Thursday 3 April 2008

Oh Blanche, I bet you said that

to all the guys.

What a woman Blanche Ebbutt was and what sterling advice she dished out to newly married men in her 1913 book called Don'ts for Husbands. Thank goodness she may have had an impact because when you see what she has to say, you get the impression that being the 'little plaything' of years gone by was not such a great position to be in.

Blanche wrote the following tips to help men in their personal relations with their wives.
Don't keep up the 'poor little woman' pose for too long. A woman may like to be a plaything for a little while, but the novelty soon wears off.

Don't condescend; you are not the only person in the house with brains.

Don't be surprised, or annoyed, or disappointed, to find, after treating your wife for years as a feather brain that you have made her one, and that she fails to rise to the occasion when you need her help.

Don't nag your wife if she has burnt the cake or forgotten to sew on a button. She doesn't want to be told of it over and over again.

Don't scowl or look severe. Cultivate a pleasant expression if Nature hasn't blessed you with one.

Don't talk down to your wife. She has as much intelligence as your colleague at the office; she lacks only opportunity. Talk to her (explaining when necessary) of anything you would talk of to a man, and you will be surprised to find that she expands.

Don't take the attitude that wives, like children, should be seen and not heard. No doubt you are a very clever fellow, and it is an education for her to listen to you, but she may also have some views worth mentioning.

Don't expect your wife to hold the same views as yours on every conceivable question. Some men like an echo, it is true, but it becomes very wearisome in time.
She is my hero, some men like an echo indeed.

Oh Blanche, I am sure this was meant to be serious when you wrote it but I'm so glad it sounds hilarious now. And to anyone who reads this and doesn't find it a little bit of a 'departure' from your current circumstances, please know that there's a better life out there for you. Read this post then 'rise to the occasion' and run, before it's too late.

This is the second in a series of posts about a book called Don'ts for Husbands written by Blanche Ebbutt and published in 1913. You can review the first part here.


  1. Love this post. You reviewed my craft site recently and said that you might like to have a go at crafting. I reviewed yours straight back . I thought I would tell you i am now posting projects and instructions, and thought you may be interested

  2. Just found you via Entrecard; I was delighted by this excerpt. I kept expecting it to degenerate into condescension, but the entire quote seemed as fresh as if it had been composed yesterday.

  3. Great blog you have here. I want to thank you for the comment on LinkReferral. It is kind words like yours that inspire me to do the blogs.
    Gary@GarysWorld USA

  4. Lilly - these are priceless.I am loving your blog so refreshing and funny.Some of them still apply ...sadly.

    A techy question for you - Are you using mimosa 3 column - tweaked... what does your editor page look like ?
    mine has 3rd column pushed to side below. So I was wondering what yours looks like? It is bugging me.

  5. Lilly, Lilly, Lilly...what can I say? You've done it again...a WINNER!!! This is a FANTASTIC post. I have to find this book now. Boy, Blanche Ebbutt sure was on the ball. This is not only funny but VERY VERY TRUE! And, she was a sharp cookie. I rather think she is a woman who takes after your own heart Lilly....mine too for that matter. Was she English? Do you know. Thank you for such a great made my day.

  6. Hi. First time to your blog. I was just reading this book myself as well as Don't for wives. How antiquated it all sounds and yet, in a strange way, quite relevant this advice that she gives. Glad you seem to be enjoying it too.

  7. Rattytatty - thanks I will go to your site and have a look at the projects, thats excellent.
    Feefifoto - thanks for visiting, the words used maybe old fashioned but it is very relevant today still.

    Gary - thanks for visiting will be back to see what you are up to.

    Baby_amore - thanks for visiting. Love your blog will stopy by often.

    RainforestRobin - Blanche is a classic, you can almost picture her being a radical in her day! Thanks for stopping by. When is that walk on?

    Gypsyatheart - thanks for dropping by. I so want to get the Donts for Women too. I bet there are a few things I could learn.


Thanks for your comments.