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.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Watch out what you wear to go swimming at Coney Island (with examples): 7-24-1914

I knew of women getting in trouble for inadequate swimsuits, but this is the first I ever knew of rules about men's suits. This strip might have been in the nature of a PSA: Men, don't wear the new one-piece bathing suit at Coney Island or you'll get in trouble.

These comics are stuffed full of Yinglish, if you can use that word for English words transcribed into Yiddish and often given Yiddish grammatical endings etc. The fact is, there were many things in New York City that had no counterparts in the old country, like "one piece bathing suit."

July 24, 1914: At Coney Island there are many things one may do and one may not do.
  1. GB: Today I'll use my new bathing suit. It's all right, I too may be like the young men.
  2. GB: If you walk dressed like a proper man even in a bathing suit people look at you differently.
  3. GB: One, two, three! I'll rinse myself through the bones [sic] and afterwords I'll think about...
  4. Policeman's voice: Hey, mister! Back up! Come here, I need to have a talk with you about a very important matter.
  5. Policeman: Don't you know it's forbidden to wear a "one-piece" suit? The judge will explain the rest.

In May 1917, the American Association of Park Superintendents published in its 'Bathing Suit Regulations' that men's suits should include a skirt worn outside the swimming trunks or, alternately, men could wear flannel knee pants with a vest front.

אין קוני אײַלאַנד זײַנען אױך דאָ אַ סך זאַכען װאָס מען מעג און מען טאָר ניט.

גימפּעל בײניש: הײַנט װעל איך בענעצען מײַן נײַעם בײדינג-סוט. ס׳אָלל-רײַט, איך מעג אױך זײַן װי די בחורים.
גימפּעל בײניש: אַז מען געהט אָנגעטהאָן װי אַ מענש אַפֿילו אין אַ בײדינג סוט, האָט מען גאָר אַן אַנדער אױסזעהן בײַ מענשען.
גימפּעל בײניש: אײנס, צװײ, דרײַ! איך שװענק מיר דורך די בײנער און דערנאָך װעל איך אַ קלעהר טאָהן װעג…
פּאָליסמאַן׳ס קול: העי, מיסטער! בעק אָפּ! קומט נאָר אַהער, איך דאַרף מיט אײַך אַ שמועס טהאָן װעגען אַ זעהר װיכטיגע זאַך.
פּאָליסמאַן: איהר װײסט ניט אַז מען טאָהר ניט געהן אין אַ ׳װאָן-פּיעס״ סוט? דער דזשאָדזש װעט אײַך שױן דערצעהלען דאָס איבעריגע.

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