Saturday, 25 February 2017

Home & Companion and Family Journal: March 21st, 1953

Home & Companion Magazine March 21st, 1953. In Vintage Magazines
Home & Companion and Family Journal March 1953.

Given the choice, I would always pick books over magazines but just now and again a vintage periodical catches my attention. I could hardly fail to notice this one considering the size and colour of the headline. My first thought was I wonder who Gilbert Harding is quickly followed by, and I wonder what he has to say about Woman. The answer is nothing very good.   

He begins by saying: 
Gilbert Harding
Gilbert Harding

The first thing that no man likes about a woman is what no man likes about another man – a tendency to be bossy, to have a fatal inclination to be always in the right, and a constitutional inability to apologise. On the other hand, one might say at the other end of the scale, is the goo-goo clinging type who always wants someone else to make up her mind for her; that is, if she has a mind to be made up.

Those are two extremes, and if there weren’t plenty of admirable women in the middle we should have ceased to exist long ago. But even among those who are neither too bossy nor too helpless there are faults and failings, which make their society unrewarding and their appearance unsatisfactory. Why do so many women disfigure their hands by painting their nails bright red as though they were assistants in a post-mortem room? It has always been a mystery to me why women with beautiful hands are not just content with clean nails. When the paint begins to wear off and the nails are dirty! I need say no more. 

Please don’t!  

I have never understood why it is necessary for women to paint their lips. The lipstick they apply makes the cigarette ends, which they persist in smoking, repulsive and daubs the rims of the cups out of which they drink, and the glasses, too. These nasty cosmetic habits are bad enough, but when done in public they become outrageous.


Home & Companion Magazine March 21st, 1953. In Vintage Magazines

Tiring of the subject of appearance, he turns to education:

I regret and resent the presence of women in men’s Universities, particularly those of Cambridge and of Oxford. Now what made women ever want to go to either of them? The only explanation is that they know they are in the majority, and that some of them must remain “on the shelf.” Therefore, the cry is: “Catch your man young, before his defences are up.” In fact, they go to the Universities, not primarily in search of learning, but to get husbands from among the young male undergraduates. Why should they screech, and hiss round the calm courts and quads of Cambridge and Oxford making themselves look ridiculous in academic dress, which was designed by men for men. I don’t think women have any idea how silly they look in mortar boards

Home & Companion Magazine March 21st, 1953. In Vintage Magazines


Having had so much to say he ends the article by lamenting his lack of a wife! 

Although it is now too late to change it, I have never been really happy about being a bachelor. But I do think that if, when I was younger, I had had the good fortune to meet an unpainted lady with clean hands who did not talk with a cigarette in her mouth (and who did not want to be a judge or a governor-general, a bishop or a doctor), things might have been different. Let it be clearly understood that no one with a mother like mine could ever be a woman hater, and after all, I am only saying what I don’t like about women. The things that I do like would call for a whole issue of the magazine itself.

Those women (and there are so many of them) who can cook, can listen, can understand and do things without being asked – and very often without being thanked – are, after all, still in the majority. So if you have been made angry by what has gone before, put yourself in this latter bracket and we can all purr together like old cats. 

According to Wikipedia Harding was notorious for his irascibility and was at one time characterised in the tabloid press as the rudest man in Britain. His fame sprang from an inability to suffer fools gladly, and many 1950s TV viewers watched What’s My Line? less for the quiz elements than for the chance of a live Harding outburst. An incident on an early broadcast started this trend when Harding became annoyed with a rather self-satisfied contestant. He broke the genteel civility of 1950s BBC Television by telling the contestant that he was getting bored with him. The tabloids lapped this up, and the show became compulsive viewing.

I’m sure you will have an opinion on Mr. Harding’s views so please go ahead and tell me what you think.  


If you are interested in vintage magazines you might like these previous posts; 
Lilliput Magazines


Lucy from Loose and Leafy left a comment with a link to a fascinating article, in case you miss it this is the link Gilbert Harding and another interesting link shared by Willie TV star famed for rudeness dies

54 comments:

  1. And he wonders why he's not married...
    I've always wondered about the nail colors and lipstick. My wife wears neither and thinks they are silly as well.
    As for the rest, again, he wonders why he's single.

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    1. Hi Alex,

      Attitudes have certainly changed since this was written, but I remember my dad having many of the same views back in the 50s. But, as you say it’s no wonder he’s single!

