This selection comes from Live Alone and Like It: A Guide for the Extra Woman, written by Marjorie Hillis. I think I need to do a bit more reading about the “extra woman,” don’t you agree?
1936: Pleasures of a Single Bed
It is probably true that most people have more fun in bed than anywhere else, and we are not being vulgar. Even going to bed alone can be alluring. There are many times, in fact, when it’s by far the most alluring way to go.
Whether you agree with this or not, you have to go to bed at least once every twenty-four hours, and you will have to keep right on going as long as you live. If you read the statistics, you will find that you spend such a large proportion of your life lying down that it scarcely seems worth the trouble to get up at all. All of which makes it pretty obvious that you might as well make an art of going to bed.
We are all for as much glamour as possible in the bedroom. The single bedroom, as well as the double one. If even the most respectable spinsters would regard their bedrooms as places where anything might happen, the resulting effects would be extremely beneficial.
You may have a small bedroom, or a not very elegant one, but you must have a bed. Make it as good a bed as you can possibly afford. Make it, also, as beautiful as possible. If you can’t go in for a modern mirrored bed, or an old mahogany four-poster, or a good reproduction of some other type ~ then take the bed you have and have the head and foot cut off and a really charming cover made to fit it. With plenty of pillows and your best nightgown, you can be as seductive in this as in any other.
The chief other properties for a successful bedroom scene are a bedside table with a good light for reading, a clock, and a telephone within reach. And it’s not a bad idea to have the dressing-table mirror, or some other mirror, hanging directly opposite the foot of the bed, so that you can see yourself when you sit up. This is sometimes depressing, but it acts as a prompter when you feel yourself slipping.
Every woman should work out her own special ritual to be performed religiously every night before getting into bed. And every night does not except those nights when you are dead-tired. Even then, at least a few good strokes with a hair-brush stiff enough to start up circulation, a bit of cuticle oil and a lotion on the hands, cleansing cream and whatever other cream does the most for your face, are just as important as brushing your teeth. On nights when you’re home and not so tired, give yourself all the other little personal touches that you need. This is particularly advisable if you don’t want to keep on going to bed alone for the rest of your life, but you’d better do it, anyway. . . .
If all this sounds a little dreary, think of the things that you, all alone, don’t have to do. You don’t have to turn out your light when you want to read, because somebody else wants to sleep. You don’t have to have the light on when you want to sleep, because somebody else wants to read. You don’t have to get up in the night to fix somebody else’s hot-water bottle, or lie awake listening to snores, or be vivacious when you’re tired, or cheerful when you’re blue, or sympathetic when you’re bored. You probably have your bathroom all to yourself, too, which is unquestionably one of Life’s Great Blessings. You don’t have to wait till someone finishes shaving, when you are all set for a cold-cream session. You have no one complaining about your pet bottles, no one to drop wet towels on the floor, no one occupying the bathtub when you have just time to take a shower. From dusk until dawn, you can do exactly as you please, which, after all, is a pretty good allotment in this world where a lot of conforming is expected of everyone.
Source: Hillis, Marjorie. Live Alone and Like It: A Guide for the Extra Woman. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1936.
~ pp. 81-83, 87-88 ~