Silver Age Support Groups
You can all thank Scipio over at the Absorbascon for this idea, he's been doing a hard-hitting restrospective on a whole slew of Silver Age Girlfriends, namely Sue Dibny, Carol Ferris, Jean Loring, Shayera and Iris West. We of course, know that they are the girl friends of Ralph Dibny, Hal Jordan, Ray Palmer, Carter Hall and Barry West.
Time has apparently mellowed a number of these young ladies. With the exception of Green Lantern, I really haven't read that much Silver Age DC, so I freely admit that my perception of the girls is colored mostly by Alex Ross, and recent and current portrayals. So I was startled to realize that there was a much harder edge to these blushing damsels.
But I can live with that. Because, it is my position, that being a Super Hero Girl Friend is a tough and thankless job. Sure, you get to be flown through Metropolis under a full moon, but there are all those kidnappings to have to deal with. A lot of the time, the poor women didn't even KNOW the true identity of their beloved, and couldn't understand, why he was always rushing off in the middle of dinner for some patently ridiculous reason. NOBODY forgets their wallet that many times!
There was always the problem of being the girl of a nice but nebbishy civilian, and then secretly mooning after the superhero, who oddly enough greatly physically resembled one's Man, yet was so unattainable. I can't help but think that eventually, most of the girls managed to figure it out. Again...NOBODY is that clueless. Well, maybe Lois. Or Vicki Vale.
Since all the guys hung out together, did the girls ever decide to form their own support group? I can see them all meeting at each other's houses for tea and cosmopolitans and chocolate, and dishing on the various foibles of their respective boyfriends. I'm even suspecting that there was a tacit agreement, to employ some passive/aggressive tactics to try and get the guys to wise up. Hal would be especially clueless in this regard, and I imagine that Barry was just too naive to pick up on the obvious signals that Iris was sending him.
I can't help but notice that a lot of the problems between the various couples seem to vanish once the Super Hero opens up and simply ADMITS that yes, he's really the Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, Batman, Superman, etc. etc. All this time the poor women have been secretly thinking that they are unloveable, and THAT'S why their guys keep running out on them. Now, they know that it's not THEM, it's really the Super Villain's fault! Little things like that mean a lot of a girl. There is also the satisfaction of seeing their chosen mates running and flying around in impossibly hot costumes.
So, try and look at it from the Super Girl Friend's point of view, and you'll see why they were so cold, shrewish, ditzy and generally insane. Well, except for Jean Loring. She really WAS nuts, right from the beginning.
And don't forget that their boyfriends spent most of their time hanging out with Wonder Woman! That sort of things can make a girl feel insecure.