Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Bridle

Someone has brought up the question of obsolete gestures, among them the Ogle. This calls to mind the conventional response to the Ogle--the Bridle.

Not long ago I thought a gentleman ogled me, and so I responded with what I thought was a Bridgle. But instead of following at a discreet distance, as oglers are said to have done, this gentleman came up to me at once and said: "Didn't I meet you last Saturday night at a party on West End Avenue?"

Something, you can readily see, was wrong. I began to wonder if I had bridled incorrectly. In order to find my mistake, I asked my friends to bridle.

Most of them thought, as I had, that bridling was a self-conscious recognition of wicked admiration, involving, of course, pleasurable sensations.

We thought it was akin to smirking or simpering, and had something to do with edging nearer without quite losing one's niceness. We may have confused the Bridle in some way with the Sidle.

We were wrong. Webster defines the Bridle as an indignant Toss of the head, as of a bridled horse. Can you EE-magine?

Now if some kind gentleman will Ogle me or Insult me in the good old-fashioned way, I shall be glad to bridle properly. It has taken practice to acquire the gesture, I must confess, for without the old spirit to inspire me I can achieve only the outward observance. But given the proper stimulus, who knows how well I can do?

--Josie Turner (The New Yorker, May 28, 1927)
When somebody ogles me, I don't bridle...I ignore. Or I walk away a slight distance, hoping they'll follow. This is my way of saying either "you don't know what you're getting into," or "yes, I'm interested...but I'm not doing ANYTHING unless you're more obvious about it."

In nightclubs, at least, the Ogle still exists, but it has been partially replaced with the butt-grab. I think most women in clubs tend not to Bridle, they tend to slightly isolate themselves (but not so much as to be alone) and wait to see if the Ogler approaches.

The unfortunate female version of the Ogle seems to be the Lesbo Routine, which involves grinding with another girl as though the two were lesbians, but actually doing it to attract MALE attention, which I think is unsavoury on so many levels both social and political. It works...but at what cost, ladies?


VanillaJ said...

Keer-ist! How can the ogle be partly replaced by the butt-grab? One would be merely ignored while the other would result in a broken face.

Anonymous said...

"Ee-magine"? Keer-ist, indeed, and shee-it to boot.

Og Oglesby

Adam Thornton said...

While the butt-grab is certainly more overt than the ogle, I think it's probably more common in the sorts of bars we don't go to. But it's safe to say that the ogle is alive and well.

And I faithfully transcribed "EE-magine." It baffled me too!

Fortunately I looked ahead in the magazine's database, and this author comments every few weeks on another significant gesture. I think "The Leer" is the next one, and I'm gleefully looking forward to it.

VanillaJ said...

Maybe we should use the Queen's Good English to discuss the letchers and oglers. Goodness me, one ought not to bastardize the language whilst one purports to cast an opinion on the low behaviours of poorly wrought men and boys. Excuse me.

Anonymous said...

You're EE-xcused!