By Anne Fisher
Live With A Man and Love It, published in 1937, is a small red book that Thomas and I ran across several years ago at the Boulder library sale. We bought it for a dollar to have a laugh, and then promptly forgot about it.* I was additionally a little charmed by the author’s acknowledgement that one wouldn’t naturally and automatically love living with a man.
When I finally cracked open my copy, I found several pages have some disconcerting rust-colored stains, hinting at the possibility that at least one reader decided not to learn to love living with a man, and chose a more violent solution.
Anyway, Live With A Man and Love It unfortunately falls in sort of a murky area between being hilariously out-of-touch and being an actually useful relationship guide. I was surprised how modern some of the advice seemed to be:
“During the first year have a monthly check-up in which you both agree to be perfectly honest and frank, and tell the other fellow about the things he does that are irritating. Promise not to get sore, but endeavor if possible to change the faults.”
Seriously, that’s not bad advice at all (though probably easier said than done). But before I could get too impressed she would bust out some shockingly dated language:
“Urge him to see other people once in a while. He won’t get that love-strangled feeling and he’ll come into the noose without knowing it’s tightening!”
My favorite part of the book is getting a peek into life and marriage in the 1930s, like spending evenings visiting friends and neighbors, playing bridge and handing out calling cards. That is so different from my own life that it blows my mind! It sounds like it could be kind of nice, actually.
The book also brings up a personal rant of mine, so I’m going to take the opportunity to share it here: Rule 11 in the book is “Never Go to Sleep With a Quarrel.” I think that rule is just the worst and was probably invented by a divorce lawyer. Just keep staying up later and later, while you both get increasingly tired and cranky, until you both dissolve into crying and screaming barely coherent insults? Seriously, just go to bed! You’ll be amazed at how much less you care about whatever you were fighting about once you get a good night’s sleep. So, there’s my relationship advice for you: always go to sleep (actually that’s sort of my general advice for most things in life).
*I had a little daydream that perhaps this overlooked little book would be a rare antique, but no luck.