Across the River with Geoff Goodfellow | September 20

Us older folk often complain about change, don't we? Things are never quite as good as when we were kids.  

Well, I've got to tell you a lot of things have improved. Let me give you an example.  

We kept a few books from my mother's library after she died. Stuffed inside one book (as was her habit) I found a page from a magazine she had filed away.  

DOMESTIC WISDOM: Strange things were required of a lady in the bedroom back in the day when the parents of us older folk were courting. Photo: Geoff Goodfellow.

DOMESTIC WISDOM: Strange things were required of a lady in the bedroom back in the day when the parents of us older folk were courting. Photo: Geoff Goodfellow.

The magazine article was extracted from a sex education school textbook specifically for girls during the early 1960s in Great Britain. 

Read on and reflect upon changing times. 

"When retiring to the bedroom prepare yourself for bed as promptly as possible. Whilst feminine hygiene is of the utmost importance your tired husband does not want to queue for the bathroom, as he would have to do for his train. But remember, look your best when going to bed.

“Try to achieve a look that is welcoming without being obvious. If you need to apply face cream or hair rollers wait until he is asleep as this can be shocking to a man last thing at night.

“When it comes to the possibility of intimate relations with your husband it is important to remember your marriage vows and in particular your commitment to obey him. If he feels that he needs to sleep immediately then so be it.

“In all things be led by your husband's wishes. Do not pressure him in any way to stimulate intimacy.

“Should your husband suggest congress then agree humbly all the while being mindful that a man’s satisfaction is more important than a woman’s.

“While he reaches his moment of fulfilment a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had.

“Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices, be obedient and uncomplaining, but register any reluctance by remaining silent.

“It is likely that your husband will then fall promptly asleep so adjust your clothing, freshen up and apply your night time face and hair care products.

“You may then set the alarm so that you can arise shortly before him in the morning. This will enable you to have his morning cup of tea when he awakes."

I should tell you the book that clipping was neatly folded into is called Domestic Wisdom - Things a Lady Knew in 1862.  

That book written a century earlier contains some gems. Like suggesting a young woman should, "use the same scrutiny and common sense in love affairs as in business. Do not mistake impulse and passion for the flame of love."

Solid advice indeed. I might share some wisdom from that book another time, but now we should hear from Dudley and Grace. 

One morning they were having a rather fierce argument over breakfast and it was Dudley who fired the last salvo as he stormed out of the house. 

“And what’s more, Grace, you are lousy in bed.”

He brooded during the morning, but began to feel a tad guilty as the day wore on, so phoned home to apologise.

The phone rang and rang and rang. Finally Grace answered.

“Where were you?” asked Dudley.

“In bed,” said Grace.

“How come you were in bed at this time of the day?” asked Dudley.

“Thought I’d get a second opinion.”

The fire had definitely started to go out of Dudley’s marriage, so he and Grace trotted along to a marriage counsellor. 

After a couple of fairly fruitless sessions, the therapist bounded out of his chair, grabbed Grace and started to passionately kiss her.

“That’s what you’ve got to do, Dudley,” said the counsellor, “and you’ve got to do that sort of thing on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at least.”

“Well, I can bring her here on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” said Dudley thoughtfully, “but Monday’s me darts night.”

 – Geoff Goodfellow


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