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An essay by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Isn't That Just Like a Man!

Title:     Isn't That Just Like a Man!
Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart [More Titles by Rinehart]

I understand that Mr. Irvin Cobb is going to write a sister article to this, and naturally he will be as funny as only he can be. It is always allowable, too, to be humorous about women. They don't mind, because they are accustomed to it.

But I simply dare not risk my popularity by being funny about men. Why, bless their hearts (Irvin will probably say of his subject, "bless their little hearts." Odd, isn't it, how men always have big hearts and women little ones? But we are good packers. We put a lot in 'em) I could be terribly funny, if only women were going to read this. They'd understand. They know all about men. They'd go up-stairs and put on a negligee and get six baby pillows and dab a little cold cream around their eyes and then lie down on the couch and read, and they would all think I must have known their men-folks somewhere.

But the men would read it and cancel the order for my next book, and say I must be a spinster, living a sort of in-bred existence. Why, I know at least a hundred good stories about one man alone, and if I published them he would either grow suspicious and wonder who the man is, or, get sulky and resent bitterly being laughed at! Which is exactly like a man. Just little things, too, like always insisting he was extremely calm at his wedding, when the entire church saw him step off a platform and drop seven feet into tropical foliage.

You see, women quite frequently have less wit than men, but they don't take themselves quite so seriously; they view themselves with a certain somewhat ironical humor. Men love a joke--on the other fellow. But your really humorous woman loves a joke on herself. That's because women are less conventional, of course. I can still remember the face of the horrified gentleman I met one day on the street after luncheon, who had unconsciously tucked the corner of his luncheon napkin into his watch pocket along with his watch, and his burning shame when I observed that his new fashion was probably convenient but certainly novel.

And I contrast it with the woman, prominent in the theatrical world, who had been doing a little dusting--yes, they do, but it is never published--before coming to lunch with me. She walked into one of the largest of the New York hotels, hatted, veiled and sable-ed, and wearing tied around her waist a large blue-and-white checked gingham apron.

Now I opine (I have stolen that word from Irvin) that under those circumstances, or something approximating them, such as pajama trousers, or the neglect to conceal that portion of a shirt not intended for the public eye, almost any man of my acquaintance would have made a wild bolt for the nearest bar, hissing like a teakettle. Note: This was written when the word bar did not mean to forbid or to prohibit. The gingham-apron lady merely stood up smilingly, took it off and gave it to the waiter, who being a man returned it later wrapped to look as much like a club sandwich as possible.

Oh, they're conventional, these men, right enough! Now and then one of them gathers a certain amount of courage and goes without a hat to save his hair, or wears sandals to keep his feet cool, and he is immediately dismissed as mad. I know one very young gentleman who nearly broke up a juvenile dance by borrowing his mother's pink silk stockings for socks and wearing her best pink ribbon as a tie.

How many hours do you suppose were wasted by the new army practicing salutes in front of a mirror? A good many right arms to-day, back in "civies," have a stuttering fit whenever they approach a uniform. And I know a number of conventional gentlemen who are suffering hours of torment because they can't remember, out of uniform, to take off their hats to the women they meet. War is certainly perdition, isn't it? And numbers of times during the late unpleasantness I have seen new officers standing outside a general's door, trying to remember the rule for addressing a superior, and cap or no cap while not wearing side arms.

You know how a woman would do it. She would give a tilt to her hat and a pull here and there, and then she would walk in and say:

"I know it's perfectly horrible, but I simply can't remember the etiquette of this sort of thing. Please do tell me, General."

And the general, who has only eleven hundred things to do before eating a bite of lunch on the top of his desk, will get up and gravely instruct her. Which is exactly like a man, of course.

Men overdo etiquette sometimes, because of a conventional fear of slipping up somewhere. There was a nice Red Cross major in France who had had no instruction in military matters, and had no arrogance whatever. So he used to salute all the privates and the M. P.'s before they had a chance. He was usually asking the road to somewhere or other, and they would stand staring after him thoughtfully until he was quite out of sight.