      I like to wear nail polish on my toes in the summer and a little carefully applied lipstick from time to time. The one thing I don’t do is paint my finger nails. I always think it looks pretty on other people, but not on me.

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  2. What a hog, a chauvinist hog. My blood pressure rose just reading it! Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. Well said Valerie! A chauvinist hog indeed, sadly there are still a few of them around. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Barbara

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  3. Oh my goodness! I am glad you bought the journal- it is sadly what many men still think. Imagine being the paragon he describes at the end. How boring and dispiriting it would be. Thank God he never married! He saved a woman much misery. One hopes he was really just being sarcastically funny? Unfortunately there are still men like him on the planet, so I don't think so... Wonderful post, Barbara! I always enjoy your blog!

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    1. Thank you for always saying such nice things about my blog Colleen, I really appreciate it and the feeling is mutual.

      It’s possible he thought he was being funny, but I would have to disagree with him! It could be that he enjoyed controversy, but I get the feeling he meant every single word. Can you imagine being married to him? Oh dear, it would not do for me!
      Hugs, Barbara

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    2. I love the comments you are receiving on this week's blog. The magazine was a bargain!!!
      I like to paint my toenails in summer as well. I look terrible in lipstick and there is no point in nail polish because I am always puttering around in the garden!

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    3. I’m enjoying the comments too Colleen and very grateful to everyone who takes the time to join in.
      I wear lipstick occasionally but only if I’m going out, never at home.
      I need to get out in the garden now that the soil is warming up. The weeds will be as tall as me if I don’t tackle them soon.

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  4. Oh Barbara, I think vintage magazines are a wealth of insight into culture and where it once was and how it's changed! His views are sad projections of the male culture of his time, and my dear old dad held these types of views. HE was the only one in the house that could say anything, and my mother complied, however, when I was of age, my ideas frightened my father, especially my idea that we women in the house had a right to speak! But I learned right away that he was a product of this time, and this gentleman was obviously from a dominant male society that had very firm views! But thank goodness for documentation in writing in whatever form: magazines, novels, newspapers. We must continue the art of writing to better understand from where we came!

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    1. My father was much the same Anita. He believed a woman’s place was in the home, and it was a man’s duty was to provide. It must have been very difficult for him when his two daughters started wearing mini skirts and ‘plastering’ (his word) their faces with makeup. I adored him though and forgave him everything, and I know he cared deeply for his family.

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  5. Something to do with the cruelty of the times - that some homosexual men felt they had to insist there's something wrong with women rather than admit publicly that they were drawn to men instead.

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    1. Hello Lucy, good heavens do you really think so? I hadn’t even considered that possibility I just thought he was bigoted like a lot of men of his generation were.

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    2. Definitely. Try this article. https://www.transdiffusion.org/2005/01/01/gilbert

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    3. I didn’t know any of that Lucy, I will add the link to the post, thank you.

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  6. The nail polish and lipstick comments don't bother me--rudely expressed--but to each his own. However his thoughts on education are ridiculous! It also irks me that he praised women who do things without being asked or thanked. Shouldn't it go both ways? And what's wrong with being polite? Sounds like his dear old mom doted on him a bit too much for his own good. Although I'm assuming his personality was extreme partly because it made for interesting drama. There are several of today's radio talk show hosts cut from the same cloth. :)

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    1. My dad had exactly the same thoughts about education. His argument was women stay at home to look after the babies, and men go to work. My sister and I must have been quite a disappointment to him as we both insisted on working other than when our children were very small.

      Having read a little more about Gilbert Harding I’m beginning to have some sympathy for him, or at least some understanding. His television ‘personality’ was rather thrust on him, and once he started to act in that way it must have been difficult to extricate himself. I’m sure he was paid well both for his television appearances and his inflammatory articles, so I’m not all that sympathetic. :-)

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  7. Most definitely a chauvinist! And indeed, and sadly, there are still a few out there today, but thankfully I think less now than back then. :)

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    1. I’m sure they are a dying bread Linda, or at least, I hope so! :)

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  8. Oh dear. I can think of a few choice words for this man, but l'd better keep them to myself. xx

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    1. I’m rather of the least said soonest mended opinion too Yvonne. xx

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  9. Oooo! What a bigoted man! Don't like him nor his comments about women. What would he have thought of a woman that snores in her sleep? In hindsight I can truly say that it is glorious sound. As for educated women where would we be without them. Seems to me Mr. H. was somewhat uneducated himself.

