Milk Toast

Thursday 4th June 2015

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Milk Toast

Listening to the program, ‘Saul Bellow, Finding a Voice’ on Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week’ this Monday, I heard one of the panel say that Saul Bellow, was known for upsetting people by using them in his novels. He always had to have a real face to start a story. On one occasion he used his ex wife, the mother of his child. It appears that Mr Bellow was also known for his misogynistic tendencies and throughout his life he had a string of relationships, but, and here’s where it got interesting, none of these women could be described as ‘Milk Toast’ women. What a great expression, I have never heard it before, apparently it is an American term. I Googled it and I found this definition.

‘Spineless, lacking backbone. Not standing up for oneself.’


I wanted more so I emailed my American friend, Elizabeth Reeves.
This was her reply. I love it.

I have heard of that term.  I always thought it meant someone who is without conviction, sort of wishy-washy, no mind of their own.  In terms of a woman it would possibly connote ideas of bland, frail, meek, quiet as a mouse and giving up all opinion to whoever is the dominant force in their life.  If I were to describe it visually she would be pale, thin and without obvious character.