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"Who is one? What makes you one?"
"Why--why, I suppose that the _sign_ of it is when a fellow slicks his
hair back with water."
"Yes--sure. He's a slicker."
They spent two evenings getting an exact definition. The slicker was
good-looking or clean-looking; he had brains, social brains, that is,
and he used all means on the broad path of honesty to get ahead,
be popular, admired, and never in trouble. He dressed well, was
particularly neat in appearance, and derived his name from the fact that
his hair was inevitably worn short, soaked in water or tonic, parted
in the middle, and slicked back as the current of fashion dictated. The
slickers of that year had adopted tortoise-shell spectacles as badges
of their slickerhood, and this made them so easy to recognize that Amory
and Rahill never missed one. The slicker seemed distributed through
school, always a little wiser and shrewder than his contemporaries,
managing some team or other, and keeping his cleverness carefully
Amory found the slicker a most valuable classification until his junior
year in college, when the outline became so blurred and indeterminate
that it had to be subdivided many times, and became only a quality.
Amory's secret ideal had all the slicker qualifications, but, in
addition, courage and tremendous brains and talents--also Amory conceded
him a bizarre streak that was quite irreconcilable to the slicker
This was a first real break from the hypocrisy of school tradition. The
slicker was a definite element of success, differing intrinsically from
the prep school "big man."
1. Clever sense of social values.
2. Dresses well. Pretends that dress is superficial--but knows that it isn't.
3. Goes into such activities as he can shine in.
4. Gets to college and is, in a worldly way, successful.
5. Hair slicked.
"THE BIG MAN"
1. Inclined to stupidity and unconscious of social values.
2. Thinks dress is superficial, and is inclined to be
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