Well? Is she? Is Lady Luck, really a lady by the standards here at Peas and Queues? Is she even a lady at all, or is the reference just speculative and Frank Sinatra could be asking that Man-Luck be a Lady for once?
While watching my favourite character from Guys and Dolls Skye Masterson sing this song in the 1950’s movie musical classic, these are the questions that were running through my head. Often, I like to be contrary while watching musicals because The Gent does not like movie musicals, or musicals of any sort. He believes them to be an artificial representation of life and often uses the phrases “No one bursts out into song and dance in real life” and “Do you know how I can tell this is a musical theatre song? Because it sounds the same as the three before it!” To this, I disregard his opinions and have decided to continue to live in a world where the Gent and I enjoy musicals very much where he joins me in song while arguing about moving, celebrating a change of physique and hair colour, or discussing last week’s clambake.
Until then I must be the one who lends a critical eye to the musicals that I have loved so dear for so long because the Gent refuses to watch them with me and lend anything other than a mocking laugh. So when everything was on the line and the fate of the Save-A-Soul Mission was in Skye Masterson’s capable roll of the dice, I paused and thought “Wait a minute.”
Upon farther examination, I discovered Tyche and Fortuna the Greek and Roman godesses of luck and good fortune. Both understood as the same women due to the Roman conquest and the Roman adoption of Greek mythology, they decided the city-state’s wealth and prosperity throughout its lifespan. Tyche was especially prominent in day to day life, as she was featured on coins throughout the Hellenistic period and her crown was shaped to replicate the walls of cities.
Now I may be reading too far into this again, but does it not seem odd that both sides of this particular coin in a round-about way depict symbols of luck? From the presence of Tyche to the horse, which can be associated with the lucky horseshoe, to the “heads” or “tails” aspect of the coin, this particular coin screams of all the things that I associate with luck today.
Beyond Tyche and Fortuna, there are many other goddesses and gods of luck, but for the purpose of this particular post, and for consistence with western thought, we will assume that Western thought begins with Socrates and Plato, and thus is influenced directly by the Greeks, accepting Tyche (and Fortuna) as the ‘Lady Luck’ in question.
So after establishing that Skye Masterson’s Lady Luck is of the female gender, is Skye Masterson’s Lady Luck really being a lady? Let’s look directly at Frank Loesser’s lyrics:
They call you lady luck
But there is room for doubt
At times you have a very un-lady-like way
Of running out
Your on this date with me
The pickins have been lush
And yet before the evening is over
You might give me the brush
You might forget your manners
You might refuse to stay
And so the best that I can do is pray
Yes, Skye Masterson, all you can really do is pray because luck really is not a woman you’d want to be messing with. Not only that, but by my adopted definitions Luck is not a lady. She is inconsistent, impolite and has created for herself a negative reputation. Regardless as to the outcome of Skye Masterson’s situation, and whether or not Luck acted like a lady, we can conclude that Luck is certainly not a lady by the standards of Peas and Queues. But she is female.