And as a corollary to this conventionality, how wretched men are when they are placed in false positions! Nobody likes it, of course, but a woman can generally get out of it. Men think straighter than women, but not so fast. I dined one night on shipboard with the captain of the transport on which I came back from France, and there was an army chaplain at the table. So, as chaplains frequently say grace before meat, I put a hand on the knee of a young male member of my family beside me and kept it there, ready for a squeeze to admonish silence. But the chaplain did not say grace, and the man on my right suddenly turned out to be a perfectly strange general in a state of helpless uneasiness. I have a suspicion that not even the absolute impeccability of my subsequent conduct convinced him that I was not a designing woman.

But, although we are discussing men, as all women know, there are really no men at all. There are grown-up boys, and middle-aged boys, and elderly boys, and even sometimes very old boys. But the essential difference is simply exterior. Your man is always a boy. He grows tidier, and he gathers up a mass of heterogeneous information, and in the strangest possible fashion as the years go on, boards have to be put into the dining-room table, and the shoe bill becomes something terrible, and during some of his peregrinations he feels rather like a comet with a tail. The dentist's bills and where to go for the summer and do-you-think-the-nurse-is-as-careful-as-she-should-be-with-baby's-bottles make him put on a sort of surface maturity. But it never fools his womankind. Deep down he still believes in Santa Claus, and would like to get up at dawn on the Fourth of July and throw a firecracker through the cook's window.

That is the reason women are natural monogamists. They know they have to be one-man women, because the one man is so always a boy, and has to have so much mothering and looking after. He has to be watched for fear his hair gets too long, and sent to the tailor's now and then for clothes. And if someone didn't turn his old pajamas into scrub rags and silver cloths, he would go on wearing their ragged skeletons long after the flesh had departed hence. (What comforting rags Irvin Cobb's pajamas must make!)

And then of course now and then he must be separated forcibly from his old suits and shoes. The best method, as every woman knows, is to give them to someone who is going on a long, long journey, else he will follow and bring them back in triumph. This fondness for what is old is a strange thing in men. It does not apply to other things--save cheese and easy chairs and some kinds of game and drinkables. In the case of caps, boots, and trousers it is akin to mania. It sometimes applies to dress waistcoats and evening ties, but has one of its greatest exacerbations (beat that word, Irvin) in the matter of dressing gowns. If by any chance a cigarette has burned a hole in the dressing gown, it takes on the additional interest of survival, and is always hung, hole out, where company can see it.

Full many a gentleman, returning from the wars, has found that his heart's treasures have gone to rummage sales, and--you know the story of the man who bought his dress suit back for thirty-five cents.

I am personally acquainted with a man who owns a number of pairs of bedroom slippers, nice leather ones, velvet ones, felt ones. They sit in a long row in his closet, and sit and sit. And when that man prepares for his final cigarette at night--and to drop asleep and burn another hole in his dressing gown, or in the chintz chair cover, or the carpet, as Providence may will it--he wears on his feet a pair of red knitted bedroom slippers with cords that tie around the top and dangle and trip him up. Long years ago they stretched, and they have been stretching ever since, until now each one resembles an afghan.

Will he give them up? He will not.

There is something feline about a man's love for old, familiar things. I know that it is a popular misconception to compare women with cats and men with dogs. But the analogy is clearly the other way.

Just run over the cat's predominant characteristic and check them off: The cat is a night wanderer. The cat loves familiar places, and the hearthside. (And, oddly enough, the cat's love of the hearthside doesn't interfere with his night wanderings!) The cat can hide under the suavest exterior in the world principles that would make a kitten blush if it had any place for a blush. The cat is greedy as to helpless things. And heavens, how the cat likes to be petted and generally approved! It likes love, but not all the time. And it likes to choose the people it consorts with. It is a predatory creature, also, and likes to be neat and tidy, while it sticks to its old trousers with a love that passeth understanding--there, I've slipped up, but you know what I mean.

