Some sensible advice from Real Life Problems and their Solution (1938) from the ever reliable R.Edynbry.
One can truly ascribe it to a loss of balance when a woman in the “ forties “ or “ fifties “ falls madly in love with a youth young enough to be her son; or even with a son-in-law. Sometimes he happens to be an employee or even a close friend of the family. The problem in the home is a terribly distressing one. To reason with her is useless, and kindly restraint with pacification is the only available remedy. With great good luck this dangerous phase may soon pass over and leave a wife full of contrition and shame —a condition often to be feared almost as much as the former. A wise family doctor may also be of great help by explaining to her how the change of life can affect both the mind and the emotions. One the phase has passed, never reproach the woman, or make her unhappy about it. Just show your happiness at her return to normality, and if possible, arrange for her to take a holiday or a change of some sort.
Unmarried woman of middle age are equally liable to these emotional outbreaks. Sometimes they take the form of persecuting a public character by sending anonymous letters or by waylaying him. Women of hitherto unimpeachable morals may try to seduce much younger men, or even bring charges against a perfectly innocent stranger. All these cases need the skilled care of a trained physician who will understand the real basis of the situation. Unreserved condemnations and punishment serve little purpose and can be cruel. To understand all may not be to forgive all, but, when it is recognised that the great majority of these women are mentally and emotionally sick, the otherwise harsh judgment passed upon them will often be softened. [RR]
(Painting by Cranach)
Another ‘solution’ to ‘real life problems’ from the pen of the redoubtable ( and mysterious) R.Edynbry, who doesn’t seem to have published any book other than this little volume (Real Life Problems and Their Solution) of 1938 from Odhams Press, London.
I realized when I married that my girl had few brilliant mental attainments. She had no interest in literature, nor had she even a parrot-knowledge of the names of writers or the classic books of the past. She is a product f the film era, and I have come to the realization that I have married one who comes within the category of the lightheaded. She cannot be serious for more than one minute at a time, and I get no intelligent response to my suggestions. Do you think that, with careful handling, I could introduce her into the ways of thought; to good literature; to an appreciation of the best things of life—-wean her, so to speak, from the dross? The thought that I might be ashamed of her one day appals me. What do you advise ?
‘The best thing for you to do is to concentrate on some of your wife’s good qualities and help her to develop these to the full. It is extremely unlikely you will ever be able to ‘cultivate’ her in the way you wish. There is a very large class of women who take no interest whatever in what men call culture. Even when they do appear to be interested in art, literature or classical music, it is usually to further some scheme at the back of their minds. Or, as has been said by a wit,” When women talk of astronomy, they are thinking of the astronomer “.A love of good books and literature and the fine things of life is inborn and cannot be superimposed like a coat of varnish. A fact that many psychologists have noted is that when a young girl has had her interests centred mainly on the emotions, there is little prospect of intellectual things making any appeal to her. Continue reading
Sexology : The Magazine of Sex Science was a magazine founded by Hugo Gernsbach ('the father of Science Fiction') and seems to have flourished in the 1930s. It had many anatomical diagrams and articles about 'female inverts', pregnancy, infibulation, venereal disease etc. It probably sold well. 80 years later it appears highly dated and sexist but the question of 'confession', jealousy and former partners, covered in this article, is inherently problematic - Julian Barnes deals with it in his 1982 novel Before She Met Me and in an interview he referred to John Lennon having problems about former lovers of Yoko Ono. The story towards the end of the lawyer with the revolver and poison tablets is straight out of Hitchcock..We had another posting from Sexology on 'Homosexuality and its Cure' last year.
Sex Confessions of Wives
"I simply must make a clean breast of it, and tell my husband." Here is an expression which, I am sure, must have been heard many times by every physician. What is there in the feminine make-up which insists that they bring drama–even tragedy–upon themselves? I know of so many homes that have been blasted and lives wrecked, through a wife’s insistence that she “unburden her soul,” that I hardly know where to begin.
An explanation for this feminine characteristic takes us back across the centuries. The annals of history reveal quite plainly that all such ideas of bringing the old skeleton out of the closet date from the beginning of masculine dominance. The sacred archives of many lands disclose what may be a very astonishing fact to the regal male of today; namely, that he was not always the ruler. Goldenweiser asserts: