All the Single Ladies, Circa 1940

Image result for 1940s women

This weekend a friend mentioned to me a song she had heard about from her grandmother, describing life in World War II for the women back home and the corresponding dearth of men. We immediately did some eager Google searching, not because a dearth of men is relatable in any way but because, you know, academics. The gem that we found is below.

And so I share it as a special shout out to my single sisters, not because it pertains to the experience of the single woman in her thirties, but because of academics and 1940s musicology and World War II and stuff.

They’re Either Too Young Or Too Old

They’re either too young, or too old
They’re either too gray or too grassy green
The pickings are poor and the crop is lean
What’s good is in the army
What’s left will never harm me
They’re either too old or too young
So, darling, you’ll never get stung
Tomorrow I’ll go hiking with that Eagle Scout unless
I get a call from grandpa for a snappy game of chess
I’ll never, never fail ya
While you are in Australia
Or off among the Rooshians
And flying over Egypt
Your heart will never be gypped
And when you get to India
I’ll still be what I’ve been to ya
I’ve looked the field over
And lo and behold
They’re either too young or too old
They’re either too bald or too bold
I’m down to the wheelchair and bassinet
My heart just refuses to get upset
I simply can’t compel it to
With no Marine to tell it to
I’m either their first breath of spring
Or else, I’m their last little fling
I either get a fossil or an adolescent pup
I either have to hold him off
Or have to hold him up
The battle is on, but the fortress will hold
They’re either too young or too old
Songwriters: Arthur Schwartz / Frank Loesser
They’re Either Too Young Or Too Old lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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