“Finding The Man. Keeping The Man. Not scaring The Man, building up The Man, following The Man, soothing The Man, flattering The Man, deferring to The Man, changing your judgement for The Man, changing your decisions for The Man, polishing floors for The Man, being perpetually conscious of your appearance for The Man, being romantic for The Man, hinting to The Man, losing yourself in The Man.” ~ Joanna Russ, from The Female Man
This just makes me tired all over, and I might find it humorous except that the time during which these words were penned, they were meant to be taken seriously. That there are still males out there in our society who view these suggestions in a positive light just makes me cringe. I mean, seriously? Essentially, the men writing these tips want women to remember their proper place in the home so that everyone can be happier and more fulfilled, even if it means a little pretending on the part of the woman.
Take this little tidbit from Reverend Alfred Henry Tyrer in his 1951 book, Sex Satisfaction and Happy Marriage:
“If [the husband] is intellectually inclined, and from time to time seeks to explain little things to her so that she may have at least a bare knowledge of what it is that interests him, and, without the slightest comment, she takes up again the fashion magazine she laid down when he commenced to speak, we may be pretty sure that there is going to be a ‘rift in the lute’ sooner or later in that house.”
I do apologize if this post is a repeat, but when it showed up on my tumblr dash, I just knew that I had to share it with all of you wonderful people out there because . . . reasons . . .
(italics emphasis added by me . . .)
As the literature referenced below, written throughout the early to mid-19th-century tells us, your man is one cold meal short of leaving you. Read the hilariously old tips for keeping your man happy in and out of bed.
- DON’T TALK
Refer to the first four commandments on “How to be a Good Wife” in Edward Podolsky’s 1943 book Sex Today in Wedded Life:
Be a good listener. Let him tell you his troubles; yours will seem trivial in comparison.
Remember your most important job is to build up and maintain his ego (which gets bruised plenty in business). Morale is a woman’s business.
Let him relax before dinner. Discuss family problems after the inner man has been satisfied.
In his 1951 book, Sex Satisfaction and Happy Marriage, Reverend Alfred Henry Tyrer has more to add to that. Asking for things is “nagging”:
I verily believe that the happiness of homes is destroyed more frequently by the habit of nagging than by any other one. A man may stand that sort of thing (nagging) for a long time, but the chances are against his standing it permanently. If he needs peace to make life bearable, he will have to look for it elsewhere than in his own house. And it is quite likely that he will look.
- BAD COOKING WILL DRIVE YOUR MAN TO SEEDY SALOONS
Reverend Tyrer states further:
A social service meeting, an afternoon tea, a matinee, a what-not, is no excuse for there being no dinner ready when a husband comes home from a hard day’s work.
Housekeeping accomplishments and cooking ability are, of course, positive essentials in any true home, and every wife should take a reasonable pride in her skill. Happiness does not flourish in an atmosphere of dyspepsia.
According to Dr. William Josephus Robinson:
Bad cooking is responsible for dyspepsia, dyspepsia is responsible for grouchiness and irritability, grouchiness and irritability lead to quarrels and squabbles. And bad cooking, which is the usual thing in the average American home, has been responsible as much as any other factor for driving the husband to the saloon, and to other places. And when she does cook, she should cook, and not be, as somebody said, a mere can opener.
- BE THE HOT STEAK, NOT THE PORK CHOP
Speaking of cooking, Reverend Tyrer has a metaphor for you.
Picture a woman preparing a fine meal for her husband. “She remembered his choice of meat and was careful to get an extra-fine cut…her best cutlery and dishes and finest linen are all in evidence, and a little colorful decoration has been tastefully displayed….and as he comes into the house she greets him with a smile of welcome and a touch of manifest love.”
But say that same wife “is constantly setting him down to indigestible meals, cold and unappetizing, with nothing properly cooked, set out on a kitchen table with a dirty cloth, she need not be surprised if her husband frequently telephones from the office that business will prevent him from being home for dinner.”
- DON’T BE A SEXUAL VAMPIRE OR A FRIGID FRANNY
Dr. William Josephus Robinson, one of the earliest sexologists and advocate of birth control, tells us in his book Woman, Her Sex and Love Life in 1927 warns us of the lures of women becoming “sexual vampires,” sucking the life force right out of your husband:
Just as the vampire sucks the blood of its victims in their sleep while they are alive, so does the woman vampire suck the life and exhaust the vitality of her male partner—or “victim.”
It is to be borne in mind that it is particularly older girls—girls between thirty and fifty—who are apt to be unreasonable in their demands when they get married; but no age is exempt; sexual vampires may be found among girls of twenty as well as among women of sixty and over.
Now, if you are one of those frigid or sexually anesthetic women, don’t be in a hurry to inform your husband about it. To the man it makes no difference in the pleasurableness of the act whether you are frigid or not unless he knows that you are frigid. And he won’t know unless you tell him, and what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Heed this advice. It has saved thousands of women from trouble.
- PINK PANTIES ARE A MUST
That the underwear should be spotlessly clean goes without saying, but every woman should wear the best quality underwear that she can afford. And the color should be preferably pink. And lace and ruffles, I am sorry to say, add to the attractiveness of underwear, and are liked by the average man.
- LET HIM HAVE SOME FUN NOW AND THEN
Dr. Robinson says that ultimately, a wife will react to infidelity as her heart dictates:
But in case of an occasional lapse on the part of the husband—there a bit of advice may prove acceptable. And my advice would be: forgive and forget. Or still better—make believe that you know nothing. An occasional lapse from the straight path does not mean that he has ceased to love you. He may love you as much; he may love you a good deal more.
- YOUR HUSBAND IS THE BOSS OF YOU
It is fitting to close with the most opposed belief by the women’s movement written by renowned eugenicist Professor B.G. Jefferis, in his 1921 book Searchlights on Health, The Science of Eugenics:
The Number One Rule. Reverence Your Husband.—He sustains by God’s order a position of dignity as head of a family, head of the woman. Any breaking down of this order indicates a mistake in the union, or a digression from duty.
“She will try to find the nice way to exercise intelligence. But intelligence is not ladylike. Intelligence is full of excesses. Rigorous intelligene abhors sentimentality, and women must be sentimental to value the dreadful silliness of the men around them. Morbid intelligence abhors the cheery sunlight of positive thinking and eternal sweetness; and women must be sunlight and cheery and sweet, or the woman could not bribe her way with smiles through a day. Wild intelligence abhors any narrow world; and the world of women must stay narrow, or the woman is an outlaw. No woman could be Nietzsche or Rimbaud without ending up in a whorehouse or lobotomized. Any vital intelligence has passionate questions, aggressive answers; but women cannot be explorers; there can be no Lewis or Clark of the female mind.”
~ Andrea Dworkin