In my book”Not Quite Darcy,” Eliza finds her 2015 attitudes about women are in constant conflict with the less enlightened, Victorian view. She spends a fair amount of time in the small library, usually finding herself incensed at various author’s views about women.
If only she’d come across Ruth Smythers little book. With a promising title of “Sex Tips for Husbands and Wives,” you’d expect a frank discussion of intimate matters. At the very least, with a female author, you might expect an enlightened view about women.
Not so fast.
Want to put some steam back in your marriage? Ruth has answers. I just wouldn’t necessarily recommend any of them.
Any tips regarding pre-bedtime rituals?
Arguments, nagging, scolding and bickering prove very effective if used late in the evening about an hour before the husband would normally commence his seduction.
How about romance? Or maybe kissing between husband and wife?
If he attempts to kiss her on the lips she should turn her head slightly so that the kiss falls harmlessly on her cheek instead. If he attempts to kiss her any place else she should quickly spring from the bed, and announce that nature calls her to the toilet.
Gee, this doesn’t sound like much fun. What about a married couple sleeping together?
The wise bride will permit a maximum of two experiences weekly and as time goes by she should make every effort to reduce this frequency. Feigned illness, sleepiness and headaches are among her best friends in this matter.
So, do you have all that? Nag at him and try to pick fights, only allow him to kiss you on the cheek and fake potty breaks. Sure, after all that your husband might not be your BFF, but that’s what you’ve got ‘feigned illness, sleepiness and headaches’ for!
Below is a except from “Not Quite Darcy” when Eliza comes across a similar view about women.
Considering how horribly out of depth she felt with her nursing duties, she supposed she ought to give them a try. She took the first book on the pile—Woman Physiologically Considered by Alexander Walker. It had a medically promising title, at any rate. And if nothing else, it would be a change of pace. She curled into the cozy green wingback chair, tucked a quilt about her legs and cracking open the heavy volume, began to read.
Subconsciously, she was aware the corner clock was striking eleven. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she heard footsteps coming up the hall and the click of the library door. But her frontal lobes were so engrossed in what she was reading, some troublesome part of her brain decided to pay it no mind at all.
“Hello?” William’s voice made her jump.
He stepped through the door. Since the only light in the room was the gas lamp on the desk, his face remained in shadow. Even poorly illuminated, however, she could see that he was more rumpled looking than usual.
“Forgive my intrusion,” William said. “I seem to have made a habit of startling you while you’re attempting to read. Is everything all right? Is my mother—”
“Oh, your mother’s fine. I was just trying to find something medical to read and saw the books the doctor sent. I hope that’s all right.” She swallowed. Even in her time, grabbing books off someone’s desk was pushing social rules.
William only smiled. “I’m pleased that you’re so interested in my mother’s care.” He hesitated in the doorway. After an awkward pause, he spoke again. “Did you find anything of interest?”
Eliza made a face and thunked the back of the book.
William chuckled, a low baritone. How surprising. Laughter hadn’t quite been the reaction she’d expected from him. He closed the door quietly, careful not to wake his mother.
“Terribly dull, is it?” he asked.
“Have you read this thing?”
“I didn’t get very far, I will confess.” He tilted his head, glancing at the book. “What do you dislike about it?”
“Well, how about this for starters?” Eliza flipped to a page she’d marked. “‘It is evident that the man, possessing reasoning faculties, muscular power, and courage to employ, is qualified for being a protector: the woman, being little capable of reasoning, feeble, and timid, requires protection. Under such circumstances, the man naturally governs: the woman as naturally obeys.’”
She looked at him expectantly.
“Ah, the fortunate woman that is Mrs. Walker.” He pushed off from the door and stepped toward her.
“Little capable of reasoning,” she echoed, muttering. “So, you disagree with this?”
“That I do. I am a modern Englishman.”
“Indeed. God Save the King,” she replied, confident that she sounded properly nineteenth century.
“Queen,” William murmured.
“Oh, that’s right. Queen! I have a hard time remembering who’s on the throne now.” She winced.