IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS when ocean liners still roamed the seas, the men I knew often got into arguments about whether air hostesses were better (i.e. sexier) than ship’s purserettes. The terms are politically incorrect now, I know, but things were different then.
On the newspaper where I worked we had a competition to settle the issue. We reporters held a poetry contest, the prize being a six-pack of beer and a date with the editor’s secretary.
I won, but I only got the beer because I was married. My wife worked on the same paper so she would have known if I’d dated the secretary in any case. So I split my six-pack with the runner up, a friend of mine, and we drank it right there in the newsroom after the daily deadline had passed. As I said, things were different then.
By now, I know, you’re dying to see my poem, so here it is. It’s never been published before and you will probably be able to guess why:
An air hostess is a Freudian mess
All rigid and frigid and class
She’s straight up and down
Wears her face in a frown
And lacks, in her slacks, any ass
But a ship’s purserette is a cute little pet
All happy and snappy and comely
Her bows stick out front
Like twin prows on a punt
And her stern shows a turn quite bomely
(No clapping please, by request of the author.)
The urge to write poetry is like having an itch. When the itch becomes annoying enough, you scratch it.
— Robert Penn Warren, NY Times, 16 Dec 69
“I think you’ve had quite enough to drink.”
“How do you know?”
“You’re all blurred around the edges already.”
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)