Round and Round

     I have nearly as many postcards featuring Round People as I have about fishing, but I took the Thanksgiving weekend off from telling you about them, feeling that none of us would feel like chatting about such things when we were stuffed with stuffing.  (Those of you who had tofu and greens probably found other things to do while we were napping.  That’s okay.)

     It must be admitted that not ALL postcards are as accepting of Round People.  During the first Golden Age of postcards, before the First World War, it was a very unpleasant insult to tell someone they were too thin, but that began to slip away during the era of the hobble skirt, while the 1920s, which besides bobbed hair and rolled stockings also featured cosmetic mastectomies and the Boyishform Bra, put an end to it for the next century. 

     We mentioned earlier that certain people frequently turn up rather round in postcard cartoons: janitors, cleaning ladies, wives.  (Mothers-in-law came in two basic types, the large round battle-axe and the prim, scrawny battle-axe.)  But there are other types of people we were intended to laugh at instead of with.

     Carrying over from the nineteenth century was the perception that rich people, who could afford lots of food, were invariably fat

     It is true that this would change to rich people who could afford to pick and choose their food or could hire a personal trainer or could afford to check into health spas to lose weight.  But Round People were funnier, especially, as noted last week, when in swimming attire.

     The Old Maid was in the same category as the Mother-in-law: about half of this were spindly and tall.  But the Round Woman was a great source of fun, especially if shown embracing a hapless male who was overwhelmed by the amount of passion thrown at him.

     Some artists did rebel against this, led by Walter Wellman, who was wholeheartedly in support of the Thirties nod to larger women.  But that’s a whole nother blog.  A cartoonist in need of a quick cartoon could be sure of a sale with a Round Woman and an Outmatched Boyfriend.

     And, as always, the Old Maid was a lot funnier when she dressed up for the beach.

     Another character lumped in with the Old Maid and the Mother-in-law was the Aging Person.  As we get older, apparently, we must lose all desirability and become either tall and thin or short and round.  One or two cartoonists noted this phenomenon in their Round People cartoons.

     One or two could not avoid alluding to the fact that even Aging Round People might have…well, perhaps in that nother blog one day.

     Yes, by the way, Round Aging People are not all female.  (No, look PAST the ladies on the shore.  Yes, Round People do tend to flock together.)

     This artist, on one of the newest postcards in this blog, puts it all pretty succinctly about Aging People and Round People.  AND, of course, he puts ‘em in swimwear.

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