I don’t think lady-footballers will ever be able to ‘shoot’ goals
PLUS: Noël Coward corrects Ian Fleming, and Anaïs Nin burns Henry Miller
[A woman] is physically incapable of stretching her legs sufficiently to take the stride masculine... the smaller a woman’s foot is the prouder she is of it, and very naturally. I dearly love to see her feet come peeping in and out of her skirts, as the poet says ‘like little mice’ (delicious simile!).
I don’t think lady-footballers will ever be able to ‘shoot’ goals. In order to score a ‘point’ they will find it necessary, I fear, to charge the enemy’s goal en masse and simply hustle the ball through... Sir, I have seen two women fight and never wish to witness a like scene again, and I think that the aspect of two lovely girls, flushed and mud-bespattered, causing their rounded shoulders to collide ever and anon with brutal force, would be a most deplorable one. The whole thing is so foreign to the poetry of life—if poetry can be said to exist when an educated and refined lady urges her sisters to don men’s attire and play men’s games.
Women may boat, women may ride—they can do both gracefully—but women may not, with an advantage to themselves, ride a bicycle or kick a football. These pastimes are beyond them... Let women ‘keep’ books, write books, paint pictures, ride horses and row boats, but for the love of heaven stay them from making sights of themselves on the football field, or objects of ridicule on the bicycle saddle.
Letter to the editor
Pall Mall Gazette
23rd February 1895
(Reprinted in Girls With Balls, by Tim Tate.)
This is just to inform you that I have read ‘Dr No’ from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Your descriptive passages, as usual, are really very good indeed, but as the gentleman in Oklahoma sings about Kansas City, “You’ve gone about as fur as you ken go.” I am willing to accept the centipede, the tarantulas, the land crabs, the giant squid. I am even willing to forgive your reckless use of invented verbs—“I inch, Thou inches—He snakes, I snake, We palp, They palp, etc; but what I will neither accept nor forgive is the highly inaccurate statement that when it is eleven A.M. in Jamaica, it is six A.M. in dear old England.
This, dear boy, not to put too fine a point on it, is a fucking lie. When it is eleven A.M. in Jamaica, it is four P.M. in dear old England and it is carelessness of this kind that makes my eyes steel slits of blue. I was also slightly shocked by the lascivious announcement that Honeychile’s bottom was like a boy’s! I know that we are all becoming progressively more broadminded nowadays but really old chap what could you have been thinking of?
I am snaking off to New York on Thursday where I shall be for two weeks, and then I inch to Cannes.
Letter to Ian Fleming
6th May 1958
(Reprinted in The Man with the Golden Typewriter, edited by Fergus Fleming.)
Do not misunderstand me. I am not asking you to return. It would be meaningless to me if you did, because you would only be doing it at my asking, and that’s useless. You have your book to do, your life to live, and the summer in New York would be awful. I would not want you to come back now. Everything would be all right if you wrote the right kind of letters. But you write the worst letters, letters bad enough to estrange anyone. I have never seen more expressionless, pan-faced letters, in regard to whether I come or do not come etc. More self-centered letters either. That’s what creates distance, not time or a trip. The real distance and separation were always created by your letters.
Letter to Henry Miller
15th June 1941
(Reprinted in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin Henry Miller, 1932-1953.)