Valley of the Dolls: Sex Outside of Marriage

Valley of the Dolls describes events taking place between about 1945 and 1965. and was published in 1966. How did the characters think about sex outside of marriage?

No character condemns another for having sex outside of marriage and hardly any characters seem to refrain from the opportunity of having sex outside of marriage.

“Then that’s it!” Neely screamed. “She’s just using you to get Gino.” “That’s not true. She was warm and friendly even before I arranged the date. She had me up to her apartment —” Neely grinned. “Maybe the old war horse is turning queer in her old age.” “Neely!” “It happens. Listen, some of those big stars — especially broads like Helen who like sex — they get so fed up with the cold shoulder from men that they turn to women for their, kicks. There was this faded movie star who played at a nightclub with us, and —” “Neely, Helen is absolutely normal!” Neely yawned. “Okay, I won’t fight you on that. She’s got too big a reputation for being man crazy. She’ll lay anything in pants. She’s always been known for that. That’s how she lost her first husband. He came home and found her doing it with a gangster she had gone with way back.”

“Who wants respect? I want to get laid!” Anne’s gasp was audible, but Helen went right on. “Look, angel, when you’ve been around as long as I have, you’ll know that’s the only way a guy shows you he’s hung on you.” “You can’t mean that, Helen. In fact it’s just the opposite.” “Opposite my ass! How else can he show it?” “By taking you out, spending time with you — having fun together.” “Are you kidding? In my book, if a guy digs you he wants to jump in the feathers with you. Even that bastard Red Ingram, my last husband — why, he leaped on me the first night we met. After we got married he slowed up a little, to maybe three, four times a week. Then it got to once a month, then nothing. That’s when I put detectives on him and found he was cheating on me.”

Are there practical reasons to have sex outside of marriage?

“How can you be cold in that coat?” He looked meaningfully at the new beaver [the beautiful 25-year-old] was wearing. She patted it affectionately. “You were an angel to give it to me. It’s really warmer than my mink. But I’ve got to get some sleep.” “Let me come up with you,” he begged. “You were with me last night, Robby.”

She got undressed, dropping her clothes carelessly on the chair. Maybe she would let Robby stay tomorrow night. She could do with a new evening gown. She wrinkled her nose. He was so unattractive and he breathed so hard. But she needed some clothes, and men who looked like Robby were always generous. They had to be.

She stroked the beaver coat — one night with Robby. That’s what a great body was for, to get things you wanted.

Can one get paid for dating and being engaged?

“… Any time you put up with a man’s company when you can’t stand him you should have something to show for it. Sell it.” [advising her chaste friend not to return an engagement ring worth years of salary]

Gay men are referred to throughout the book in terms that would be politically incorrect today, but homosexuality per se is not condemned. A relationship between two women just out of high school:

They became lovers the first night. Although Jennifer had been startled at the proposal, she felt no revulsion; in fact, she was even a little curious. Maria was still the exalted school-girl heroine. And Maria’s logical explanation removed any taint of abnormality. “We like one another. I want to make you know about sex, to feel thrilling climaxes — not let you learn about it by being mauled by some brutal man. We are doing nothing wrong. We are not Lesbians like those awful freaks who cut their hair and wear mannish clothes. We are two women who adore one another and who know about being gentle and affectionate.”

Jennifer remained in Spain over a year. She met many eligible men. A few were passable, but Maria kept a hawklike watch on all her activities. They were always chaperoned by one of Maria’s aunts. Maria repelled all advances and saw to it that Jennifer made no progress. Jennifer grew desperate. Maria’s possessiveness was stifling. For the first time she understood her mother’s fear of poverty. Money bought freedom; without it one could never be free. In Spain she could live luxuriously and wear beautiful clothes, but she belonged to Maria. If she returned to Cleveland she faced a different kind of imprisonment — marriage to some third-rate man who would also demand the use of her body. Whichever way you looked at it, without money you were someone’s captive.

More: Read Valley of the Dolls


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Kona tourism tips

Don’t expect Caribbean-style clear blue skies when you’re next to an active volcano. For my entire six-night stay the air was hazy and tinged with brown and people had slightly irritated throats from the vog. My host noted that there was an organic farm right next to the volcano: “do they wash out the sulphur and bits of glass that come out of the volcano before they sell you your organic lettuce?” A woman who has lived here for a few years said that she always woke up with a metallic taste in her mouth (as did I) while her husband, a longer-term resident, said that he was immune to the vog.

The smoothest coffee that we found was pre-ground medium roast from Kona Cafe, available at Long’s Drug.

Best tourist experiences:

  • looking at the flowing red lava in the crater after sunset from the Jaggar Museum
  • morning snorkel trip to Kealakekua Bay on the Fair Wind. We saw the following from the boat: manta ray, humpback whales, spinner dolphins. We saw the following while in the water: moray eels, shark, lots of great fish. The ride was smooth despite 25-foot waves pounding the Hilo side. I would recommend doing the morning cruise due to the fact that winds can pick up in the afternoon. Very friendly and helpful staff. They provide breakfast and lunch, but it is heavily Costco-based.
  • Taishoji Taiko performing at the Waimea cherry blossom festival (early February each year)
  • malasadas at the Punalu’u Bakery.
  • K?lauea Iki Trail in the national park

And of course don’t forget to take a flying lesson at Mauna Loa Helicopters!

Maybe skip:

  • Four Seasons Hualalai. Somewhat boring landscaping (my hosts’ condo complex had a lot more color). The beach is nowhere near as nice as the Mauna Kea‘s (the local architects said that the Mauna Kea is their favorite hotel in terms of design). The restaurant had a beautiful waterfront location and great service but some weak spots, e.g., you have to ask for bread to go with your $ 30 salad. Then it takes forever to show up because it is purportedly “cooked to order.” Then when it does show up your friend says “this is like day-old pita.” Then you get the bill and find that you were charged $ 5 for the day-old pita. The bread at Volcano House was 50X better, arrived without being requested, and did not show up on the bill. (We did enjoy dinner at the Volcano House!)
  • the local wine. We opened a bottle of Volcano Red that was fizzy. We brought a sparkling Maui pineapple wine to a dinner party. Taste summary: like mixing Super Unleaded with pineapple juice plus a splash of Drano.


Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

The End of Volatility

During the first three years of my trading career I participated in a stock market that seemed to move 1%+ almost every day. That market was built for short term traders. But during that same time period regulators pushed through a series of market structure changes that I believe laid the
foundation for a long term decline in stock market volatility. I now believe those structural changes as well as other technological developments make it unlikely the price gyrations that were once common place will ever return.

Structural Changes

In 1997 the SEC approved the alternative quotation networks known as ECNs to offer competing Read more […]
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