Now women are like dogs, really. They love like dogs, a little insistently. And they like to fetch and carry, and come back wistfully after hard words, and learn rather easily to carry a basket. And after three years or so of marriage they learn to enjoy the bones of conversation and sometimes even to go to the mat with them. (Oh, Irvin, I know that's dreadful!) Really, the only resemblance between men and dogs is that they both rather run to feet in early life.

This fondness for old clothes and old chairs and familiar places is something women find hard to understand. Yet it is simple enough. It is compounded of comfort and loyalty.

Men are curiously loyal. They are loyal to ancient hats and disreputable old friends and to some women. But they are always loyal to each other.

This, I maintain, is the sole reason for alluding to them as the stronger and superior sex. They are stronger. They are superior. They are as strong as a trades union, only more so. They stand together against the rest of the world. Women do not. They have no impulse toward solidarity. They fight a sort of guerilla warfare, each sniping from behind her own tree. They are the greatest example of the weakness of unorganized force in the world.

But this male trades union is not due to affection. It is two-fold. It is a survival from the days when men united for defense. Women didn't unite. They didn't need to, and they couldn't have, anyhow. When the cave man went away to fight or to do the family marketing, he used to roll a large bowlder against the entrance to his stone mansion, and thus discouraged afternoon callers of the feminine sex who would otherwise have dropped in for a cup of tea. Then he took away the rope ladder and cut off the telephone, and went away with a heart at peace to join the other males.

They would do it now, if they could.

But the real reason for their sex solidarity is their terrible alikeness. They understand each other. Knowing their own weaknesses, they know the other fellow's. So they stand by each other, sometimes out of sympathy, and occasionally out of fear. You see, it is not only a trades union, it is a mutual benefit society. Its only constitution is the male Golden Rule--"You stick by me and I'll stick by you." "We men must stick together."

I'll confess that with a good many women it is, "You stick me and I'll stick you."

But that solidarity, primarily offensive and defensive, has also an element in it that women seldom understand, and almost always resent. Not very many years ago a play ran in New York without a woman in the cast or connected with the story. There is one running very successfully now in Paris. Both were written by men, naturally. Women cannot conceive of the drama of life without women in it. But men can.

The plain truth is that normal women need men all the time, but that normal men need women only a part of the time. They like to have them to go back to, but they do not need them in sight, or even within telephone call. There are some hours of every day when you could repeat a man's wife's name to him through a megaphone, and he would have to come a long ways back, from golf or pool or the ticker or the stock news, to remember who she is.

When a man gets up a golf foursome he wants four men. When a woman does it, she wants three.

It is this ability to be happy without her that a woman never understands. Her lack of understanding of it causes a good bit of unhappiness, too. Men are gregarious; they like to be together. But women gauge them by their own needs, and form dark surmises about these harmless meetings, which are as innocuous and often as interesting as the purely companionable huddlings of sheep in pasture.

Women play bridge together to fill in the time until the five-thirty is due. Men play bridge because they like to beat the other fellow.

Mind you, I am not saying there are not strong and fine affections among women. If it comes to that, there is often deeper devotion, perhaps, than among men. But I am saying that women do not care for women as a sex, as men care for men. Men will die to save other men. Women will sacrifice themselves ruthlessly for children, but not for other women. Queer, isn't it?

Yet not so queer. Women want marriage and a home. They should. And there are more women than men. Even before the war there was, in Europe and America, an extra sixth woman for every five men, and the sixth woman brings competition. She bulls the market, and makes feminine sex solidarity impossible. And, of course, added to that is the woman who requires three or four men to make her happy, one to marry and support her, and one to take her to the theater and to luncheon at Delmonico's, and generally fetch and carry for her, and one to remember her as she was at nineteen and remain a bachelor and have a selfish, delightful life, while blaming her. This makes masculine stock still higher, and as there are always buyers on a rising market, competition among women--purely unconscious competition--flourishes.

