We two won't last

We Two Won't Last front cover. The background color, a dark pink, occupies most of the image. Two women appear, small and centered, between two words of the book's title. One is a brunette on a chair, and she sits with her bowed head and her knees pointed to the right and her torso turned sharply to her right, facing the reader. Both of her hands grasp the edge of the chair, towards her back, and they face the reader. She wears a brown dress with a round, white collar. Another woman, a redhead, stands behind her, to her left, partially covered by her and the chair. She is facing left of the reader, in profile, with her head bowed, and she wears a dress and high heels. She looks pregnant. The scene is lit from the top right of the image, casting shadows.
We two won't last back cover

Title

We two won't last

Creator

Date

Description

Journalistic portraits of lesbian subcultures in and around New York
A paperback original. This book was published as a mass-market paperback without a hardcover printing.

Relation

This book is part of a series.
We Walk Alone (1955)
We Two Must Love (1958)
We Too Won't Last (1963)
Take a Lesbian to Lunch (1972)

Printing location

Author Identity

Author Gender / Sexual Orientation

Publisher Type

Physical Dimensions

159 pages
18 cm

Reviews

Damon, Gene. "We Two Won't Last." Ladder, vol. 8, no. 1, October 1963, p. 18-20.

Years pass and Ann Aldrich grows wiser as she grows older.

She still hates THE LADDER as much as ever and feels no group identity or loyalty to her people, but she tempers some of her vilification in this book with well-thoughtout chapters.

In discussing her book, I will try not to accord her the unscientific "random sampling" treatment she gave THE LADDER. It is enough to say that some of her chapters are excellent and worthwhile, others poor and worthless.

In the chapter "The Young Lesbian", she points out the need for a home life, a marriage, a romance with concrete form, the lack of public seduction, etc.

Then in an apparent effort to discredit her own writing, the next chapter, "Homes Unsexual", deals with the rater elementary fact that after several years of marriage sexual congress becomes less important, often ceasing altogether. (This is, after all, true of heterosexual marriages as well.) She cites this as a major cause of gay divorce: one of the partners finds a new girl. All of this is also true and not very new.

But then! As a cure-all she offers, advocates, that Lesbians who marry should have a "gentlewoman's agreement": they should agree to have side affairs in an effort to hold their home together.

This simply does not hold water as an argument. As she points out herself, women must have all the emotional accoutrements to an affair. Almost in the same breath, she says that Lesbians won't form such amoral alliances since they are too emotional and jealous.

The tone of personal self-hatred is probably the most serious fault in this and all of her books. It is apparent to the Lesbian reader that Miss Aldrich is simply not very happy and for a moment one is tempted to feel pity. There are few things worse to have to live with than self-hatred and Ann Aldrich is steeped in it. Unfortunately for the rest of us, she is highly intelligent and articulate and thus able to disseminate such misleading data which is damaging to all homosexual women.

She does feel that it is good that women have an organization such as DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS, but other than this one positive statement, she says several unusually unpleasant things about the group and the magazine, THE LADDER. For some unaccountable reason, and after what must have been a most cursory examination of a few issues of THE LADDER, Miss Aldrich insinuates in three places in her book that members of the group are of the type commonly called "Dykes" who practice the "Butch-Femme" dichotomy. This is so very far from the truth that it casts doubt on Miss Aldrich's ability as a reporter.

In an effort to examine this I re-read the issues she cites, and then all of the issues during a three-year period. She very carefully picked her examples. This is clearly a case of "figures don't lie, but liars do figure"!

As an example of the strongly anti-Lesbian shading in the book, she chooses a newspaper article (from the New York Times) in which a woman doctor makes a particularly unscientific and nasty remark about Lesbians. This isn't even the part of the article which illustrates miss Aldrich's point. She uses this article to bring out another item (whether Lesbianism is on the increase, or whether there is just more being written on the subject) rather than any one of a dozen sympathetic articles that have appeared in the last five years which speculate on the same idea. It is possible that this was the only article she was familiar with, but this is highly unlikely in view of her study of the subject.

On the plus side, there is an excellent chapter entitled "18 Differences", which discusses the basic differences between male homosexuals and female homosexuals. Handled like this, the extremely divergent patterns are sharply defined. It is very like discussing two entirely different phenomena. This chapter makes quite clear the reasons for society's pressures against male homosexuals. It is a more believable premise than the religious grounds generally used to explain the different treatment of male and female homosexuals.

The chapter on transvestism is also very good. It clears up the old and foolish proper-clothing arguments.

Taken as entertainment the book is readable and recommended. It is good to see some abatement of Ann Aldrich's hostility. If she lives long enough, she may write a good book on Lesbianism someday.

Want to borrow a newer edition of this book?

More information about contested books

Contested in the U.S.A and Canada by the National Organization for Decent Literature. The book was listed in theĀ NODL Newsletter from August 1963 until April 1964.
This book was listed in the Report of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee Studying the Publication and Dissemination of Objectionable and Obscene.

Cover, Front Text

An outspoken, penetrating, honest new book from the celebrated author of We Walk Alone and We, Too, Must Love. ". . . Her books are probably the best popular works ever written about lesbians in the United States" - R.E.L. Masters, The Homosexual Revolution.

Cover, Back Text

Ann Aldrich . . . is probably the best-informed lesbian author writing in behalf of the lesbian in this country today." So states R.E.L Masters in his book, Forbidden Sexual Behavior and Morality.
We Two Won't LastĀ 
is Miss Aldrich's most comprehensive and candid book on the twilight woman, including many actual letters from lesbians, and chapters on transvestism, parents of homosexuals, bisexuality, "organize" homosexuals, and the "endless voyage through Lesbos."

Cover Art Description

The background color, a dark pink, occupies most of the image. Two women appear, small and centered, between two words of the book's title. One is a brunette on a chair, and she sits with her bowed head and her knees pointed to the right and her torso turned sharply to her right, facing the reader. Both of her hands grasp the edge of the chair, towards her back, and they face the reader. She wears a brown dress with a round, white collar. Another woman, a redhead, stands behind her, to her left, partially covered by her and the chair. She is facing left of the reader, in profile, with her head bowed, and she wears a dress and high heels. She looks pregnant. The scene is lit from the top right of the image, casting shadows.

Cover Art People

Cover Art Hair Colour

Cover Art Clothing and Fashion

Cover Art Background Colour

Cover Art Setting

Cover Art Light/Shadow

Cover Art Gaze

Cover Art Title

Item Relations

This Item Relation Item: We walk alone
This Item Relation Item: We, too, must love
Item: Fawcett Publications Publisher This Item
Item: Meaker, Marijane (Vin Packer, Ann Aldrich) Creator This Item

Social Bookmarking

Comments

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>

Citation

Aldrich, Ann, “We two won't last,” The Lesbian Pulp Fiction Collection @ Mount Saint Vincent University, accessed February 2, 2023, https://msvulpf.omeka.net/items/show/548.