, exaggerators, diminishers or posture. And it is the posture phase of the matter which interests Dr. MacAulliffe. That’s the way it is with the MacAulliffes, I guess.

We had a chief engineer on our ship, name of MacAulliffe, and he, too, had some very interesting observations to make on . . . but I’m digressing . . . Dr. MacAulliffe says that the flaming youth of the period 1920 to 1926 was characterized by what was called a “J” shaped stomach. They walked as if they were sitting down. Things got to the point where in 1924, a Barnard Freshman, x-rayed along the spine was found to have vertebrae arranged like the keys on an E Flat Alto clarinet! Dr. MacAulliffe says, though, that the girls of today carry themselves well. And from a wealth of purely unofficial observation, I’m disposed to agree with him. Whether this has resulted from the lack of elastic girdles or from the great and noble institution of the sweater, I’m not prepared to say. All I can say, from strictly academic study is that the young girl today, given standard equipment, and accessories, manages to present a silhouette which “tells all,” so to speak. And who could ask for more than that?

Dr. MacAulliffe also had a word to say about the posture of men. It is not a good word and there I am unable to take issue. I don’t recall ever having noticed how men walk, sit down or get on a street car. Obviously, they must, or how would they get from place to place? And I doubt if Dr. MacAulliffe would ever have noticed either but for the fact that he’s seventy-five years old and that makes a difference, I understand.

The doctor says that most men suffer from Visceroptosis. The principle manifestation of this wrong way to live is a protruding mid-section and no chest! It leads to all manner of internal confusion and the good doctor is full of good counsel on how to overcome it. It has to do with lifting the chest and flattening the stomach and all sorts of things that sound like a lot of trouble. However, the principle point of the interview, as far as newsiness is concerned, is that the girls of today show no disposition to emulate the “J” shaped stomach of post-the-other-war.

And I liked this line particularly in the interview, Dr. MacAulliffe is quoted as saying . . .”I have been observing young women for 75 years and they have never been more alive and alert. During my daily walks, I see no indication that the Flapper Slouch or Debutante Slump are coming back.”

That’s what I keep telling Murdoch. When we’re out for a walk and my glance happens to wander from time to time . . . I’m only checking up on the current trends in posture. Purely scientific interest!

. . . Dr. MacAulliffe, that’s about as nice a way of spending 75 years as I ever heard of!