Help me understand the way these girls thought

Wait, weren’t those “confirmed old bachelors” Henry and Pickering gay? That’s what “confirmed bachelor” meant in those days, anyway.

I only know the movie. Is there anything in the play to settle that either way?

Funny, when we watched My Fair Lady in high school (9 yrs ago) the girls mostly though Higgins was an ass and the boys though he and Pickering were gay.

when they’re wondering why a woman can’t be more like a man, it does make you wonder…

I don’t remember any of us thinking that Henry and Pickering were gay, I just remember that we (boys) thought that Eliza was stupid to come back while the girls were arguing that it was romantic.

Edit, although BrainGlutton’s and** Ludovic**'s posts make me wonder now too.

Only if you think all of those Victorian two-man teams were gay, like Holmes and Watson, or Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie, or Moriarty and Moran. Or, retroactively, Solar Pons and Dr. Weston. They can’t all have been gay. Heck, Watson married. Several times, by some accounts.

Isn’t Ruddigore a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera?

You weren’t alone. I like some of the music and the movie has a lot of pretty clothes (the Ascot costuming alone is to die for). But the end of the story made me want to throw my slippers at the screen.
Pygmalion just isn’t romantic. It’s creepy at best and trying to turn it into something romantic also ends up being just creepy (e.g., Pretty Woman, Mannequin, My Fair Lady with a “happy” ending).

How else ya gonna make a musical out of it?!

Yes. And its original title was Ruddygore–which had to be changed because “ruddy” could mean “bloody.” Still a shocking word back then–as Eliza discovered. (TVtropes has expanded to cover Gilbert & Sullivan!)

Heh. My daughter (now 17) loves the movie and loves Audrey Hepburn. I like the movie, but mostly for Rex Harrison.

I haven’t seen the plays, but assume most of Harrison’s good lines are from Shaw. The man loves science, is a supremely happy camper, and does not tolerate fools.

Ultimately he makes a few tentative steps outside his happy campground.

Henry painfully experiences infatuation and the world beyond pure intellect; Liza sees what’s beyond her social circle… and can’t go back. That’s the drama.

They aren’t a good match, but at the end they need each other and some arrangement will need to be made.

My guess as to why the relationship is touching to some women is that Liza opens Henry’s eyes to the emotional/romantic world. I don’t think my daughter expects Henry and Eliza to get married, but I’ll have to ask her to be sure.

There is a line in the film–Eliza saying that she doesn’t want Henry to “make love to her” (i.e romance her). She just wants her humanity and worth acknowledged.

Even Watson could be . . . Denial ran deep back then. It probably confused matters further that there was hardly an upper-class Brit who had never had a cock in him, as they were all educated at all-male boarding schools.

Another Shavian character is Octavius in Man and Superman. His character is defined by being romantic, artistic, and in love with Ann Whitefield, who for her part has her cap set for the arrogant, intellectual Jack Tanner, who is avowedly marriage-averse and hopes Octavius will marry her and put him out of danger. You might think that makes Jack the gay one . . . but, as Ann points out to him when he asks why she won’t marry Octavius:

Sooo . . .

BrainGlutton writes:

> It probably confused matters further that there was hardly an upper-class Brit
> who had never had a cock in him, as they were all educated at all-male
> boarding schools.

Cite? My impression was that this was the rumor among those who hated public schools (i.e., the all-male private schools), which included both those who went to state schools and those who went to public school and hated them, but it was a vast exaggeration.

Orwell mentioned in his 1940s essay “Boys Weeklies” that at Billy Bunter’s school, Greyfriars:

And Orwell was an Etonian, and speaks of this as an “everybody-knows” sort of thing that nevertheless can’t be more explicitly mentioned in print, even as late as 1940. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be an exaggeration of the truth, I suppose.

Still, it’s a vast exaggeration to say:

> . . . there was hardly an upper-class Brit who had never had a cock in him . . .

From the things that I’ve read, homosexual sex was much more talked about than actually happened. Public schools were full of mean-spirited nastiness, with older boys allowed to bully younger ones. Some of this resulted in the older boys forcing themselves on the younger ones. My only point is that you’re exaggerating when you claim that almost everyone there was having homosexual sex.

So you’re saying it was more of a power thing than a gay sex thing, then? Like in prisons, I suppose, and very much exaggerated there too.

BrainGlutton, your passage from Shaw is interesting. Are these confirmed bachelors closeted gays or is it just a matter of the romantic idealist who never marries because no real-life woman is ever good enough for him, I wonder?

Not that that’s what Shaw was saying, necessarily.

I think a lot of girls are attracted to charming but arrogant jerks with a “heart of gold,” at least on screen. Korean dramas are full of handsome male protagonists who are absolute assholes but every so often will do something that shows he really does love the heroine, so that makes it okay. Many girls think it’s hot. Not all, but enough that these shows are immensely popular.

Very clever pos.

I always thought one of the most poignant lines in the musical was Eliza’s “I sold flowers, but I never sold myself. Now that you have made a *lady *of me, that’s all I am fit to sell…”

Wasn’t Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady the inspiration for the voice of Stewie on Family Guy? That right there kind of marks it as creepy.

Indeed. When Shaw wrote about prostitution, he was more direct. And I haven’t seen any proof that Shaw would have tried to name his play after one of Gilbert & Sullivan’s confections…