Candidly Speaking — Brass Buttons, Regular Pay Gets Women (10-28-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 28, 1940)


Brass Buttons, Regular Pay Gets Women

By Maxine Garrison

In reprimanding a fireman whose wife had charged him in Morals Court with going out with another woman, Captain Bernard J. Hawthorn said.

Remember there is a certain type of woman who falls for brass buttons and a regular pay day. Go home to your wife and stop this kind of foolishness.


Captain Hawthorn, it seems to me, was really getting down to brass tacks. Many people have used up a lot more words saying the thing with less pointed effect. “Brass buttons and a regular payday” may not be the end and all of every woman’s dream, but it certainly sums up a large portion of it.

That business about brass buttons is one of those strange feminine quirks no one’s ever been quiet able to unravel. Women are just “fall guys” for uniforms. They love a white or scarlet jacket smothered in gold braid and top-heavy with epaulets, but even olive drab with only a few restrained bronze buttons can get 'em going.

Maybe He’s Handsomer

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the fact that almost any man looks handsomer in uniform and carried himself about twice as well as he does in civilian clothes might have something to do with it, but In suppose that’s neither here nor there.

The homing instinct for a regular payday is not so hard to fathom. There is just something about money coming in regularly which has a lure that all the glamour in Hollywood can’t beat.

You can’t blame a woman for liking that idea. You can’t blame her, especially when she’s had the bad fortune to run up against a couple of dead beats, guys who are just too shiftless or proud or cantankerous to hang onto a regular job.

No Compliment

But it seems to me that man oughtn’t to be a bit flattered b y all this. How can he possibly think of himself as a debonair all-in-one combination of Romeo, Casanova and young Lochinvar when the rest of the world knows – and tells – that it’s merely a matter of brass buttons and paydays?


It’s a married man I’m talking about. Someone who has a home and a wife and possibly children. Someone who has chosen a woman ass his wife and thereby announced that other women will henceforth mean nothing to him.

That, tacitly is what he has said, and he knows it quite well.

So do other women. If they’ve got any respect for other people’s homes and for their own personal ethics, they let him strictly alone.

But he still fancies himself as a great lover, and makes overtures to some woman that catches his eye. You can be sure that if she doesn’t know at first that he is married, and he doesn’t tell her, she will find out by discreet inquiries of her own.

And if she goes out with him and accepts presents from him, I sadly fear it is no compliment to his manly charms. It’s an un-pretty game any way you look at it, although to those involved it may have the usual excitement of forbidden fruit.

But in a large majority of cases, neither love nor friendship is at stake. It is usually a tawdry little affair which does no credit to anybody concerned, but can do an awful lot of harm.