I came across this delicious little book full of tips for Husbands from the year 1913.
I jokingly gave it as a gift (the kind of thing to read whilst sitting on the toilet!) and the roars of laughter could be heard throughout the house.
So, of course, my curiosity led me to read it myself and though some of it is rather sexist and stereotypical, a lot of it has got a firm feminist strong-hold, plus it is interesting to gain a little insight into the mindsets of people back then.
After reading it, I was also very surprised that after more than 100 years, how true quite a few of them still rang.
Here are a few of my favourites that never falter in making me smile:
Don’t be conceited about your good looks. It is more than probable that no one but yourself is aware of them; anyway, you are not responsible for them, and vanity in a man is ridiculous.
Don’t shelter her from every wind that blows. You will kill her soul that way, if you save her body.
Don’t rush out of the house in such a hurry that you haven’t had time to kiss your wife “good-bye. “ She will grieve over the omission all day.
Don’t stubbornly refuse to put on your overcoat on a threatening morning, and then when, after getting wet through on the way to the station and sitting in your wet clothes, you develop a bad cold, take it out on your wife for being crotchety and irritable.
Don’t be continually worrying about your health. If you feel really ill, or suspect that anything is wrong, consult a doctor, instead of causing your wife untold anxiety by throwing out vague suggestions as to what “may” be the matter with you.
Don’t grudge your wife a new dress because you haven’t noticed that she needs one. You don’t know how much trouble she has taken to try and appear—to other people—as if she didn’t need one; but she knows.
Don’t insist in wearing that very disreputable coat when some rather “starchy” people are coming to tea. If your wearing it makes your wife feel uncomfortable, it won’t do any harm to change it, even if you do think it’s a bore.
Don’t be so absent-minded as to dress yourself “anyhow.” Perhaps in the rush to get you off in time for your train, your wife may not notice that you are wearing odd socks; but she will be very uncomfortably conscious of this when she sees you again in the evening, and wonders how many people have happened to observe it during the day. She does her best but you can’t expect her to actually dress you.
Don’t, if music be your hobby, practice the violin, cello, flute, trombone or whatever musical instrument you happen to fancy, in the drawing-room for many hours a day. Your wife may also be fond of music, and it is not fair to victimize her to this extent. She won’t be able to concentrate on a book while her ear is tortured by false notes. Do your real “practicing” up at the top of the house, and play for her pleasure in the drawing-room.
Don’t keep up a continual grumble at meal-times, until your wife begins to think she can never please you. She will leave off trying after a while, and your last state will be worse than your first.
Don’t let your wife feel that your dinner is the be-all and end-all of your existence. Enjoy your food by all means, but don’t make a fetish of it.
And my favourite feminist one:
Don’t “put your foot down” if your wife wants to join some society of which you don’t approve. Produce your arguments, then, if she fails to find them convincing, let her be an “ist” or an “anti” to her heart’s content. She really has as much right to her own opinions as you have, and there is no cause for quarrel.
Source: Don’ts For Husbands ~ Blanche Ebbutt
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: courtesy of the author, Pixabay