Slap, slap, slurp: a hollow, juicy sound. Stephanie's pasting up posters on the dark green wall of a Victorian urinal. The year's 1971. This urinal still stands there at the bottom of Carnaby Street, alongside Liberty's of London. See it now, as then. Stephanie is clearly not an expert at what's called posting bills. Paste dribbles down all over the place: they go up crooked, they overlap. But up they go. The legend Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted gets obscured, as another poster slips and slides.
'Poor Bill Posters,' says Layla.
Stephanie doesn't get the joke. This is her life problem. Her life asset is her beauty. In 1971, she is twenty-five; she has perfect features, a lanky body, abundant blonde straight hair, and rather large hands and feet. Layla is twenty-six, shorter, plumper, funnier: she has curly dark hair. One side of Layla's face does not line up with the other, so she is called sexy and attractive, but seldom beautiful. Layla does not regard this as a life problem. She has too much to think about.
The posters declare over and over, A Woman Needs a Man like a Fish Needs a Bicycle. People stare a moment and pass on. The message makes no sense. Obviously women need men. Everyone needs men. Masculinity is all. Armies need men, and government and business and technology and high finance. And teaching and medicine and adventuring and fashion. And all the serious arts. Offices, except for the typing pool, which is female, need men. It's homes which need women, except for the lawn which is male. Women are for sex, motherhood and domesticity. Men are for status and action. Outside the home is high status, inside the home is low status. In popular myth men make decisions, women try on hats. The world is all id and precious little anima. Layla and Stephie, friends, mean to change all this. A Woman Needs a Man like a Fish Needs a Bicycle. Ho, ho, ho. Everyone knows women compete for male attention; isn't this how the problem of female bitchery arises? Catty? Felines are nothing compared with women. Perhaps this puzzle poster is advertising something?