Q Dear Miss Abigail:
Will I stay lonely forever?
A Dear Maris:
I cannot say whether you shall remain lonely forever, my dear, for I do not know you or your situation. But Dorothy Dix’s words on the dateless girl (from a chapter in How To Win And Hold A Husband) offers some things to think about. This excerpt is kind of long, but I just had to share. Dorothy certainly doesn’t sound to keen on marriage, does she? Tee hee.
1939: The Girl Who Has No Dates
The plight of the girls who have a natural feminine yearning for the attentions of men and love and romance and marriage but who are denied these is truly a sad one. What makes this situation still more pathetic is that they exaggerate their value and the happiness they would bring them. The girl who has no dates pictures every party as a wild orgy of joy. She imagines every man is a Prince Charming and she has never a doubt but that if she did marry her husband would be an ideal mate and her home an earthly paradise.
It never seems to occur to these girls that most of the parties are dull, stupid affairs where the guests yawn in each other’s faces; that the boy friend, too, is often a bore who reduces a girl to tears and with whom she goes out only in the hope of meeting some more entertaining companion. Nor does she suspect that on their wedding days most wives do not enter into an Elysium but get life sentences at hard work.
If the business girl will look around at her married friends she will see that most of them look older than she does; that few of them are as well-dressed or can afford the amusements she enjoys. And she will discover that the husband who remains a gallant lover after three or four years of married life is about as rare as hens’ teeth.
For most women marriage is doing without pretty clothes and is hard work and childbearing and walking colicky babies and putting up with the temper and crotchets of a man who generally is disallusioned with matrimony himself. So the average engaged girl who thinks she is going to miss all the trials and tribulations of matrimony and draw the capital prize is simply fooling herself.
Still all of this does not keep girls from wanting to marry or their mothers from wanting to see them married. That is nature, with which we cannot argue, and the pity of it is that there is not some way by which a miracle could be wrought to provide proper bridegrooms for all these nice girls who would make such good wives. . . .
It seems to me there are only two things these matrimony-minded girls can do, especially after they have reached the age of thirty when time becomes a great factor in success. One is boldy to take the initiative and do the courting themselves; pick out the particular men they desire to have for husbands and go in for a whirlwind campaign. Virtually any woman can marry any man if she will just go after him hard enough, provided she never lets him suspect that she is being the aggressor. . . .
[What] can the girl do whom boys never date up of their own volition, whose partners have to be conscripted for her at dances and who knows herself to be an undesired addition to any party she wishes herself upon?
Before succumbing to the inevitable she might give herself one more chance by making a change in her environment. Many a girl who is a social failure at home is a success abroad. Many a girl whom the boys on Main Street couldn’t see becomes one whom strange men behold with admiration, as is witnessed by the number of girls who marry away from home. If, however, a girl finds that threshing in different water brings no fish rising to her bait, then she saves herself mortification and wear and tear on her soul and body if she accepts the situation, gives up the struggle to attract men and fills her life with other interests.
Source: Dix, Dorothy. How to Win and Hold a Husband. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1939.
~ pp. 105-107 ~