Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the seven Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The "latest styles" of 1914 through a curmudgeon's eyes...

Many fashion revolutions have come and gone since the ones driving Gimpel crazy. I guess a matchmaker had to "keep up" in order not to earn the scorn of his young customers. Gimpel sometimes says "one has to modernize: if not, it's bitter."

I love the careful transliteration of the English slang word "dopey" into Yiddish.

March 18, 1914: Even King Solomon wouldn't be a wise man when it comes to today's styles.
  1. GB: A very fine young man, but what a get-up! He must be a fanatic "sport," but one has to try.
  2. GB: Say, boy, you must know I'm Gimpel Beynish the matchmaker? I have a fine match for you.
  3. GB: Give me your name and address, and I'll bring you a great bride before today's over.
  4. The "young man": Say, mister, are you blind or dopey? You can't see I need a bridegroom, not a bride?
  5. GB: A plague on Columbus with his crazy styles. Go try being a prophet and realizing this is a young woman, not a man.

The black-and-white fashion plate is from 1912. The silhouette is unambiguous.

On the right, a sewing pattern envelope from 1914; these three ladies are wearing outfits more like the one in the comic strip. The dresses are much less revealing of the form inside the clothes, though the hats have bows and feathers.

װאָלט אפֿילו שלמה המלך װאָלט אױך ניט געקענט זײַן קײן חכם אין דיא הײַנטיגע סטײַלס.

גימפּעל בײניש: אַ גאַנץ װאױל בחור׳יל, אַ װאױלס. נאָר אַ הולך! עס מוז זײַן אַ פֿאַרברענטער ספּאָרט, נאָר מען דאַרף טרײַען.
גימפּעל בײניש: סעי, באָי, דו װײסט כאָטש אַז איך בין גימפּעל בײניש דער שדכן? איך האָב פֿאַר דיר אַ פֿײַנעם שידוך.
גימפּעל בײניש: גיב מיר נאָר דײַן נאָמען און אַדרעס און איך ברענג דיר נאָך הײַנט אַ כּלה פֿון קלה לאַנד, יו נו.
דאָס ״בחור׳ל״: סעי מיסטער, איהר זײַט בלינד, צי איהר זײַט ״דאָופּי״? איהר זעהט ניט אַז איך דאַרף אַ חתן, ניט קײן כּלה?
גימפּעל בײניש: אַ ניכפּה אױף קאָלאָמבוס׳ן מיט זײַנע משוגע׳נע סטײַלס. געה זײַ אַ נװיא אַז דאָס איז אַ מײד, ניט קײן בחור.

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