Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

Find me on…

Get the feed

About

Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

Archives

Posts Tagged ‘childishness’

Childishness in Women

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

clever men can be so infinitely boringI have found something written ~ according to the publisher’s note from¬†The Art of Making a Perfect Husband ~ “by a bonafide husband whose identity we are for obvious reasons not at liberty to divulge.” They continue:

“It is cynical, but not only as truth itself is cynical, for this author has the courage to see truly in the much-debated question of the relationship between the sexes, and to communicate what he sees in terms that at times seem almost flippant in their caustic and aphoristic brilliance, but that are nevertheless the garb in which are clothed thoughts of an unusual profundity, and an equally unusual ~ and to some people possibly startling ~ idealism.”

I eventually found out who the author was. Revealed here for the world to finally know: it was Cyril Scott!

Now back to the excerpt. Keep an open mind, and ladies, please put away your toys before settling in to read this. We’ll have none of that childish behavior on my web site!

1929: Childishness in Women

In every woman, however intellectual or emancipated, there is a strong element of childishness and a love of what to men appear as childish things. This is patent to all observers, and the husband who disregards it will never succeed in giving happiness to his wife, nor will he ever understand women.

What, however, is exactly meant by childishness in woman? Her many and various characteristics which resemble those of children: her affectations, moods, “idle tears,” sillinesses, her power of make-believe, displays of temper for no discernible reason, her love of being petted and spoilt ~ in fine, all those inclinations, attitudes and emotions which are peculiar to children and which can most inoffensively, expressively, and briefly be described by the one word ~ childish.

But this is by no means to imply that men are not also childish ~ in their own way. I submit, in fact, that neither sex is prepared to recognise its own childishness, but only that of the other, and the result is much misunderstanding and conjugal tedium. A man may ~ childishly ~ spend the afternoon alternating between the two pleasures of hitting a ball and recovering it, and then come home and be irked by his wife who wants ~ childishly ~ to spend the evening exchanging endearments, or talking very small talk, or enthusing over the baby’s latest dental achievement. The trouble is that a husband is apt to regard his wife’s forms of childishness as trivial, and so, instead of being as tolerant towards them as he expects her to be towards his own ~ which, by the way, he naturally does not regard as childish at all ~ he ignores them and refuses to be a party to their gratification. If he is an intellectual type of man, he may perhaps bury his nose in the pages of some unchildish book, leaving his wife to look silently on, and to wonder why clever men can at times be so infinitely boring.

There is yet another aspect of the childish in women ~ a pleasant and picturesque one. Like children, they love to play, as it were, at being grown-up. A woman will experience this satisfying sensation if allowed to help her husband with his work; it will make her feel that she is important, needed. Thus, even if that work is of such a nature as to preclude it from really being shared with her, the ingenious husband will find means to convince her that she is helping him none the less: for to cater for the need to be needed is a part of the technique of perfect husbandship.

Source: A Husband [Cyril Scott]. The Art of Making a Perfect Husband. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers,1929.
~ pp. 42-44 ~