Tuesday, 27 December 2016

10 More Tips from "Don'ts for Wives" - Grovel or Be Damned!

Public Domain Image
New South Wales Police Dept.
Blanche Ebbutr gets into full flow with her instructions to careless wives on how to please their husbands at home in the evenings. So get with it, wives, you may hang up your pinny for a few hours as you tend to his every need.

Blanche Ebbutt's book Don'ts for Wives was published in 1913 and is public domain.

1. Don't be out if you can help it when your husband gets home after his day's work. 

2. Don't let him have to search the house for you. Listen for his latch-key and meet him on the threshold. (I can't help but want to add "wagging your tail and panting with joy.")

3. Don't omit the kiss of greeting. It cheers a man when he is tired to feel that his wife is glad to see him home.

4. Don't greet him at the door with a catalogue of the dreadful crimes committed by servants during the day. (I would never, never do this, under any circumstances. Can you imagine, "Darling, I found the maid in bed with the butler!)

5. Don't think your husband horrid if he seems a bit irritable; probably he has had a very trying day, and his nerves are overwrought. (After all, you only have the servants and kids to worry about!)

6. Don't forget if he is "nervy" to watch if the tea habit is getting too strong in him. Nerves are often due to too much tea as too much worry. (Blimey, there's a new one!  So it's my regular cuppa that's the cause of all my angst!)

7. Don't bother your husband with a stream of senseless chatter if you can see he is very fatigued. Help him to the tit-bits at dinner, modulate your voice, don't remark on his silence. If you have any cheery little anecdote to relate, tell it with quiet humour, and by and by, he will respond. But if you tackle him in the wrong way, the two of you will spend a miserable evening.

8. Don't "fuss" your husband. Mistaken attentions often annoy a man dreadfully. If he comes home late after a busy day, and has a quiet little supper alone, he doesn't want you to jump up like a Jack in the Box, with "would you like more pepper, darling?" and present him with the cruet from the opposite end of the table, when he already has one in front of him. See that everything is conveniently placed for him, and then leave the man alone until he has fed. (I guess that might work with lions in the zoo too!) Let him feel your sympathetic presence near him, but occupy yourself in reading or doing needlework; anyhow don't "fuss" him.

9. Don't spend all your time with the children, and leave none over for your husband. You can have them during the day; it is your husband's turn when he comes home in the evening.) (Yeah, I can see those servants are dead useful!)

10. Don't nauseate your husband with talking "baby" all the time. As baby's father he will stand a good deal of it but remember that there are other interests in the world. (maybe beer or football?)

I hope this is enough to be going along with. I have some real gems left in the chapter and will post them tomorrow.

Further reading:

Don'ts for Wives - Then and Now

Don'ts for Wives - Entertaining Your Husband's Friend

Don't for Wives - Blanche on "Jealousy"

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