The midwestern saloon in the late Nineteenth Century worked both to confirm and challenge the manhood of its customers. While it offered them a homosocial space to indulge in activities coded "male," men who frequented it risked both becoming intoxicated and losing authority at home. Saloongoers considered "minding one's own business" to be one of the central tenets of manhood, and talked about it endlessly. In their understanding, both intoxication and lost authority at home directly challenged their mastery of their own "business," and consequently undermined their male status. Their concern about their challenged manhood may explain their failure to make sufficiently energetic defenses of their saloongoing when confronted in courtrooms or by prohibitionists. Rather, they frequently attempted to distance themselves from or deny participation in saloon culture.

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pp. 283-307
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