Courtship ~ For the Man

don't forget the passion, kidsWooing. There is no word greater, as far as I am concerned, in the world of dating and marriage advice. So here it a bit of advice for young men about this delicate art from Margaret Sanger’s 1940 edition of Happiness in Marriage.

1940: Courtship ~ For the Man

For the young man, wooing must be a great adventure. It is a voyage of discovery and exploration. He discovers the hidden beauties in the character of the one he loves concealed behind the curtain of her modesty, or even unknown to her. He discovers her innocent whims, her buried wishes. Then, by compliments, little gifts or thoughtful acts, he brings to her attention by a series of surprises the results of this voyage.

Long before physical love between them is possible, there may be a psychic or spiritual communion between two young persons. This psychic prelude is absolutely necessary as a prerequisite for successful love-making on a physical plane. Psychic and spiritual unity is essential ~ otherwise love would remain on the level of a physiological function.

Inhibited and restrained by the false restrictions of so-called polite society, too many repressed young men take up the task of love-making in too tame and effete a style. “Faint heart ne’er won fair lady,” says the old adage.

I have perhaps over-emphasized the danger of becoming a slave to passion, but one must not forget that there must be passion. There must be an imperious, driving force in back of all wooing. It should never be permitted to sink to the boresome fulfillment of a certain number of weekly or monthly calls, tiresome, restrained participation in ordinary social functions. Romance, to live, must not be caged in the atmosphere of tame domesticity, nor deprived of the opportunity to soar.

To the young man, therefore, who would woo successfully, I urge these suggestions:

First, Dramatize your love;

Second, Carry into action the generous impulses inspired and awakened by your beloved;

Third, Be aggressive. It is the role of love to act; be fearless but at the same time be chivalrous, for aggressiveness without respect is brutal and offensive.

But this does not mean that the lover should not “act out” his ardor. When I counsel you to dramatize your love, I mean that instead of seeking satisfaction in reveries, day dreams, or morbid fancies, you should seek to awaken and hold the interest of the girl of your heart by a continuous series of surprises, unexpected meetings, gifts, tokens and evidences that indicate to her that she is uppermost and supreme in your thoughts.

Source: Sanger, Margaret . Happiness in Marriage. Garden City, New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1940.
~ pp. 40-42 ~