Seventy-five years ago this week, Carole Lombard (shown in August 1933, following her divorce from William Powell) discussed men in a Los Angeles newspaper. The paper, the long-defunct Post-Record, gave Lombard some space for a column, and here's what she wrote -- a splendid example of her pragmatic feminism. (This was uncovered as part of G.D. Hamann's exhaustive research into Hollywood of that era, providing an invaluable snapshot.) So here it is, from Dec. 17, 1933:
"I like superior men," Carole Lombard says
By Carole Lombard
I could never admire a man unless he were superior to me in most ways, rather domineering in manner, and a much better player than worker.
To women who make their way in the world, directly competing with the homo sapiens, this may smack of less majeste. So an explanation should be forthcoming.
In the process of evolution, affected by the sociologic scheme of things, man has had the advantage of development -- physically and mentally. This situation may be reversed a thousand years from now. But at present, with woman's emancipation a recent event, man is considered the superior animal.
I feel that a man who can be dominated by woman is a poor excuse for one. At the same time his domination of the weaker sex should be consummated with "silver gloves" and his best Lord Chesterfieldian manners. Gentle auto-suggestion, as it were.
As for playing, nothing is dearer to the woman's heart than a successful man -- a good provider. Yet a man who doesn't know how to play is uninteresting to the average woman, and a problem to hostesses.
Athletic playing should come first -- social relaxation, second. All men should be able to defend themselves with their fists. My ideal man is able to swim, play tennis, ride like a Centaur, dive, break ninety in golf -- and enjoy much diversions with his best woman. Incidentally, if a golfer, he should forget "birdies," "pars," and approach shots when he leaves the clubhouse.
I like to see a man smoke a pipe as long as he does it like a gentleman and doesn't let it gurgle or spill ashes on the rugs and his clothes.
But deliver me from the man who is the "life of the party!" Those fellows are all right at the party, but when you get them home they are tough to get along with. The fellow who cuts up, cuts down your list of friends.
Try and find such a paragon!