23 September 1905
How to win a man
A new and startling theory advanced for the first time and presented for consideration of the young lady readers of the Standard.
It seems to be the fad, of late, for people to indulge in a great deal of speculation regarding the most successful methods by which a man may win a woman’s heart, said incidentally, her hand and money if she is fortunate enough to have any of the latter encumbrance.
Altogether a few wise, many foolish, and endless flippant things have been said and written; and yet the question remains about where it was taken up, and why? Plainly, in one person’s mind at least, because people have perpetually been gazing into the wrong end of the matrimonial telescope. The question to be solved is not How can a man win a woman, but how can a woman win a man?
Of course the prude instantly whines out: “It isn’t a lady’s place to do the winning. She should remain passive, and let the man seek her, court her, and finally carry her away.” That idea died with the misnamed “Age of Chivalry” when a man, clad in more old iron than would establish a junk shop, rode out from his castle, seated on a horse, which, with its trappings would make a good pheonomenom for a modern third-rate circus. In this attire, the knight, who generally couldn’t write enough to sign his own name, went forth to win his Lady Love. And the Lady? Oh, she lived cooped up in a neighbouring castle- not nearly so comfortable as a modern flat- and called it a prayer—and, on the whole, knew less about the world at large when sixty-five, than a girl today knows when she is ten.
World now change- women woo.
But let the theory of courtship stand as it may. This fact remains—that, in at least six out of every ten successful marriages in this country, it could be shown, if careful investigation was made, that the Women wooed and won the man, quite as much as the Man wooed and won the Woman.
Of course, I have nothing to say about the “Love at first sight proposition” as it does not generally stand a second sight, and quite frequently the third night drives one, or both, to the kindly arms of the Divorce court.
Nor is this state of affairs either unreasonable, or undesirable. Women have taken up in many lines what was once considered strictly men’s work: and have succeeded. Why not take up the work which leads to woman’e highest earthly paradise—the task of finding and winning a suitable man? (And it is foolishness to suppose that women have not already tried their hand at it) there are three facts which would indicate that women should to the matrimonial choosing.
First—Women have a keener insight than men.
Second—Men are not so complex in motive or action as women, and therefore more easily analyzed.
And Third—Owing to man’s aggressiveness, a woman is given the opportunity to watch and take note.
The real question now arises, viz—How can a woman win the man of her choice? For two reasons, I will consign my remarks to the winning of the college graduate. In the first place, he is likely to rise to a higher worldly position than his less favored brother; and consequently is, generally speaking, better worth winning. In the second place, he is so much harder to win, that a girl, who can handle the college graduate will have no difficulty with any other class of men.
This is an age of bluff
To a great extent, this is an age of bluff. But I would say to the girl who has managed the not difficult task of getting an introduction to the college graduate, who she has desired to meet. “Don’t bluff.” It may succeed in attracting him for a little while, but very soon his well-trained intellect will strip you of all your bluff, and then he is gone, and gone for good. Supposing now that you have met a certain gentleman in company a few times, you wish him to call on you. Unless he is prompt to ask your leave, why! Ask him to come! That’s all! Prudes and old maids to the contrary, notwithstanding.
When once a gentleman begins to call regularly, you begin to study him carefully, analyze his character, and according as you find it out, make written notes after he has gone. Very soon, you will know him through and through. But that is only one side of your task, and the other is much more difficult. Viz—how you should act towards the man so as not only to awaken his Love, but to mould his strong, but often faulty, character into something equally strong and much more beautiful. To do either you must make yourself of practical value to him. It might be advisable to mention a few Don’ts before stating what definitely to do.
Don’t be affected, either in speech, expression or carriage. He only suffers it when it doesn’t disgust him.
Don’t pout or nag. You may occasionally pretend to do so, but never do so seriously. It always tends to make the man reticent. He may have other lady friends; be sure to leave nagging and pouting to them, and you will soon have him all to yourself.