So men hang together, and women don't. And men are the stronger sex because they are fewer!

Obviously the cure is the elimination of that sixth woman, preferably by euthanasia. (Look this up, Irvin. It's a good one.) That sixth woman ought to go. She has made men sought and not seekers. She ruins dinner parties and is the vampire of the moving pictures. And after living a respectable life for years she either goes on living a respectable life, and stays with her sister's children while the family goes on a motor tour, or takes to serving high-balls instead of afternoon tea, while wearing a teagown of some passionate shade.

It is just possible that suffrage will bring women together. It is just possible that male opposition has in it this subconscious fear, that their superiority is thus threatened. They don't really want equality, you know. They love to patronize us a bit, bless them; and to tell us to run along and not bother our little heads about things that don't concern us. And, of course, politics has been their own private maneuvering ground, and--I have made it clear, I think, that they don't always want us--here we are, about to drill on it ourselves, perhaps drilling a mite better than they do in some formations, and standing right on their own field and telling them the mistakes they've made, and not to take themselves too hard and that the whole game is a lot easier than they have always pretended it was.

They don't like it, really, a lot of them. Their solidarity is threatened. Their superiority, and another sanctuary, as closed to women as a monastery, or a club, is invaded. No place to go but home.

Yet I have a sneaking sympathy for them. They were so terribly happy running things, and fighting wars, and coming back at night to throw their conversational bones around the table. It is rather awful to think of them coming home now and having some little woman say:

"Certainly we are not going to the movies. Don't you know there is a ward caucus to-night?"

There is a curious situation in the economic world, too. Business has been the man's field ever since Cain and Abel went into the stock and farming combine, with one of them raising grain for the other's cows, and taking beef in exchange. And the novelty is gone. But there's a truism here: Men play harder than they work; women work harder than they play.

Women in business bring to it the freshness of novelty, and work at their maximum as a sex. Men, being always boys, work _under_ their maximum. (Loud screams here. But think it over! How about shaking dice at the club after lunch, and wandering back to the office at three P.M. to sign the mail? How about golf? I'll wager I work more hours a day than you, Irvin!)

The plain truth is that if more men put their whole hearts into business during business hours, there would be no question of competition. As I have said, they think straighter than women, although more slowly. They have more physical strength. They don't have sick headaches--unless they deserve them. But they are vaguely resentful when some little woman, who has washed the children and sent them off to school and straightened her house and set out a cold lunch, comes into the office at nine o'clock and works in circles all around them.

But there is another angle to this "woman in the business world" idea that puzzles women. Not long ago a clever woman whose husband does not resent her working, since his home and children are well looked after, said to me:

"I've always been interested in what he had to say of his day at the office, but he doesn't seem to care at all about _my_ day. He seems so awfully self-engrossed."

The truth probably is that they are both self-engrossed, but women can dissemble and men cannot. It is another proof of their invincible boyishness, this total inability to pretend interest. Even the averagest man is no hypocrite. He tries it sometimes, and fails pitifully. The successful male dissembler is generally a crook. But the most honest woman in the world is often driven to pretense, although she may call it _savoir faire_. She pretends, because pretense is the oil that lubricates society. Have you ever seen a man when some neighbors who are unpopular drop in for an evening call? After they are gone, his wife says:

"I do wish you wouldn't bite the Andersons when they come in, Joe!"

"Bite them! I was civil, wasn't I?"

"Well, you can call it that."

He is ready to examine the window locks, but he turns and surveys her, and he is honestly puzzled.

"What I can't make out," he says, "is how you can fall all over yourself to those people, when you know you detest them. Thank heavens, I'm no hypocrite."

