The Carioca woman – 1923

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– But how is it that you let that man come in if I’m in my under garmets?
– What’s the matter? When you go to dances, you go out in even less clothing!

__________

The image above and following story are both from an April 1923 edition of Careta. I noticed they both commented on the modern woman of the time. As for who Herr Hess is a pen name for, or if the story is true, I couldn’t find those answers. There’s also a word or phrase which I was unsure about how to translate.


Rio is still a city in which the morals of colonial times have remained almost entirely. If this is good or bad on its own, each person can judge for themselves, because morals are just a result and don’t exist on their own. It’s like perfume and a flower, it’s perfume, good or bad, it doesn’t exist independently from the flower. This, yes, it exists and can have or not have a smell, whether great or detestable.

With that said, to not bore anymore, we return to Rio. Here a woman who likes to date is always badly seen. Why? On her own? No. By those that look upon her, who are worse than she is. Badness doesn’t come from the woman who likes to date, it comes from the conniving and the spies.

In my weak manner of understanding, dating, a national institution, represents the only rebellion that people of the other sex are capable of, and I think that it can only have good results, even when its duration exceeds nine months, in which case the census sees a serious increase in the city’s population. I don’t believe that due to dating that the sea leaves the seabed nor that the exchange rate lowers to 4d*. I appreciate a woman who likes to date in the same way that I behold a decided conqueror.

In my opinion the lady Anesthésia who lives right here in Flamengo is such a woman. She’s an intelligent and paradoxical young lady. Speaking with her alone on the porch about the slander involved in her name, she, who was once my girlfriend and today is undecided between a neighbor and a cousin, told me with complete calmness:

– I am, in fact, a woman who likes to date and I’ve very content with myself.

– You must have, certainly, moments of boredom…

– I do. Sometimes I cry; I contradict myself; I worry myself…but for a short time. At the end of 24 hours I recover my cold blood. Because, I’ll have you know, I do have cold blood. It’s in this special case of temperament that my unlimited faculty to date whoever I wish resides. Dating, it’s everything.

– Don’t I know it. I didn’t need to get information from strangers nor from…rivals.

– You’re conceited…Your own experience is still very reduced. I guarantee that you haven’t guessed anything else… Yes, that’s where you remain. But I should say that I don’t date just for temperament, but still for… (how shall I say it?) for…devotion or for humanity. Well that’s it. Dating is a condom, it is the prophylaxis of love…

– Would you have the good manners to explain it to me?

– Simply, I will. Here you see me. I am over 25 years old and I hope to reach 30 completely uninjured by love. Because love isn’t just romance. It’s the grave reality that is concerned with slavery, children, the devil. And why would I want to enslave myself and fill up the world with innocent victims of our slave-quarter morals? – Herr Hess

* – d usually equates to pennies, from the Latin denarius

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