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by Dr.Sigmund T.
Gone are the days when bridge players attended their clubs with a sense of occasion. Gone are the days where attendance required sartorial standards of dress, so clearly evident in the 1930's and 1940's. For men, suit and ties were the compulsory norm ( tuxedos and monocles were especially welcome ).
As for the ladies, smart evening gowns, or matching skirts and blouses, were their preferred choice of style and refinement. They more than anyone knew what was needed to create that sense of occasion.
Sadly, massive cultural changes have taken place over the last 70 years. So today, as far as men go " anything goes " when it comes to turning up to play their beloved game : T-shirts, sandals and torn-off jeans now take the place of bespoke tailored suits and black leather shoes.
So it is no coincidence that with the demise of dress standards, there was a parallel demise of behavioural standards. Gone are the days when refined and courteous table talk reflected the well-mannered behaviour associated with gentlemen and ladies. What we have now is a world full of bridge playing maniacs displaying irritation, impatience, frustration and anger, whenever mistakes by partners, or misdemeanors by opponents, come to light. Even the nostalgic Evangeline Holland, in her recent article The Bridge Mania , was quick to endorse this demise. Here she quotes the damning words once used by the pseudonymous Frank Danby : " It is futile to argue with a bridge club member as with an opium eater or an inebriate. The habit has outreached all rational discussion. Duty, common sense, reputation have become meaningless words before the victim's devastated conscience. " Words indeed which become more apt as each year passes.
And what of future changes ? Can it be possible....... to turn back the clock, and see the world of bridge return to the way things ought to be ? The answer to that question I'm afraid is.... " only when hell freezes over ".