Don’t emphasize the capital “L” Leave him to find out what you are and who you are. Depend upon it, he will find out your good qualities if you have any, and if your mother or sister is nice, he will find out that as well. And when a man praises, he generally does so with a vigorousness, which amply repays a woman for refraining from “Blowing her own horn.”
But the things to do are, after all, of much more importance than the things not to do. And your success will depend much more on what you say, and do, than what you refrain from saying and doing.
The value of little things.
Remember the value of little things. Men take more notice of trifles that we generally suppose. If your gentleman friend says something nice about the way you have your hair dressed, you can depend upon it, that he is not saying a polite commonplace, which means nothing but he actually likes to see your hair in that particular shape. If you are wise, you will often wear your tresses in that particular form. Again, be particular about your language, pick up expressive words which he uses – of course, don’t make yourself rude by repeating whole phrases after him. In that way your ideas will be exceptionally intelligible to him. Then, as regards candies and fruit, don’t leave it all to him. If you can make good candy do so, and your labor will not be lost. He will enjoy eating a piece of your candy much more than you imagine. The same, of course, applies to cake and fruit.
Another point worth noting is, be bright. The modern man—worth winning—is a worker. He is engaged day after day in trying and wearing tasks. With his lady friend, he longs to throw off the cold reserve, inside which he battles his way upward in the world.
The girl who can treat a man to a merry laugh, or a light-hearted song, has nothing to fear from the greatest pouting beauty on Earth.
Many women, who could easily have been married and living happily with men of the very first order, are now old maids, simply because they either didn’t choose, or were unable to cultivate the quality of “Sweet Reasonableness” I have known women who had some sort of an idea that they should never “Give in” to a man, no matter whether they were right or wrong. I have also known women who would ask their gentlemen friends to do the most unreasonable and the most trifling, and the most foolish things imaginable, just to see how much power they possessed over them. If they could only see how that very power was slipping through their fingers at that very time, they would be feeling far from proud. When a man asks you a reasonable question, answer him as reasonably as you can. If you want him to do anything for you always give him your reasons, and never, never say “It is just because I want you to do that.” If he begins to argue a point with you, quietly bring forward your side of the case—never try to bully—and should, you see that he is in the right, acknowledge the fact at once. Any form of obstinancy or pigheadedness is only suitable in the mind of the ancient lady who sips her tea alone.
Hours of Depression and gloom.
And, lastly, always maintain a high and sane moral life. Remember that you are dealing with a sensitive being with an inward longing that outward show cannot satisfy. No man, however cold and cynical the set of his lips or the glint of his eyes may be, is without his hours of depression and gloom; the hours when the soft touch of which only a woman can give, may mean the Rock of Salvation to him. If your young man calls to see you (as he will sooner or later) in a state of mental or bodily pain, don’t worry him by rattling along about either your pleasures or your troubles. Take his head on your shoulder, put your arms around his neck, smooth back his hair—and don’t let any stupid ideas of propriety mislead you—kiss him. Kiss him, too, as if you meant it—not a cold, formal touch. You are winning him as you could never win him otherwise. You are at the same time building him a new character, and he will richly repay you some day.
The girl who says, “If a young man wants me, he will have to come and get me: I’m above trying to find and win a man”—and many girls are imbued with that doctrine—that girl is not worth the time a genuine man would spend in finding her, much less winning her. What is worth having, is worth hustling for. Man wins his laurels nowadays by forcing his way through difficulties, and not by sitting down and waiting until some beneficent spirit places the crown upon his sleepy brow. And the woman who would make for herself a home—one worthy of the name—and spend her life enveloped in the Love of the Strong Soul of a man, purehearted and vigorous-minded, must be willing to get out and hustle.
[The sentiments contained in this article seemed at first somewhat revolutionary for Conservative old Montreal, but, upon reflection, the contribution seemed to contain a good many kernels of truth. The Editor publishes it, hoping that some of the young lady readers of the Standard may pronounce upon the sentiments contained therein.—Ed Standard]