Monday, March 17, 2008

'Don'ts' for husbands and for wives

I was flipping though the latest issue of Vanity Fair when an article about two books by Blanche Ebbutt, "Don'ts for Wives" and "Don'ts for Husbands," stopped me cold. The books, written in 1913, have been reissued by A. & C. Black, Ltd. in pocket-sized editions. ($4.95; available April 1, of all dates!)

I think they'd make fun gifts. What's interesting is how well some of the advice holds up -- it's hard to believe it's almost 100 years old! Some examples, courtesy of the article:

Don'ts for wives:

-- Don't let your husband wear a violet tie with grass-green socks. If he is unhappily devoid of the color sense, he must be forcibly restrained, but -- don't be sarcastic about your husband's taste in dress.
-- Don't let him have to search the house for you. Listen for his latchkey and meet him on the threshold.
-- Don't try to excite your husband's jealousy by flirting with other men. You may succeed better than you want to. It is like playing with tigers and edged tools and volcanoes all in one.

Don'ts for husbands:

-- Don't be surprised, or annoyed, or disappointed, to find, after treating your wife for years as a featherbrain, that you have made her one, and that she fails to rise to the occasion when you need her help.
-- Don't give up cricket, or football ... or whatever outdoor sport you have been accustomed to just because you are married. Athletics will keep you from becoming flabby.
-- Don't argue that a new hat isn't necessary because there is nothing visibly wrong with the one she is wearing. You probably have forgotten that this is its third season, but she hasn't.


Anonymous said...

My advice to husbands and wives: Don't waste your money buying these books!

Anonymous said...

Don't ever lie to your Husband. He will doubt anything that you say from that point on. My Wife has never lied to me. Not even about little things. This has fostered an amazing bond of trust and respect.

Happy Husband

Adam said...

I bought the Wives one for my wife for her birthday, purely for comic effect. Some of the advice timeless, but mostly it's good for laughs!