I have come to you before with postcards which have puzzled me, and so far no one has cared enough to present me with any possible explanations. This time around, I thought I would offer a few ladies with mysterious ways, and hope their winsome smiles might tempt you to help me with my joke archaeology where the charm of my writing might not.
I’d like to demonstrate my own ingenuity by starting with some which I was able to figure out all by myself. I knew something was wrong with the young lady at the top of this column, for example. The card is too short: somebody, besides blotting out a word, has trimmed away a few centimeters of the bottom.
But someone on the Interwebs had a copy of the director’s version. The lady originally smiled so broadly to show how healthy a person could be who used a particular patent medicine for kidney disorders. The store which produced the postcard and the medicine went out of the kidney curing business, apparently, but had all these lovely pinups left over, and decided not to throw them away, selling them as slightly edited postcards.
This was merely a matter of looking at the picture and not just the caption. I thought it was merely a quaint bit of British lingo until I noticed the maid is leaning forward the way she is not because she is bowing to her boss, but to emphasize the sooty handprint on her, er, skirt.
This one didn’t take me nearly so long. The gag, of course, is a play on high quality diamonds being “of the first water”, but her position is a mite confusing: you really can’t pump water very well from there. Ah, but her pose is designed merely to emphasize “Oh, I am merely a frail (cute) helpless (cute) female (who is cute).”
But I haven’t come up with the punchline here yet. I’d guess the point was that the person addressed has a secret romantic spot known only to himself and that one special woman, and that he has played this game four times. But the ladies don’t seem surprised or dismayed to see each other. And is that same old place over the fence, or do they do their romancing on the ladder? Yes, it COULD be that the postcard publisher just wanted to give you four chorus girls for the price of one, but it must have meant SOMETHING at the time
People who got together for coffee was once called a coffee klatsch or klatche or clotsh. One of the four ladies at this gathering has fainted, and is being revived by her startled friends. Why? It could be part of a story told in a series of postcards, but in that case, the title should be longer and less generic. “The Coffee Klatche III: the Shock” would be used in that sort of case. Or are we suggesting that ladies who met for coffee ALWAYS did stuff like this.
I’m almost positive this has to be something out of a story series, because the situation is too mundane. This could have been used as a joke between friends, sort of a “Hey, remember me? If not, I’ve Got Good references”. But it would make more sense if, say, she is a wife applying for a job at her husband’s office, or a woman with a Plan: to rob the safe, catch the boss flirting, or carry off the unsuspecting young man studying that letter. Maybe somebody out there has the other cards in the series and can tell me how it came out.
And yes, I know what this card is saying. It says “Look at US”. But this isn’t just scantily-clad women: they’re not scantily=clad enough for that, and something is going on. Probably we have again come in in the middle of a story, but what IS the excuse for their attire? Are these two friends getting dressed for a costume party? Is the woman on the right rather unconvincingly dressed as a messenger boy to fool the woman on the left? If this is the first photographed example of cosplay, what characters are they portraying? And, most importantly, if there are further cards to this story, do the ladies put on or take off more of their costumes?
Kindly pass along any answers, actual or absurd. Inquiring minds want to know.