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    1. Well said that man!
      Terry would probably beg to differ re women who snore in their sleep. I have been known to do it myself, and he doesn’t find it in any way therapeutic. :-)

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  10. I am not a fan of his- based on this post. I think he would find me too bossy anyway. Plus, I paint my lips from time to time. He seems awfully opinionated to me. Glad there are less people today who think like he did. :)

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    1. I think he would find all of us too bossy Stephanie. The poor man would be utterly shocked if he came back now. :)

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  11. Dare l say it...I~AM~LOST~FOR~WORDS...!
    But...This is gonna be fun...
    I struggled through the views of Gilbert
    Harding, who l remember very well on the
    radio and TV..! We used to watch him on
    What's My Line...Very quite man, though
    not with a pen it seems! :).

    Now! For my opinion..."Willie, your gonna
    loose a lot of friends here".
    I'll pick my words carefully...I'm afraid,
    l agree with most of what he has said, not
    in a nasty way, as that's how he's written it.
    HaHa! First thing came to mind, my Mum, Church,
    and lipstick! Every Sunday, before going to
    church, my Mum, would go to the bathroom, and
    put on some lipstick, or as my Dad used to say,
    "your Mother's putting on her war paint". HeHe!
    I hated it, so much so, that, l've never kissed
    a lady wearing lipstick..in my entire life..Never!
    No! not me wearing lipstick, but the lady..! :).
    And, no, don't like face paint, nail paint...etc..
    Though, l've worn it myself, being on stage a lot.

    I'm always asked, why l've never remarried, l was married
    for six years, became a single parent in 1980, when
    my daughter was four and half.
    You see, l had a totally different upbringing, than most,
    being in the UK, but being raised as a Sicilian. l
    was taught to cook, sew, knit, do hair..and so on!
    Therefore, l can compete with most ladies, in some
    cases, a lot better than most! (can l hear music in
    the background). I'm wicked really!!! :).
    I must just say..l always use the word lady/ladies..
    or female. Never the word..woman..l hate it, l think
    it's a horrid word..! That's just me!

    Barbara...This has been fun...I could write more....
    "You usually do Willie".
    I think ladies are lovely, ALL of them...well..!!! :).
    Will l ever remarry...I keep sending text's, e~mails
    to Sophia Loren...but she never replies! But, l do
    get proposed to...The last one had a guide dog...No!
    No! Joke! Joke! "Willie".

    As l'm a sayings person, l'll leave with this....
    "I'm not a control freak...l just happen to be highly
    driven, focused, motivated, extraordinary and inspiring
    leader, and, yes, you may take my advice and no, you may
    not do things your way".

    Lovely post Barbara...I'm off to paint my lips and do
    my nails....! Have fun..! :0).

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    1. Thought l'd post a link and a bit more
      of Gilbert Harding...Not that l praise him
      in any way...Always interesting to know of
      someones background....

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/16/newsid_3174000/3174268.stm

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    2. Lost for words? I do not believe it!

      I feel I should remember him from What’s My Line, but I’m afraid I don’t. I’ve read three or four articles about him now, and they all describe him as exactly the opposite of quite so it’s interesting to get your take on it.

      My dad used to call make up war paint too but as young girls my sister and I were always accused of plastering it onto our faces. Dad had a point because I used to try to emulate Dusty Springfield! Our elders hurled around quite a few insults when we were young – my mother-in-law described my white tights (all the rage at the time) as my laying out stockings! So there was dad accusing me of being covered in war paint and mother in law intimating I was dead!!! Honestly, it’s a wonder I survived it all.

      It sounds as though you had the perfect upbringing Willie and grew up with respect for ladies because of your mum (who sounds wonderful by the way). Sophia Loren obviously doesn’t know what she’s missing.

      I will always take advice Willie but as for doing things your way – um probably not.

      Enjoy your pampering session!

      Thanks for the link I will have a look in a while, I'm rather tied to the kitchen sink at the moment. :-)

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  12. HeHe! That's where ladies ought to be...
    Tied to the kitchen sink...!!! :).

    Another thing came to mind..before l go
    and hide...
    I went out with girl once...God! She was
    ugly..she was so ugly, when she used to
    put her lipstick on..it would go back up
    the tube...! Boom! Boom! :).

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  13. Thanks for the link Willie, I’ve added it to the post.

