*A Notable Woman*

by on September 22, 2016 at 3:09 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

The descriptive subtitle is The romantic journals of Jean Lucey Pratt.  She was a British woman who started keeping a journal in 1925 at the age of fifteen, and continued until her death in 1986.  Usually books like this bore me after fifty pages (or less), but this one I am finding consistently entertaining.  Here is one bit from her cruise ship voyage at age 23:

My physical needs as a normal woman are badly wanting fulfillment.  I’ve got to somehow make them understand that I have no anchor; that an ordinary and full-sexed woman must centre her interests on one man, otherwise she must inevitably go to pieces.

I’ve learnt a lot from this voyage, and one thing from Nev which is forceful and important — that platonic friendships are impossible.  To show my trust in my little boyfriends I left my door unbolted; although they had drunk too much, I knew I could trust them.  But I’ve bolted it again.

She lost her virginity eight years later, at age 31:

When he had played with me in the French manner (too long I think) to work me up to the Crisis, the Big Moment Passionate and so on, I left him to make my preparations and then lay back on the bed and said in a sepulchral voice, “Now I’m ready for the worst!”  Well, it was damned painful, though I didn’t know it was going to be.

I have quite recovered from my pain in the stomach and am in a rare good humour, have been all day.  It is such a relief to feel one is no longer completely ignorant.

Here is one good review of the book, with a photo of the diarist as well.  Here is another review.

1 Ray Lopez September 22, 2016 at 3:23 am

Losing one’s virginity at a late age is not uncommon in the Puritan and frigid USA. “Happy Hour” my azz. A chance to get drunk, nothing more. Come to the Philippines and just see how easy it is to get laid. And they say the PH is a conservative Catholic country, well, thank God for Catholicism say I!

2 Thor September 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Various translations of this post into the vernacular suggest themselves.

Here’s one: “Catholic Filipino girls half your age. Guess what? They are half your age! AND they are Catholic! Woo woo!”

3 dearieme September 22, 2016 at 3:25 am

Logan Pearsall Smith: “People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”

Or in her case writing, poor sod.

4 prior_test2 September 22, 2016 at 4:17 am

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

5 Jon Snow September 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

I think I’ve only ever read one book that I remember. ..

6 Melmoth September 22, 2016 at 7:31 am

Pretty sure Martin got that from somewhere else, but I note all the google results point to him.

7 dearieme September 22, 2016 at 10:37 am

People say that google is the thing, but I prefer scholarship.

8 prior_test2 September 22, 2016 at 4:15 am

This may fit into the category of providing a disturbing potential insight into an econ professor’s personal life, especially the part of finding any of what is highlighted entertaining.

But fair is fair, so noting that the above cited pasages show how the past is a foreign country, particularly when the writer is from a foreign country, here is a quick description of a couple of hours from yesterday afternoon. I spent an hour swimming 2 kilometers in a 50 meter outdoor pool (with bathing suit), and also suntanning and using the mixed sauna (without bathing suit), saying hello to a woman I’ve spent hours chatting with over the last year on the sun deck, and in the 60° C and 90° C saunas. Nobody bolted any doors, nobody was drunk, and it is more than doubtful that either us think platonic friendships are impossible. But then, it is likely that many commenters here think it is impossible for men and women to routinely get naked together without it turning into some sort of pornographic fantasy. Though far fewer commenters, particularly those familiar with such a setting, are likely to consider it a status game, to frame it in the way that Prof. Cowen seemingly favors when viewing other people’s behavior.

9 SomeTimesBetterToUseAnotherUsername September 22, 2016 at 10:37 am

1. You are stunningly low.
2. You are either impotent or really ugly.

10 Moby September 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Rattling on about TC and GMU must bore her to tears. No wonder she doesn’t want to have sex with you.

11 ((( parenthesis ))) September 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm

Well, assuming it’s in Germany, we can be sure stuff like that will cease to happen soon.

12 Thor September 22, 2016 at 1:22 pm

As I approach middle age, it is a source of comfort to me that I have platonic relationships with many of the mothers of my children’s friends and classmates.

Who other than the youthful and naive believe platonic relationships to be impossible or undesirable?

13 j r September 22, 2016 at 5:19 am

“Here is one good review of the book, with a photo of the diarist as well.”

She must have been something before electricity.

14 Melmoth September 22, 2016 at 7:37 am

Yes, there’s something about early 20thC women in photographs. Whenever I read a biography of someone from that period there seems to be a line like “And so he married the great society beauty and socialite…”, then I turn to the photographs in the middle of the book and see a groom standing next to a horse in a dress.

15 Thor September 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I assume the key word is “socialite”: she was desirable for her station (read: money) not for her beauty.

16 Jamie_NYC September 22, 2016 at 8:19 am

Let me guess: she never had children.

17 Todd K September 22, 2016 at 9:34 am

This reminded me my of my Mennonite grandmother who was born in 1909 and was healthy and sharp until she died last year and also kept a journal from age 15. Yet she also kept a journal of all of the books she read from when she studied philosophy in graduate school until a few days before she died, entering a book on cosmology. But there were three years she just wrote “Many magazine articles” – the years her three children were born.

18 GoneWithTheWind September 22, 2016 at 11:23 am


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