Why A Man Gets Tired Of A Woman
Gloria Swanson kicked back almost viciously the gold and green silken train of her negligee that had wrapped itself about her exquisite, tiny feet and her perfect ankles. One tiny strong hand—her hands look strong enough to stop the rush of a tiger, yet they are very small—shoved back the thick mass of her mahogany hair, that falls in short, thick curls to her shoulders.
“No woman in the world is ever happy with a man unless that man is her master—her master. No woman is happy without a master. No woman can love a man who is not her master.
“There you have the whole thing—the bitter, deep, spreading, hidden cancer of the unrest of the modern woman.
“He may be her slave—her adorer—her devoted servant, but, at the same time, he must be her master.
“And let me tell you this, either the American man has got to assert his mastery, has got to rise and conquer woman and make her realize that his is the superior being and that she must be big enough and fine enough and loving enough to make him happy—or in a hundred years this country will have gone back to the days of the Amazon and woman will rule by right of might and not, as she now does, by the tyranny of the weak over the strong. The woman of today—the husband’s trademark—is hopelessly, horribly unhappy. Look at her face and you will see it. Why? Because she is linked to a mate who does not make her feel his superiority. Because she does get her own way. Because, like a child, she has been pampered, spoiled, indulged, yielded to, until she doesn’t know what she wants or get any pleasure from anything she gets.
“Where is the woman whose face is alight with joy over such simple things as a beautiful day, a service rendered, a child or a dog? Where is the woman who studies what happiness means and how to get it?
“Woman’s emancipation and equality have too frequently led her down to man’s level instead of bringing him up to hers.
The second cause for unhappiness—and it is an offshoot of the first—between men and women, in love and marriage, is the success of woman in her venture into the business and professional worlds.
“If the surest way to get rid of a bore is to lend him money, the surest way to get rid of a husband that is worth keeping, is to earn it.
“I do not believe that marriage—happy, successful marriage in the higher sense of a home, a center, a joint growth and future—is possible if the woman insists on following a career.
“Professional women—women who wish to go on working—should not marry. This, understand, is not my personal opinion necessarily. But as a theory, it seems to me more logical, more sane, as a working out of our present difficulties than the present mistakes. We can proceed only by improved beliefs. Balzac said, ‘Marriage is a science.’
“What woman today regards it as such? Yet somebody has got to be the scientist of marriage of each marriage. It’s got to be somebody’s business. And since nothing can alter the fact that women bear the children it should be the science of woman.
“I claim that any woman in the world can make a success of any marriage if she will devote her time to it, study it, sacrifice to it, work at it, as any other scientist does. And that her returns will be a thousandfold.
Perhaps we can develop a civilization where woman can find the same happiness in work and art as she can in marriage.
“But both she cannot have.
“Let us establish a business, a professional or an artistic celibacy, as we have established a religious.
“We must find a radical solution, and this is the only one unless man consents to let the wife carry the burden of support and business, and he assumes the marital obligations.
“If a woman’s desire for a career, for her art, her business, is stronger than her desire for wifehood and motherhood—well and good. That is fair enough. But she must leave marriage alone. Let her follow the path of her choice and sacrifice marriage. Nor is it logical to say that men in the past have always had both a career and marriage—for then the woman carried her share of the partnership and while the career was his, and she shared its benefits, the marriage was hers, and she took his portion of its joys.
But if a woman is going to marry, let her devote herself to it. Let her make it a success and let her be taught in her girlhood the responsibilities, the labors, the trials and hardships that are necessary to produce a happy marriage. Let her be disciplined to undertake them.
“The least interesting woman in the world to a man is a so-called ‘successful’ woman. The most obnoxious wife, a famous one. It is not possible for a home to serve two masters—a master and a mistress. Yes, a man resents deeply every penny his wife earns, and every penny she spends that she earns. Money gives a woman security, confidence, makes her sure of her judgment. It steals away from her the child qualities that all men love in a woman.
“Equality between the sexes, in my opinion, means mutually giving those things in which each excels—not equaling each other in the same things.
“Let us consider some of the things a woman should know and have in order to be a successful wife.
“The wise wife must prefer peace of mind and harmony to the vindication of her own opinions, comfort and congeniality to the emphasis of her own dignity, and a contented husband to a personal success.
“How can a woman who every day gives the best of her brain and heart and soul to the impersonal master of a career have the patience, tact and humility to govern a home?