    As for the Boom! Boom! joke what can I say other than

    How many men does it take to tile a bathroom?
    Two. If you slice them very thinly. Boom! Boom! :)

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  14. I can't believe anyone would publish this!! My times have changed. I can say I have never met a man that would say anything like this. My dad certainly wouldn't have. He always liked my mother and I to look nice, including well manicured nails and makeup and he certainly encouraged education of all genders. No wonder this awful man remained single.

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    1. Times have certainly changed Darlene, thank goodness.

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  15. Oh. My. God.
    Thanks for the blood pressure check, Barbara. Grin.

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    1. Oh dear I’m so sorry I didn’t intend to raise your blood pressure! :)

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  16. Loving it. So funny. I can't help but be put in mind of a sketch Harry Enfield used to do.

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    1. Harry Enfield would make it funny, so I’m going to imagine him speaking the words and try to get Gilbert Harding out of my head! :)

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    2. Yes, exactly this Tracy xxx

      Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  17. oh Gilbert, what a charmer you are ... be still my beating heart ;D)

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    1. That’s the best laugh I’ve had all day! Thank you Sue, I will go to bed with a smile on my face. :)

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  18. I wonder if he meant all that. It's a wonder he didn't get lynched every time he put pen to paper.

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    1. Hi Roger, perhaps people were more accepting in the 50s either that or they assumed he was joking. I’ve read lots about him, and I can’t make up my mind if he was sad, mad or just plain bad!

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  19. Imagine the response if that article was posted to the general public today, overall I imagine he would be shot down but I also reckon he would have many agreeing with a fair few of his thoughts. Scary isn't it to think how far we have come and yet how stuck in the dark ages we still are.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

    P.s when I smoked, esp in a group, I liked my lippy mark, never mixed my ciggy up with anyone elses (I usually had quite a distinct colour on :P

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    1. Hi Lainy, Your comment made me smile, and yes, there are always advantages to knowing your own lipstick colour.

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  20. Well, at times like these it's best to say something like, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion." So that's what I'll say and leave it at that.

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    1. Well done Lee very tactfully said. It reminded me of this quote from Winston Churchill: Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.

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  21. Yeah... Unfortunately, men like him still exist. I wonder what he would have thought of a woman debasing his gender in such an unfashionable way? *shrugs* There's a special kind of ignorance that goes with pride.

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  22. Many, many men thought women should be tied to the kitchen sink then and, if a lot more of them were honest today, that is really where some of them would like us now. I think the more publicity was given to Gilbert Harding's remarks the more chauvinistic he became. Would not have stood a chance with us!

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    1. Hi Sue, you could well be right about Gilbert Harding. I sometimes wonder what kind of woman mum would have been had she managed to get away from that kitchen sink! I could never understand why she was so resentful of me running around in my car, buying clothes and generally enjoying being young, but I get it now. xx

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  23. Ah, the prototype for today's Simon Cowell is finally revealed! I wonder what this fellow would have made of me? On one hand, "a tendency to be bossy, to have a fatal inclination to be always in the right, and a constitutional inability to apologise" describes me to a tee, but on the other, I never bother with nail polish or lipstick. Then again, I've not only worn mortar boards for both undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees, I actually had the gaul to be a professor of mathematics for a few years! The horror. I think men look just as silly in mortar boards. It's time to switch them out for something else.

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    1. You are so right Tamara! Although Simon Cowell seems to be moderating a little as he gets older. I’m quite sure you have noting to apologise for, and assertiveness should never be confused with being bossy. :)

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  24. Hi Barbara,

    Good grief and reading about such a caveman makes me angry. I was born in the year of that article, that's where the similarity well and truly ends. Gilbert, just another insecure man.

    A pleasant weekend to you, my lovely friend.

    Gary :)

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    1. Hello Gary,
      I agree you are nothing like Gilbert, thank goodness. Have a lovely weekend. x
      PS Give Penny a hug from me. :)

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  25. They look lovely in their mortarboards :)

    I laughed at the end, where he basically just wants someone who'll listen, and do things for little to no thanks and without having to be told... he's not asking for much, right? Just a bit of good old-fashioned subservience to make him feel that all is right in the world.

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    1. I agree about the mortarboards and the subservience! Poor man he probably had a very lonely life without the love of a good woman – I’m tempted to say serve him right, but I would not be that horrible! :)

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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