I’ve just been invited to a hen do, and I’m going to suggest the theme is ‘smoker night’ circa 1941. What’s a smoker night I hear you ask? Well, back in the 1940s it was a term usually reserved for men-only social gatherings. But in June 1941, a group of well-to-do women from Milford, Connecticut, got together for their own smoker night, their antics chronicled by LIFE magazine photographer Nina Leen. Men were strictly uninvited.

‘During poker Joan Thornwaite (left) “chewed her cigar fitfully” and “failed to get sick.” ‘

I love how the article sets the scene: “On the evening of May 20, members of the Young Women’s Republican Club of Milford, Conn., explored the pleasures of tobacco, poker, the strip tease … as had frequently cost them the evening companionship of husbands, sons and brothers…”

‘ “Spiked punch is dished out to the [night’s performers] and local reporters.” ‘
Young Women’s Republican Club of Milford, Conn., 1941
Performers let loose in the dressing room…
Time for the strip tease!
Followed by some ballet…
The tap dancer, Miss Connie Mohr, the “best act technically in show”, according to LIFE
Getting ready for some comedy wrestling…
The only man at the smoker… on the floor
If the men can handle it, so can we!
The aftermath

The evening’s nicotine consumption? 20 cartons of cigarettes, four dozen pipefuls of tobacco, 30 cigars. Welcome to ladies night, circa 1941…

Read the original article here.


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