Asked • 03/19/19

What are "smoking-room stories"?

I recently started reading C.S. Lewis's book *That Hideous Strength*, the third in his Space Trilogy (and I'm devouring it - what a story!) The following passage, from when Mark first meets Miss "Fairy" Hardcastle, isn't quite clear to me: > It would be misleading to say that he liked her. She had indeed excited in him all the distaste which a young man feels at the proximity of something rankly, even insolently, sexed and at the same time wholly unattractive. And something in her cold eye had told him that she was well aware of this reaction and found it amusing. She had told him a good many **smoking-room stories**. Often before now Mark had shuddered at the clumsy efforts of the emancipated female to indulge in this kind of humour, but his shudders had always been consoled by a sense of superiority. This time he had the feeling that he was the butt; this woman was exasperating male prudery for her diversion. > -- Chapter 3 (emphasis mine; full text available at [Project Gutenberg](https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/lewiscs-thathideousstrength/lewiscs-thathideousstrength-00-h.html)) I've tried searching the internet for `smoking-room stories`, but the results are things like [this](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smoking_Room) or [this](https://www.wdl.org/en/item/13060/) which aren't useful at all. **What does this phrase mean?** It seems to be part of the characterisation of Miss Hardcastle, so I'd like to understand it better, even though by now I've got far enough to know exactly what kind of person she is.

1 Expert Answer

By:

Marty R. answered • 09/10/20

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