INTERVIEW (by Dorothy Parker)
The ladies men admire, I’ve heard,
Would shudder at a wicked word.
Their candle gives a single light;
They’d rather stay at home at night.
They do not keep awake till three,
Nor read erotic poetry.
They never sanction the impure,
Nor recognize an overture.
They shrink from powders and from paints …
So far, I’ve had no complaints.
Dorothy Parker (born Dorothy Rothschild, 1893 –1967) was an American short-story writer, poet, screenwriter, and critic. She was best known for her witty- and often acerbic- remarks, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. She worked on such magazines as Vogue and Vanity Fair, and as a book reviewer for The New Yorker. When in Hollywood, her successes in screenwriting. were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics resulted in the being placed on the Hollywood blacklist.
In 1988, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (whose purpose is “To ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”) claimed Parker’s remains and designed a memorial garden for them outside its Baltimore headquarters.
The plaque reads,
“Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, ‘Excuse my dust’. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people…”
👩 In this poem Dorothy Parker debates the controversial topic of men while discussing on the ideal woman and her behaviour so as to be found attractive to men. When she says, “their candle gives a single light,” she wants to show not only that women are simple but also that they appear to be that way to unsuspecting men.
The short poem has a title “Interview” which may suggest the idea of ideal women trying to get secretarial jobs. Adn it is the pretty girl who does not intimidate men who is the best suited for the job. The final line “ So far, I’ve had no complaints” gives the idea that she has experienced the same situation before . It sounds as if it were a sort of entertaining self-condemnation: she describes both the absurdity in social activities, and the naivety of her own self.
The rhythm is rather fast, the rhyming accurate, the tone humorous and sarcastic.
Le signore che gli uomini ammirano, ho sentito,
rabbrividirebbero per una parola cattiva.
La loro candela fornisce una sola luce;
preferiscono stare a casa di sera.
Non restano sveglie fino alle tre,
né leggono poesie erotiche.
Non sanzionano mai l’impuro
né riconoscono un preludio.
Rifuggono dalle ciprie e dai trucchi…
Finora, non ho avuto nessuna lamentela.