Saturday 27 November 2010

How to Tell a Married Man

From The London Journal of 1895, a nice piece, redolent of late-Victorian domesticity:

How to Tell a Married Man

A MARRIED man always carries his condition with him like a trade-mark. Anybody of average discernment can detect him at a glance. He does not pinch his toes with tight boots. He does not scent himself with violets. He never parts his hair in the middle. He keeps his seat is the railway-carriage when the pretty girl, laden with bundles, comes in - he knows that his wife wouldn't approve of his rising. He does not get up flirtations with the good-looking shop-girl where he buys his gloves - he remembers that little birds are flying all around telling tales, and he has a horror of curtain-lectures. Somehow married men never seem to arrive at that state of beatitude when they do appreciate the kind of literary performance known as curtain-lectures.
    The married man goes to sleep in church. He is a placid when somebody's baby cries at the play. He knows the price of sugar and steak. He knows that bustles are going out of fashion. He knows that women put their hair in papers. Powder is no longer a mystery to him. He can detect it on the face of his female friends, and he looks out that it does not get on his coat, because his wife can detect it too.

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