“Sweetness is a quality that the modern woman has almost forgotten. It has gone out of date. There are many clever women, successful women, smart and talented women, but I see so few women nowadays that are sweet and simple and sincere.
“The modern woman, the modern beauty lacks the one essential of a satisfactory wife or sweetheart, or even a real friend—amiability.
“Those who have never suffered together can never be entirely bound, and the chief aim of womankind today seems to be to avoid suffering. The old-fashioned woman who asked nothing more than the joy of comforting and sustaining the man she loved through privation, sickness, and woe has disappeared. Yet I have never seen a woman so happy today as those women who found the supreme joy in the love that spends itself over and over again, in self-forgetting service, and their reward in the love and respect of all about them.
“You hear a lot nowadays about the ‘yes men. A few ‘yes wives’ wouldn’t go amiss.
“How many women do you know today who still have their husbands in love with them—I don’t mean just still married to them, or even just decent to them, but actually in love with them? I think I know two. Love—it’s lost its power. It’s become a sort of game Its higher signification is entirely lost. Woman’s highest ambition today is to be the trademark of a successful husband.
“Yet the modern woman assumes the attitude that she is a superior being, that she is doing the man a favor to marry him in the first place, and that his only way to discharge this debt is by remaining in love with her.
“But it won’t do. You aren’t superior. You’re a flat failure. You can’t keep a man’s real, splendid, deepening love and admiration and companionship. You can’t arouse and maintain the love that brings peace and joy. You claim you don’t want it. That you can play the game as well as a man. That you’re through with all that tommyrot. But what have you in your modern, restless, dissatisfied scheme of things to take its place? Why do you rush
about mad only to amuse, to kill time, to feed on new admiration?
“Your husband doesn’t continue to adore you, even though he uses you as a trademark, even though he’s too tired, too indifferent, too absorbed in business to make a break.
“But for all your emancipation and your charm, the chain of matrimony has grown so heavy that too often it takes three instead of two to carry it.
Man is the most unreasonable creature in the world. That’s true. He wants a woman to have all the virtues and most of the vices—for private usage. He wants a harem under the present laws of monogamy. And he can’t have it, because he isn’t master. But the fact remains, that unless a woman has a real ‘call’ for some work, her only happiness lies in loving him and having him love her.
“The theory of indifference has been exploded for years—except as a rather cheap weapon for the coquette. The man or woman to be won by indifference isn’t worth winning. Love is worth while only when it is leisurely, comfortable and pleasant. Only very young girls enjoy the variety that is somewhere between an automobile accident and looping the loop in an airplane.
“Nowadays we are ruled by our passions and our necessities. Therefore the woman who is virtuous and simple is mistress of her destiny.
“One of the greatest curses of the modern girl is her overestimation of beauty. It is my positive belief, founded on years of observation and study, that beauty is one of the least of the elements in exciting love, or holding it. No beautiful woman is ever adored, as is an ugly one, if she is adored at all.
“Do you know what is my greatest difficulty in the parts I play—the thing to which I devote most time and thought? Holding sympathy. I find people admire my characterizations, are often thrilled or startled by them—but how often do they love them? Yet I try to give a faithful portrayal of woman today.
“Spend a little less time in the adornment of the body and a little more in the care of mind and heart. Love is a threefold thing—physical, mental and spiritual. If you put all your eggs in one basket you may find yourself abandoned for a woman who can talk something besides baby talk.
“You may have the most gorgeous melting eyes, the most seductive lips the curliest hair in the world, and some girl with a good sound eardrum will steal your husband just the same. The most brilliant epigram you can make won’t endear you to him like the stupidest one you can listen to. The modern woman knows too much or too little.
“A wife that always knows more about everything from Babe Ruth’s batting average to the market quotation on cotton sounds to him about as pleasing as the alarm clock that goes off at six o’clock.
“But the woman that can’t carry on an interesting kissless conversation is nearly as bad.
“The most beautiful woman in the world cannot keep a man’s love unless she can be to him a friend, an inspiration and sweetheart Men will always love goodness and fineness in woman And no woman can be happy unless she has these things to offer.
“But unless the man becomes her master and she cares to please him, she will go on just as she is today.
“So in the last analysis, it’s up to the men, isn’t it?”
Photo on page 37 by Edward Steichen.
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JANUARY 1961