What Men In The 1940’s Hated About Women During Sex
The Debrief: Includes silence. And not asking for a new fridge straight after
For no particular reason other than ‘Why not?’, I picked up What Men Don’t Like About Women by Thomas D Horton last week. Billed as a guide for the American lady-about-town looking to make herself more desirable to the 1940s gent, Mr Horton lists all of the terrible things women do in the hope that they will learn from his advice.
In among ‘always choosing uncomfortable restaurants’ and ‘giggling and weeping at the cinema’, there’s a gem of a chapter: WOMEN IN BED – AND THE MORNING AFTER, which has some pretty interesting bedroom guidance.
According to cheery old Mr Horton, men absolutely detest it when women in bed:
Talk in a vulgar fashion
Before you think 1940s women were dirtier than Rihanna on Instagram, here’s what Horton meant by vulgar language, ‘It’s funny for you to be a Russian. Two weeks ago I was with an Armenian.’ Wrong, women. What men really want from single ladies are ‘speechlessness and mad oblivion.’ Or to essentially behave as if you are in church.
Which means asking for what you want in bed. According to Horton, ‘There are few things in this world that offend a man more than to be directed in the sex act by his woman.’ Apparently it’s ‘degrading’ and gives men ‘a terrific inferiority complex’. Depressing.
Use pillow talk as a time to get a new fur coat
Or a fridge. ‘Aesthetically could there be any worse time for a woman to ask for a winter coat or a trip to Florida or a new refrigerator or a town car or a spring outfit than in bed with her man? Yet she does it so often that one might almost look upon it as a congenital trait of the sex.’ Fair enough on this one, we say.
When they haven’t washed
And when they leave the bathroom door open when washing so they can carry on the conversation. It should be pointed out that earlier in the book our hero says he only changed his underwear three times a week.
Are utterly inept
By which Mr Misogyny means that he’s fed up of pillow talk where women try and discuss Van Gogh and Proust because ‘they also assume that since they are in a state of nature* with a man, they are his intellectual equal’.
Have poor morning manners
As Horton puts it, ‘There is little delight for the man in seeing his beloved… pour her dress over herself.’ This section could have come straight from the sidebar of shame.
So, there you have it – sex tips from the 1940s. Silence throughout – and through to the next morning. Don’t try this at home.
*This is an excellent euphemism and one we should all use more.
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Photograph by Thurston Hopkins/Hulton Archive