Then he locks the windows and stalks up-stairs, and the hypocrite of the family smiles a little to herself. Because she knows that without her there would be no society and no neighborhood calls, and that honesty can be a vice, and hypocrisy a virtue.

I know a vestryman of a church who sometimes plays bridge on Saturday nights for money. What he loses doesn't matter, but what he wins his wife is supposed to put on the plate the next morning. One Saturday night he gave her a large bill, and the next morning she placed a neatly folded green-back on the collection plate as he held it out to her. He stood in the aisle and eyed the bill with suspicion. Then he deliberately unfolded it, and held out the plate to her again.

"Come over, Mazie," he said.

And Mazie came over with the balance.

You know what a woman would have done. She would have marked the bill with her eye, and later on while waiting at the rear for the chair offertory to end, she would have investigated. Then on the way home she would have said:

"I had a good notion to stand right there, Charlie Smith, and show you up. I wish I had." But the point is that she wouldn't have.

There is no moral whatever to this brief tale.

But perhaps it is in love that men and women differ most vitally. Now Nature, being extremely wise, gives the man in love the wisdom of the serpent and the wile of the dove (which is a most alluring bird in its love-making). A man in love brings to it all his intelligence. And men like being in love.

Being in love is not so happy for a woman. She becomes emotional and difficult, is either on the heights or in the depths. And the reason for this is simple; love is a complex to a woman. She has to contend with natural and acquired inhibitions. She both desires love and fears it.

The primitive woman ran away from her lover, but like Lot's wife, she looked back. I am inclined to think, however, that primitive woman looked back rather harder than she ran. Be that as it may, women to-day both desire love and fear it.

If men fear it, they successfully hide their cowardice.

It is in their methods of making love that men cease to be alike. Up to that point they are very similar; they all think that, having purchased an automobile, they must vindicate their judgment by insisting upon its virtues, and a great many of them will spend as much money fixing over last year's car as would almost buy a new one; they always think they drive carefully, but that the fellow in the other car is either a road hog or a lunatic who shouldn't have a license; they are mostly rather moody before breakfast, although there is an obnoxious type that sings in the cold shower; they are all rather given to the practice of bringing gifts to their wives when they have done something they shouldn't; and they all have a tendency to excuse their occasional delinquencies by the argument that they never made anybody unhappy, and their weaknesses by the fact that God made them men.

But it is in love that they are at their best, from the point of view of the one woman most interested. And it is in their love methods that they show the greatest variations from type. Certain things of course they all do, buy new neckties, write letters which they read years later with amazement and consternation; keep a photograph in a drawer of the desk at the office, where the stenographer finds it and says to the office boy: "Can you beat that? And not even pretty!" carry boxes of candy around, hoping they look like cigars; and lie awake nights wondering what she can see in him, and wondering if she is awake too.

They are very dear and very humble and sheepish and self-conscious when they are in love, curious mixtures of determination and vacillation; about eighty per cent, however, being determination. But they lose for once their sex solidarity, and play the game every man for himself. Roughly speaking (although who can speak roughly of them then? Or at any time?) they divide into three types of lovers. There are men who are all three, at different times of course. But these three classes of lovers have one thing in common. They want to do their own hunting. It gives them a sense of power to think they have won out by sheer strength and will.

The truth about this is that no man ever won a woman who was actually difficult to get, and found it worth the effort afterwards. What real man ever liked kissing a girl who didn't want to be kissed? Love has got to be mutual. Your lover is frequently more interested in being loved than in loving. And the trump cards are always the woman's. These grown-up boys of ours are shy and self-depreciatory in love, and they run like deer when they think they are not wanted. So the woman has to play a double game, and gets blamed for guile when it is only wisdom. Her instinct is to run, partly because she is afraid of love and partly because she has to appear to be pursued. But she has to limp a bit, and sit down and look back rather wistfully, and in the end of course she goes lame entirely and is overtaken.

This is the same instinct which makes the pheasant hen feign a broken wing.

