Flappers & Jelly Beans …. It’s 20s Tuesday!

Flapper Magazine

Flapper Magazine 1922

“The Playful flapper here we see,
The fairest of the fair.
She’s not what Grandma used to be…”

                            From The Flapper, Dorothy Parker

What’s a Flapper?

To get in the mood for the release of my 1920s romantic mystery, It Had to Be You, I’m posting on Tuesdays some facts, trivia, and slang from that fabulous frivolous decade.

If there’s one instantly identifiable word from the Roaring 20s, it’s “Flapper.”

This slang term for “young woman or girl” – some connotations derogatory, some not — was around for a long time before the 20th century, especially in England where the word “flap” (for young prostitute) traces back to the 1600s.

By 1920, the term Flapper had evolved into the youthful female image we know today.

Dictionary.com defines her as a “young woman, especially one who, during the 1920s, behaved and dressed in a boldly unconventional manner.”

Did she ever. Bobbed hair, knee-length skirt, rolled stockings, flapper beads, rouge, cloche hat …  And attitude.

Clara Bow

Clara Bow 1921

She looked like this…

In 1922, the American flapper got her own magazine, The Flapper (Not for old fogies!)  In its first issue, The Flapper stated:

“Greetings, flappers! All ye who have faith in this world and its people, who do not think we are going to the eternal bowwows, who love life and joy and laughter and pretty clothes and good times, and who are not afraid of reformers, conformers, or chloroformers—greetings!…Thanks to the flappers the world is going round instead of crooked, and life is still bearable. Long may the tribe wave!”

F. Scott Fitzgerald once described Joan Crawford as the quintessential flapper:

“ … the girl you see at smart nightclubs… toying iced glasses with a remote, faintly bitter expression, dancing deliciously, laughing a great deal with wide, hurt eyes…”

But what did the flapper of the ‘20s think about herself and the radical new world she lived in?  Following are quotes from the most famous flappers of the day.


“A kiss on the hand may feel very, very good, but a diamond and sapphire bracelet lasts forever.”      –Anita Loos,  author, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

 “Marriage ain’t a woman’s only job no more. A girl who’s worked hard and earned her place ain’t going to be satisfied as a wife. … I think a modern girl’s capable of keeping a job and a husband.”  — Clara Bow, actress

Zelda FItagerald 1920s

Zelda Fitzgerald 1922

 “If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.”   –Joan Crawford, actress

“… the Flapper awoke from her lethargy of sub-deb-ism, bobbed her hair, put on her choicest pair of earrings and a great deal of audacity and rouge and went into the battle. She flirted because it was fun to flirt and wore a one-piece bathing suit because she had a good figure, she covered her face with powder and paint because she didn’t need it and she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”     –From “Eulogy on the Flapper,” 1922,  Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald


What do you think? Have our young women changed much over the course of nearly a century? Or is that old saying true… there’s nothing new under the sun?

Until next week . . . long may the tribe wave!



The Flapper magazine quote (1922) was discovered at The Ultimate History Project
The Flapper magazine images are from OldMagazineArticles.com
Clara Bow – Nickolas Muray(photographer) (Brewster Magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Zelda Fitzgerald – Metropolitan Magazine (Metropolitan Magazine, 1922) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Flappers & Jellybeans … It’s 20s Tuesday!

Welcome to Flappers & Jelly Beans!

To get in the mood for the release of my 1920s romantic mystery, It Had to Be You, I’ll be posting on Tuesdays some facts, trivia, and slang from that fabulous frivolous decade.

The Duck’s Quack… 20s-Speak

1920sOne of my favorite things about writing fiction set in the 1920s is the slang.  Pure fun.  Our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generation had a wicked sense of humor.  And if you thought they were prudes… you got the wrong decade, baby. 🙂

  • Bank’s Closed:  No kissing/petting/making out
  • Barneymugging:  Lovemaking
  • Bearcat:  Hot-blooded girl
  • Cancelled stamp:  Wallflower
  • Cash or check?  Kiss now or later?
  • Fire extinguisher:  Chaperone
  • It:  Sex appeal
  • Mug:  Kiss
  • Sheik:  Hot-looking guy
  • Snuggleup:  A guy fond of petting/petting parties
  • Umbrella:     Young man any girl can borrow for the evening

Till next week… don’t take any wooden nickels!


Photo credit:  Russell Patterson [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Flappers & Jelly Beans … It’s 20s Tuesday!

Welcome to Flappers & Jelly Beans! 

1920s Romantic Mystery


To get in the mood for the release of my romantic mystery set in the Roaring 20s, I’ll be posting on Tuesdays some facts, trivia, and slang from that fabulous frivolous decade.

But before we begin with that, here’s the answer to Sunday’s Guess That Title challenge:

New York City, 1924…
A jaded homicide detective is torn between a seductive old flame and a bright new attraction when he joins with an ambitious girl reporter to solve the Central Park murder of a notorious bootlegger in 1920s Manhattan.

  1. The Rumrunner
  2. It Had to Be You
  3. His Girl, Trixie
  4. Goodbye, Johnny Blue Eyes

And the title is… IT HAD TO BE YOU.  🙂

A Holiday “Flappers and Jelly Beans” Tidbit

Think the trend for pushing the winter holiday shopping season on consumers earlier each year is a modern phenomenon? Think again.

1920s Trivia

Jelly Beans

The opening scene of It Had to Be You takes place in Herald Square in New York City on Thursday, November 27, 1924.

It was Thanksgiving day and the first year R.H. Macy’s sponsored its Thanksgiving day parade. Except they didn’t call it that back then. They called it Macy’s Christmas Parade.

Here’s a peek back in time from the following day’s papers:

“Santa Claus chose Thanksgiving Day this year to come to town. With a retinue of clowns… animals, and floats, the bewhiskered man in red, in sight of thousands of persons, arrived at 9 o’clock yesterday morning and three hours later was crowned ‘King of the Kiddies’ on the marquee above the entrance to Macy’s new store in Thirty-fourth Street near Seventh Avenue…”

Most of the participants that day were Macy’s employees, but they were joined by many others, marching bands as well as floats featuring The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe and Little Red Riding Hood. There were also animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo—bears, elephants, donkeys.

But no giant balloons. Animal-shaped balloons made by Goodyear wouldn’t begin to replace the live animals until 1927. One of the first? Felix the Cat.

Another 1924 attraction that would feel familiar to us was the unveiling of Macy’s spectacular store window: “The Fairy Frolics of Wondertown.”

Some sources say a quarter million people attended the first parade. Whether that’s accurate or not, it was such a success that Macy’s decided to make it an annual event.

The world has changed, yes? But maybe not as much as we think.  What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

One of my favorite holiday movies is Miracle on 34th Street. Yep, it’s a Christmas movie, but it opens with the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, so it’s fair game to mention here.

If so inclined, click on the link below to hop on over to TCM to view a short clip from that Thanksgiving parade scene circa 1947 between Maureen O’Hara as Doris Walker and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle. (Warning: Admission might be one 30 sec commercial.) Enjoy.

Miracle On 34th Street (1947) — (Movie Clip) Your Santa Claus Is Intoxicated

And for those who celebrate, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

Photo credits:

Uncredited cartoonist in employ of W. H. Fawcett publisher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By unknown, published by Max B. Sheffer Card Co. (Chicago) (collect-auctions.com, direct link) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons