How to Get–and Keep–a Husband


Aug. 27, 1957

Los Angeles

Now that a fish has landed a bicycle,
how does she hang on to it? Kate Constance gives the answers in the
second installment of "How to Get and Keep a Husband" being serialized
in the Mirror.

Remember this is getting and keeping a husband, 1957-style, so her
advice has nothing to do with "The Wild Thing That Will Keep His Coming
Back for More!" as featured in all those Cosmo cover stories. Her rules
are more along the lines of "don’t nag," "don’t ogle other men while
your husband is around" and "lose the extra pounds, ladies."

Constance portrays men as simple creatures:

"Every man has in the back of his mind a vision of the kind of woman he would like to have for a wife.

"No matter what people say, men are idealistic. Each of them can
imagine the girl whom he considers the complete woman for his
particular way of living.

"As a guide for the single woman who would like to play that role in a
man’s life, here are 11 attributes which–with some variations to suit
the individual taste–most men want their wives to posses."

1957_0827_constance_quiz1. Don’t compare him to your ex-bicycle (and
I’m paraphrasing here) at least not in any good way. The happy fish who
wants to keep her bike lets her husband "know that no other love in her
life has equaled or surpassed his love. She tells him that he is
superlative as a lover." 

2. Feed his ego. Let your bicycle know that he is "strong, wonderful, handsome and smart." Final tip: "He eats up praise."

3. Be a cheap date. Don’t go to
the most exclusive nightclub or restaurant in town and order the most
expensive thing on the menu–unless your bicycle offers.  "When I was
dating the wonderful man I later married, I insisted that we bypass the
lavish night spots…. He practically popped with gratitude," Constance

4. Maintain your looks and health, and for goodness’ sake don’t whine.
Constance’s advice: "Many women endanger their wellbeing with too
little sleep, too much drink and tobacco, plus a frenzied attempt to
keep up too many activities and probably a weakening diet thrown in."

She offers a case study in failure: "They dated for three years, then
he married another girl. Why? He got tired of hearing Betsy complain of
her nervous headaches and her worn-out feet and aching side. Her
constant complaining cast a shadow over his enthusiasm."

5. Be sure you are compatible before it’s too late.
To offer a modern example, if you don’t care about sports, you may not
understand why your bicycle finds fantasy leagues, old baseball cards
and vintage memorabilia endlessly fascinating. "And if you marry him,
determine to go along with his preferences, with enthusiasm and
perseverance." A brief honeymoon isn’t enough.

6. Don’t nag. "Nagging seldom
improves a man (We need improving? I detect a troubling subtext here).
It only tends to irritate and set him in the opposite direction.

"I have seen innumerable romances crumble before a woman’s destructive
tongue. If the truth were known, it is likely that a good percentage of
the great number of men who are missing each year leave home to escape
a nagging wife.

"Yes, you are entitled to express your opinions. But once you voice
them and discuss the matter, don’t go back and rehash the issue."

7. Be nice–and don’t get jealous. Maybe
your bicycle has a few little faults–like always being late for your
dates, bringing one of his buddies home for dinner or giving his mother
some money in an emergency (my, how have times changed).  Let them
slide.  "It is far better to give too much understanding than too
little. And control that natural little streak of jealousy."

8. Don’t be possessive.  Do you
ask prying questions about where your bicycle has been and what he’s
done? Do you check up on him? Are you jealous if he pays attention to
anyone else? Do you hate it when he spends too much time at the office?
Well, stop it, Constance says.

9. Don’t fool around–and practice your faith.
A bicycle doesn’t want his beloved riding any other bikes. "A man
yearns for a woman whose moral standards are beyond question,"
Constance writes. "As for spiritual strength in a woman, most men are
not consciously seeking it and actually do not hope to find it. But
when they do, it is a bonus for the relationship."

10. Look good. Work with what nature gave you to be "as lovely and charming as possible."

11. Cook and clean. Tough words from Constance: "To marry and foist upon a man a life of indigestible meals and an unkept house is a fraud."

I could make many observations, but will offer only one: Nowhere, so
far, has Constance even alluded to the man’s role in any of this. The
assumption appears to be that the burden for a successful marriage lies
entirely on the woman. I would love to know what Mr. Constance is like
in all of this.

And in case there is any doubt, let me add: As with the horoscopes, this is for entertainment purposes only.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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