There is a wonderful type of woman, however, who goes as straight to the man she loves as a homing pigeon to its loft.

Taking, then, the three classes of men in the throes of the disease of love, we have the following symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis.

First. The average lover. Temperature remains normal, with slight rise in the evenings. Continues to attend to business. Feeling of uneasiness if called by endearing names over office 'phone. Regular diet, but smokes rather too much. Anxiety strongly marked as to how his income will cover a house and garage in the country, adding the cost of his commutation ticket, and shows tendency to look rather wistfully into toy shop-windows before Christmas.

Diagnosis: Normal love.

Prognosis: Probably permanent condition.[1]

Second. The fearful lover. Temperature inclined to be sub-normal at times. Physical type, a hulking brute of a man, liking small women, only he feels coarse and rather gross when with them. He is the physical type generally attributed to the cave man, but this is an error. (See cave man, later.) His timidity is not physical but mental, and is referable by the Freud theory to his early youth, when he was taught that big, overgrown boys did not tease kittens, but put them in their pockets and carried them home. Has the kitten obsession still. Is six months getting up enough courage to squeeze a five-and-a-half hand, and then crushes it to death. Reads poetry, and is very early for all appointments. Appetite small. Does not sleep. In small communities shows occasional semi-paralysis on the curb after Sunday evening service, and lets a fellow half his size see her home. (See cave man, later.) Is always in love, but not with the same woman. Is easily hurt, and walks it off on Sunday afternoons. Telephones with gentle persistence, and prefers the movies to the theater because they are dark. This type sometimes loses its gentleness after marriage, and always has an ideal woman in mind. Some one who walks like Pauline Frederick and smiles like Mary Pickford.[2]

Diagnosis: Normal love, with idealistic complications.

Prognosis: Condition less permanent than in case A, as less essentially monogamous. Should be careful not to carry the search for the ideal to excess.

Third. The cave man. Temperature normally high, with dangerous rises. Physique rather under-sized, with prominent Adam's apple. Is attracted by large women, whom he dominates. Is assured, violent and jealous. Appetite fastidious. Takes sleeping powders during course of disease and uses telephone frequently to find out if the object of his affections is lunching with another man. Is extremely possessive as to women, and has had in early years a strong desire to take the other fellow's girl away from him. Is pugnacious and intelligent, but has moments of great tenderness and charm. Shows his worst side to the neighbors and breathes freely after nine o'clock P.M., when no one has come to call.[3]

Diagnosis: Normal love, with jealousy.

Prognosis: A large family of daughters.

A great many women believe that they can change men by marrying them. This is a mistake. Women make it because they themselves are pliable, but the male is firmly fixed at the age of six years, and remains fundamentally the same thereafter. The only way to make a husband over according to one's ideas then would be to adopt him at an early age, say four. But who really wants to change them? Where would be the interest in marriage? To tell the truth, we like their weaknesses. It gives women that entirely private conviction they have that John would make an utter mess of things if they were not around.

Men know better how to live than women. The average man gets more out of life than the average woman. He compounds his days, if he be a healthy, normal individual, of work and play, and his play generally takes the form of fresh air and exercise. He has, frequently, more real charity than his womankind, and by charity I mean an understanding of human weakness and a tolerance of frailty. He may dislike his neighbors heartily, and snub them in prosperity, but in trouble he is quick with practical assistance. And although often tactless, for tact and extreme honesty are incompatible, he is usually kind. There is often a selfish purpose behind his altruism, his broad charitable organizations. But to individual cases of distress he is generous, unselfish, and sacrificing.

In politics he is individually honest, as a rule, but collectively corrupt. And this strange and disheartening fact is due to lethargy. He is politically indolent, so he allows the few to rule, and this few is too frequently in political life for what it can get and not what it can give. Sins of omission may be grave sins.

