If you recall, last week two ladies were sitting in a pub, chatting about Albert’s imminent return. Albert is the husband of one of these ladies. Albert has forked over a large sum of money so that his wife can get herself a new set of teeth.
So that he can bear to look at her. Not so that she feels good about herself, not for her health; no, it is so that she can be presentable. For his return from four years in the trenches. Four years at war. The narrator really wants Albert’s wife to please him.
‘He wants a good time’. Yes, he has been through a lot. He probably has had the opportunity for a ‘good time’ once in a while over there – but still. He is coming back to his love and she needs to clean up. Or so believes her ‘friend’.
The Waste Land. A place and a time when women needed to be presentable, modest and available for their men. But the same standards were not applied to the men. Of course, they were being slaughtered by the millions. So who can blame them for finding solace while they were still alive to feel it?
This tense conversation isn’t over. Next week, our narrator finally gets to the point of what she is trying to say.