Yet he is individually honest in politics, and in most things, and that, partly at least, is because, pretty much overlaid with worldliness, he has a deep religious conviction. But he has a terrible fear of letting anyone know he has it. Indeed, he is shamefaced about all his emotions. He would sooner wear two odd shoes than weep at a funeral.

Really, this article could run on forever. There's that particularly manlike attitude of accusing women of slavishly following the fashions! Funny, isn't it, when you think about it? Do you think a man would wear a striped tie with a morning coat when his haberdasher says others are wearing plain gray? Or a straw hat before the fifteenth of May? Have you ever watched the mental struggle between a dinner suit and evening clothes? Do you suppose that women, realizing that the costume they wore was the ugliest ever devised, would continue wearing it because everyone else did? And then look at men's trousers and derby hats!

It is men who are the slaves, double chained, of fashion. The only comfortable innovation in men's clothes made in a century was when some brave spirit originated the shirtwaist man. Women saw its comfort, adopted and retained the shirtwaist. But the leaders of male fashion dictated that comfort was bad form, and on went all the coats again. Irvin Cobb is undoubtedly going to say that it is just like a woman to wear no flannels in winter, and silk hose, and generally go about half clad. But men are as over-dressed in summer as women are under-dressed in winter.

But in spite of this slavish following of fashion, men are really more rational than women. They have the same mental processes. For that reason they understand each other. Like the village fool who found the lost horse by thinking where he would go if he were a horse, a man knows what another man will do by fancying himself in the same circumstances. And women are called designing because they have fathomed this fundamental simplicity of the male! A woman's emotions and her sensations and her thoughts are all complexes. She doesn't know herself what she is going to do, and is frequently more astounded than anyone else at what she does do. It's a lot harder being a woman than a man.

So--women know men better than men know women, and are rather like the little boy's definition of a friend: "A friend is a feller who knows all about you, and likes you anyhow."

We do like them, dreadfully. Sometimes women have sighed and wondered what the house would be like without overcoats thrown about in the hall, and every closet full of beloved old ragged clothes and shoes, and cigar ashes over things, and wild cries for the ancient hat they gave the gardener last week to weed in. But quite recently the women of this country and a lot of other countries have found out what even temporary absence means. A house without a man in it is as nice and tidy and peaceful and attractive and cheerful as a grave in a cemetery. It is as pleasant as Mark Twain's celebrated combination of rheumatism and St. Vitus dance, and as empty as a penny-in-the-slot chocolate machine in a railway station.

Not so very long ago there was a drawing in one of the magazines. It showed a row of faces, men with hooked noses, with cauliflower ears, with dish-faces, and flat faces, with smallpox scars, with hare lips. And underneath it said: "Never mind, every one of them is somebody's darling."

Women don't really care how their men look. But they want to look up to them--which is a reason I haven't given before for their sex superiority. It is really forced on them! And they want them kind and even a bit patronizing. Also they want them _well_, because a sick man can come the closest thing in the world to biting the hand that feeds him. And loyal, of course, and not too tidy--and to be hungry at meals. And not to be too bitter about going out in the evenings.

And the one thing they do not want is to have their men know how well they understand them. It is one of their pet little-boy conceits, this being misunderstood. It has survived from the time of that early punishment when each and every one of them contemplated running off and going to sea. Most of them still contemplate that running off. They visualize great spaces, and freedom, and tropic isles, and--well, you know. "Where there ain't no Ten Commandments and a man can raise a thirst." (You know, Irvin!)

Yes, they contemplate it every now and then, and then they go home, and put on a fresh collar for dinner, and examine the vegetable garden, and take the children out in the machine for a few minutes' fresh air, and have a pillow fight in the nursery, and--forget the other thing.

Which is exactly like a man.

[1] Will probably forget small attentions to his wife after marriage.

[2] Will always remember small attentions to his wife after marriage, especially when conscience troubles him.

[3] Receives constant attention from his family after marriage.

[The end]
Mary Roberts Rinehart's Essay: Isn't That Just Like a Man!